Trolls in panic: Steele Hansmeier files an amicus brief trying to prevent the inevitable downfall of the US trolls

Recently I wrote about judge Gibney ordering a minor troll Wayne O’Bryan to show cause why his mass file-sharing lawsuits are not frivolous and as such, why he shouldn’t be sanctioned according to Rule 11(b).

The hearing on this order is set for October 24. If O’Bryan is indeed sanctioned, it will be a huge blow to the entire swarm of US copyright trolls. Knowing that, Steele Hansmeier, one of the major troll outfits that runs Righthaven-style fraud, has filed an amicus brief, trying to protect its puppet troll and the extortion-like “business model” in general: this is an unusual and, in my opinion, quite a desperate act, showing the state of panic among trolls.

Prior to that, Wayne O’Bryan filed a response in a hurry, which is full of tactical mistakes and insults to the court. I don’t want to go over his filings now because I want to get the news out ASAP.

Seems like the P2P Armageddon is emerging in Virginia and I hope for big players (EFF) from the defendants’ side to intervene.

Thanks to DrownTheTrolls for alerting me about this development.


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77 responses to ‘Trolls in panic: Steele Hansmeier files an amicus brief trying to prevent the inevitable downfall of the US trolls

  1. A patent troll was hit with rule 11 sanctions recently, so it would be great to see this extend to the copyright variety as well, as they use the same sort of trickery which has been called out specifically by a federal Appeals Court.

    From Eon-Net LP v. Flagstar Bancorp case 2:2005cv02129, in which the court wrote on July 29th, 2011 in imposing Rule 11 sanctions:

    Eon-Net’s case against Flagstar had “indicia of extortion” because it was part of Eon-Net’s history of filing nearly identical patent infringement complaints against a plethora of diverse defendants, where Eon-Net followed each filing with a demand for a quick settlement at a price far lower than the cost to defend the litigation.

    And also:

    Eon-Net acted in bad faith by exploiting the high cost to defend complex litigation to extract a nuisance value settlement from Flagstar. At the time that the district court made its exceptional case finding, Eon-Net and its related entities, Millennium and Glory, had filed over 100 lawsuits against a number of diverse defendants alleging infringement of one or more patents from the Patent Portfolio. Each complaint was followed by a “demand for a quick settlement at a price far lower than the cost of litigation, a demand to which most defendants apparently have agreed.”

  2. He’s almost certainly lying about all 28 defendants in First Time Videos, LLC v. Does 1-28 resolving to the same person. I don’t believe there is any chance, with modern broadband networks, even with DHCP, that one account would be assigned 28 IPs in the time spans within which they capture IPs. He dismissed that case voluntarily (with prejudice), seems likely that he just wanted to wrap the case up (the dismissal came just a few weeks after the 120 day limit to name and serve defendants) and used the claim that all Does were actually the same person to have some sort of explanation for his behavior that also lends credibility to his tactics. Look at the case documents on PACER, there is nothing filed (i.e., no 28 subpoena response letters from the ISP with the same name and address) to offer proof of his claim, only his statement. Aren’t there factual standards that attorneys are held to when they file motions and briefs? If Steele is going to make that claim regarding the 28 IPs in his case, is he not required to provide documentation that proves this is indeed the case? Do courts normally accept attorney’s assertions as fact without any proof? If he is lying, what recourse do defendants and observers have, and what are the penalties for lying in filings?

    • Seriously, what are the chances? Not 28 IPs out of hundreds in a larger case, but *all* 28 IPs in *one* case turn out to be the same account? That has to be an excuse to explain the dismissals and so he can refer to it in other filings like this one. The timestamps on the infringing IPs are sometimes 1-3 hours apart, no way a network is going to be reassigning IPs that fast. And if it was one guy using anonymizing software or hopping around from Wi-Fi hotspot to Wi-Fi hotspot? Well, in that case all the IPs would end up pointing at different subscribers because he was on different networks.

        • Not to mention that even if it were magically true, and it were an EXTREME exception that shouldn’t be used as an argument, it would be an example of how extremely flawed their infringer tracking software truly is.
          Their software can get unique hits on the same activity 28 times, and they have no clue whatsoever that it is the same person?? I can come up with a random number generator that is more accurate than that POS software.

  3. So might this explain why Steele stopped his monthly flurry of new suits over two months ago?

    For nearly a year, Steele and co. were dishing out new suits at a rate of 3-6 a month, but now we’ve seen nothing new since August 10th.

    What do you guys think the reasons are for the sudden stop? Does he see the writing on the wall and he’s trying to lean on the remaining already listed Does trying to get as many to settle before the game is up?

