Ethically handicapped Prenda’s “boss” Paul Duffy signs a new batch of extortion letters

Many remember that less than 3 years ago an infamous scumbag Steve “Lightspeed” Jones, a pornographer who specializes in “barely legal” genre (i.e. he recruits and films very young girls), articulated the “troll credo” that would become a modus operandi of the sleaziest porno extortionists:

People aren’t embarrassed when their neighbors find out they downloaded a few songs, but illegally trading midget, tranny, facials, and teen porn content? There is some news worth keeping from the wife, kids, parents, and neighbors.

Please feel free to continue to compare this to the RIAA…

Steve Lightspeed

(He said this in the context of hiring John Steele.)

I heard stories about troll harassers/collectors (not only Prenda’s, but Lipscomb’s, for example) threatening to tell relatives, neighbors, and colleagues that the victim is being sued in connection to an illegal download of pornography. Along these lines, Lipscomb’s collectors inflicted more harm upon citizenry than anyone else — see Fantalis’s story.

Paul Duffy: “Pleaded Fifth? So what?!”
(Click to enlarge)

Yet I never saw these threats explicitly written in a demand letter — until yesterday. No one else but Prenda came up with a new sleaze at the time when the entire gang, including the ethically handicapped attorney who signed it (Paul Duffy), pleaded the Fifth and was referred to the authorities for criminal investigation (as a matter of fact, Duffy pleaded the Fifth twice). Last week people started receiving new letters, this time not from involuntarily dissolved Duffy Law Group (like in April), not from fake/shell corporations, but from the “Anti-Piracy Law Group,” the latest Prenda reincarnation. An explicit threat to call one’s neighbors was added to this masterpiece of douchebaggery (emphasis is mine):

[…] The purpose of this step is to gather evidence about who used your Internet account to steal from our client [sjd: never mind that this case is about hacking, not copyright infringement]. The list of possible suspects includes you, members of your household, your neighbors (if you maintain an open wi-fi connection) and anyone who might have visited your house. In the coming days we will contact these individuals to investigate whether they have any knowledge of the acts described in my client’s prior letter. […]

Anything goes if it helps to scare an uninformed extortion target:

[…] Internet is full of stories of people being brought to court by our firm, incurring significant legal fees and suffering large judgments […]

I don’t know what part of their bodies these guys use for thinking: to see what kind of stories people will find, try to google “Anti-Piracy Law Group,” or visit (copy and paste to make sure that this is real).


If I was not a relatively modest kind, I would tell you what to do with such letter. But you know it without me if you spend an hour surfing the “Internet full of stories.”

By the way: the lopsided second page is not a result of faulty scanning. This is exactly how the original printed letter looks like. Also, we probably have a new definition of “Chutzpah,” since the letters are dated 5/7/2013 — the very next day after Judge Wright’s smackdown.

Good news

I want to finish on a lighter note.

I hope that everyone is familiar with Friday’s surprise interview that John Steele gave to ArsTechnica. It does not make sense to discuss the things this narcissistic megalomaniac said on the record. I keep wondering if this pretentious paltry creature understands the extent of the damage he inflicts upon himself and his buddies when he opens his mendacious mouth in public. Funny enough, Jason Sweet used Steele’s words from this interview to argue against Prenda in the evening of the exact same Friday!

While the entire interview is good news overall, there is more to it: while John struggles with mastering a delicate art of shutting-the-fuck-up, some people are doing their job in silence. And some of them visit this site in the line of their duty:


I like it. I like it a lot.


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63 responses to ‘Ethically handicapped Prenda’s “boss” Paul Duffy signs a new batch of extortion letters

  1. I don’t know how hard our boys are going to try to pretend Prenda and APLG are distinct entities, but using the same URL on their new letterhead certainly isn’t helping. wefightpiracy now has a link to a new, dedicated Prenda site. This seems completely absurd, but then John has been pathetically attempting to disclaim continuity between S|H and Prenda.

    I wonder what exactly they think they are doing, but they don’t seem to know either.

  2. Every time I read a letter like this my blood boils. These @$$clowns haven’t slowed down one bit even with Wright’s ruling against them. These people are pieces of $#!+ and I hope they rot in Hell (in my opinion of course). If I was one of these Does and they contacted my neighbors or co-workers the gauntlet would be thrown down. At that point there is nothing to hide so why not take the fight to them? Scum, extortionists, and blackmailers. All. Of. Them.

  3. I notice that this time Duffy only lists that he is licensed in the state of IL. Ya, but tomorrow is another day.

  4. Once notified, how long does Prenda (and I guess Anti-Piracy Group) have to actually file a suit? When is the expiration period?

    • Three years from the date of alleged infringement. Say they state you downloaded something on May 12, 2011. Three years on May 12, 2014 would be the very last day to bring suit. They could send intent letter to their hearts desire until such a date. Unless they are disbarred or the case is dropped WITH prejudice, of course. Without prejudice means the case can be refilled… Unless it was dismissed without prejudice twice, I believe.

  5. I wonder if Steve Lightspeed paid taxes on his share of the settlement take.

    We have almost forgotten about Prenda’s real clients since it’s been so long since they had any, but with Wright using the term “RICO” and the IRS getting involved, this investigation may spread wide and go deep (heh).