      • Right, I knew that, but Steele himself had taken to filing multiple smaller suits against Illinois Does (at least according to the IP’s) for nearly six months until August. Then nothing. Why have his “hometown” suits stopped? Those are the ones he was breaking out at a 3-5 a month pace.

  4. Not sure why he stopped. The problem for these trolls are the opinions coming in from federal judges slamming their cases.. Even worse for steele is that his cali troll Gibbs admitted an IP is not sufficient to determine who downloaded a movie and that he would need to search every IP enabled device in the house.

  5. They farm cases out to regional lawyers so searching for him may not find everything. I searched RFC Express for a couple of the plaintiffs like First Time Videos, Boy Racer and Hard Drive Productions, there were filings through August but it slowed to a trickle in September and nothing in October. The latest HDP filing on 9/27 is a 1,495 Doe case; observers thought the trolls switched to smaller cases to avoid joinder problems and attention from EFF and media. Could be that since they don’t plan to litigate they went back to bigger Doe counts to make money on volume if smaller cases get tossed anyway.

    Wouldn’t count him out though. He has been busy moving to Florida (speculation is that this is to take advantage of a Florida state law that allows him to gather subscriber info with less hassle). I would take a quiet spell as a reason to suspect they are planning Phase 2 rather than giving up. They hit some speed bumps in Northern CA though, so they may need time to adjust. While everyone cheers judges smacking down troll lawyers and tossing their cases out of court, keep in mind these guys have no intention of trying these cases, so most ‘victories’ against the troll’s don’t mean much since the trolls have no intention of winning! Until there are real consequences, filing the case and getting subpoenas out is their victory, then they just need to keep it alive long enough to get subscriber info and send out settlement letters that reference a looming, active case.

    In that context this development must be terrifying. Bear in mind that although there were motions to quash this is not the result of some strong offensive strike from a defendant or their attorney, or intervention from the EFF or a clever defense at trial. This was simply a judge that decided the troll’s usual antics were suspect and may deserve sanctions. Boom. O’Bryan didn’t even go out of his way to earn it like Evan Stone, who was at least shamelessly sending out unauthorized subpoenas. If O’Bryan gets sanctioned any future case becomes a figurative minefield, no more manipulating the system with lies and cases they have no intention of bringing to trial, harassing Does behind the scenes and slinking away without fear of consequences.

    Another way this could be inconvenient is that since the sanctions will go to the attorney and possibly the plaintiff, if O’Bryan is local counsel and not a troll firm partner, the trolls could be stuck between two upset parties who have been damaged on their behalf. No doubt the companies they represent and the local counsel they use have been promised easy money for their participation in the scheme. If they get punished, it could become harder for the trolls to find clients and local enforcers to join their party.

    I was also surprised by Gibbs’ statement that an IP does not identify the infringer and that they require more discovery to name a defendant. The settlement letters explicitly claim that the IP address is enough to determine responsibility for infringement, and Steele himself has said publicly that Wi-Fi network operators bear responsibility for infringement that happens on their network. It seems likely that Gibbs made an error, but surely they have talking points and scripts for local counsel to prevent such mistakes? Whatever happened, it looks like they are going to run with it because the discovery request was denied:

    They have appealed the denial and are going to double down on Gibbs’ argument and try to go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals:

    Wonder what the master plan is, if they think they may score a big win or if this is more bluffing so they don’t establish too suspicious a pattern of voluntarily dismissing entire cases when ordered to name a defendant. Seems unlikely they actually want the discovery except for possible intimidation factor, no way they want to bear the cost of forensic analysis of every machine at every IP they scoop up just to be sure before they send out settlement demands.

    Get a load of this line of crap in their appeal:

    “Plaintiff’s lead attorney understands that it is his ethical responsibility to have a “reasonable bas[is]” to rely upon to name Subscriber, or another individual, as the Defendant in this case. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 11. In other words, Plaintiff and his attorneys erred on the side of caution for the benefit of everyone involved.”

    Yep, that’s the way John Steele rolls!

  6. Thanks SJD. I have just mailed off my declaration to refute what O’Bran sent the court recently. It was for the Patrick Collins case and the K-Beech one. I will post what I sent when I can. Can’t wait to see what happens on Monday!!!!!


  7. I just received papers that I was severed from this lawsuit in virginia regarding this david o bryan guy…. i just cant wait tell this thing is over… i wonder if he is going to try to sue us in a separate lawsuit since he already got the name and information from the internet service provider

    • O’Bryan will not sue anyone anymore: the guy has shat his pants and won’t buy Steele’s poisonous promises anymore. Steele himself may use this information though.

      O’Bryan is a small greedy lawyer deceived by a supertroll’s promises of quick cash and the safety of the extortion scheme.