    If I had done business with anyone involved in Prenda, either as a client, consultant or local counsel, I would be double-checking my records and maybe thinking about hiring an attorney to start talking about amnesty or a negotiated settlement with the IRS if I had been a bad boy.

    There may be quite a few people who should be expecting to hear from investigators. Certainly everyone who did business with Prenda should expect to hear from the IRS. But I think some of the clients, especially guys like Lightspeed who are on the public record as founding co-conspirators, may be hearing from the USAO as well once the investigation gets under way. At the very least, Prenda’s relationship with its clients will be of interest to investigators as they try to build a complete picture of the operation.

    The Arizona pornographers who are violating state law by producing pornography in AZ, and especially by doing so in close proximity to schools, playgrounds, etc. might have put themselves in a very precarious position. If memory serves, the Arizona AG was asking for complaints about copyright trolls and had expressed hostility towards porn production in his state. Now that a federal judge has called the law firm a fraud and a racket, building a business on lawbreaking and then signing up for Prenda’s racket… Doesn’t sound good.

  6. Wow, this guy’s cluelessness really knows no bounds, huh? The day after Judge Wright put the smackdown on him, too. Wow, just wow.

    Playing chicken with a train, can’t wait til he gets his @$$ flattened.

  7. From Jason Sweet’s most recent filing:

    In November 2010 John Steele registered and paid for several domains using the alias “Alan Cooper.” The address given as Alan Cooper’s residence—[REDACTED]—and the phone number, were that of Jayme Steele, sister of John Steele. Records kept by Go Daddy further show John Steele alone controlled the account

  8. I used to think someone should take the shovels off these guys so they could stop digging. i was so wrong these guys have upgraded to a backhoe so they can dig faster. Someone please take the keys and drain the hydraulics.

  9. The last acts of desperate men will have a bad outcome.
    Sadly this will do little to help their victims, who will have their lives turned upside down by these antics.

    These threats are nothing new, but given they have been found to have been committing fraud by a Federal Court Judge really should limit their access to continue that fraud. The wheels of Justice might move slowly, but if they proceed on their threatened course of action there is NOTHING that can be done to make the victim whole again.

    People remember that guy who was accused of being a child predator, very few will note that they were found innocent and perpetuate the lie. They are playing with fire, and it is well past time that they get burned.

  10. “Someone has to tell @shari_duffy (she blocks me) to forcefully take the shovel from her husbands’ hands. They have 2 daughters. Not funny.”

    Exactly & agreed! We don’t care how much Shari Duffy likes the “fun” money; these kids will find out or other kids parents will find and who suffers?

    Why does it always have to be the most innocent of innocents that have to suffer the most for the irresponsibility of some the adults that raise them?

    This is the biggest “crime” of all; when innocent children are caught up in the greed of adults.

    Shame on them!!!

    • Shari isn’t gonna care. My opinion of her is that all she wants is money and the lifestyle. They’re facing foreclosure and getting sued for a bunch of stuff yet she’s trying to pretend she’s a vip in the Chicago social scene.

  11. Would it not be possible to approach major media outlets and post a PSA, saying that you or your neighbour could be wrongly accused of downloading pornography by an unscrupulous law firm? Surely at this point SJD’s commentary would carry some weight, given the huge torpedo from Judge Wright.

    • I don’t know… But there is a hope: since all this dirty business is localized in Illinois, as far as I know the #1 newspaper there is Chicago Tribune, and I noticed someone from this paper browsing my site today.

  12. If 18-22 year old females qualify as “*very* young girls” then I have to wonder at what age you consider them to be adults or at least no longer *very* young.

    • For the purpose of being paid for sex? I don’t know, it is painful to think about it.

      This type of perception changes dramatically when you have your own daughter. 18 is very young.

    • You must not be familiar with Porn Industry terminology and professional timescales. 18-22 year old females are termed “very young girls”, and 26-30 females are termed “granny porn”. Note that there does not exist any similar terminology for male actors because, sheesh, who the hell pays any attention to the male actors? They only exist for those who want a bit of diversion from lesbian porn.

  13. Screw the neighbors, he threatens to tell their work. Of course you’ll never get a private company to cough up their records, but the letter still states they will look through your mobile and work traffic. Only way to do that is contact your employer.

    • Do the actually talk to family members about “porno case” or just ask for the subscriber? I want to hear about it: any information about their ethical violation will accelerate their hard downfall.

      • Is that legal … they get an IP address … find a name and address … say it could “not be you” so look for others around you (harrassment) … and then possibly file a lawsuit against the subscriber saying “eh, I think it is you”. Is this not perfect fodder to say “they have no clue who it is”? Is pre-discovery a common practice?

  14. I’m sorry but how the hell does setting the amount for sanctions less than the cost of appeal violate their rights to due process? It didn’t stop them from doing it. It really, obviously, didn’t dissuade them, they did it anyway.

    I don’t understand this. The argument is so inane I think an embolism popped in my brain. It borders on: “If it weren’t for that horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college” type of silliness.

    And also, apparently judges are not allowed to ever ever ever ever make a funny.

    • To the eye of this non-lawyer, the Motion seems more well thought out and written than the typical Prenda/Steele/HANSMEIER filings. I am eager to read Ken’s take on it at Popehat.

  15. If your home IP is the one identified then why on earth would the need anything, ANYTHING, relating to work or even mobiles or credit cards?? This makes absolutely no sense to me

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