      My opinion: if you want to be a criminal, you must be the criminal. If, for example, I decide to make money selling drugs, I’m sure will be caught in no time and no one will say a word for me, because I don’t have that special substance, which makes criminals successful, in my bloodstream. (don’t be deceived – Steele did not come out to help his “comrade”, he is saving its own interests).

      • Is O’Bryan even a proxy for Steele? I thought the K-Beech cases were going through another firm. At least I don’t see any Steele Hansmeier stuff on O’Bryan’s filings, unlink Gibbs’ which make it clear he’s working with Steele Hansmeier. I found this all the more amusing imagining alarms going off at Troll Central Command, with Steele rushing in to provide support for another firm’s case, but maybe I’m wrong.

        • Very possible. Very likely, seeing as how Steele’s amicus’d himself into the mess. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You need a doctorate in douchebaggery to keep up with these jokers.

  8. I find this site very interesting. I will keep my post brief, as apparently no one believes it is me anyway. To be more fair, you should make it clear that most judges do not grant these cookie cutter motions to dismiss/sever/quash. I can send you 50+ orders denying these motions and the people running this site know this. Its public record.

    Also, there really was a case where all 28 IP’s was one person. That one person settled the matter. I would have preferred 28 different does, since we had to pay 28 fees to the ISP, and only settled one person.

    And lastly, we have named 10 people this week and got a judgment against Michael Famula from Judge Grady in NDIL. Michael was our first Doe to be named earlier this year. This is all public record. If your site is unable to pull up the court docket I will be more than happy to send copies straight off of PACER for you. In all fairness, it took a little time for our firm to ramp up our legal staff to sue so many people. I guess we will all see if I’m telling the truth or not.

    John Steele
    “The Pirate Slayer”

    • I’m sure your colleagues enjoy having to prove they are not douchebags by judges forcing them to reveal any affiliations with you.

    • If you want to be clear regarding judges and your successes, why not mention this case was not yours to begin with.

      It is one of the DGW cases
      Plaintiff: Achte/Neunte Boll Kino Beteiligungs GMBH & Co KG 

      It’s also hilarious when you comment on various blogs regarding other attorneys that blog about trolls like you. Especially your comments about their abilities. You are a divorce attorney. A real IP attorney would not be using your strategy.

      • Nothing I say here will change anyone’s mind about anything. I’m just relaxing on a Saturday morning having fun with Pirates. From my perspective, it truly is entertaining to read these posts. Wanna be lawyers and people too cheap to pay $20 a month for legal porn.

        To the extent that I have another (also successful) law firm dealing with divorce, I guess I’ll have to live with that. If I was just some stupid divorce lawyer who didn’t know anything about IP, why would almost every case our firm files be allowed to continue? Judge Darrah said the other day that our pleadings are so well written, he directs his clerks to read them to understand complex IP litigation.

        Everyone who accesses PACER knows that almost every motion filed against our cases lose. Not all, but most. That is simply a fact. calling me names and making fun of me for having another successful law firm does not change those facts. And only mentioning the rare motions that win is misleading. And those same bloggers forget to mention we almost always file a suit the next day against the Doe who got the case severed. Talk about pyrrhic victories.

        Unlike many posts, I do not believe I have mislead anyone. We do not sue everyone, I admit that. We are trying the best we can. Playing russian roulette with our firm is a choice most people with any assets, or a job, would never do. Besides, when you get a letter from us, you know you (or your loser son living in the basement) did it.

        Lastly, I love the person calling me asshole slayer. You are calling yourself an asshole. That is funny.

        • “Besides, when you get a letter from us, you know you (or your loser son living in the basement) did it.”

          Nonsense. Wireless routers and individual PC’s can be compromised by unauthorized parties not residing at the household which you target with your settlement letters, and you damn well know that. The fact that you have more than likely extorted thousands of dollars out of people who are innocent of the infringements which you and your clients allege is sickening. It makes you no better than the people who you claim to be going after. You’re not in this to “fight the good fight”. This is easy $$ for you, and you’re not fooling anyone here claiming otherwise.

          Maybe someone will compromise your home network one day as use it to distribute child pornography. I bet you’d feel quite differently when you’re on the wrong end of the “guilty until proven innocent” approach you take with your litigation.

    • “…apparently no one believes it is me anyway.”

      Why it is so impossible to believe in it? I offer two explanations:

      1. Extreme narcissism. No, John, you are not a resurrected John Lennon, your appearance on this site (which is the third in Google results for “copyright troll”, and the tenth for “steele hansmeier”) is far from extraordinary. Your self-assessment of your celebrity level is grossly overblown.

      2. If you live in the world where disbelief is the default reaction to any event, I pity you. Our society is based on the “believe once” principle, and most people assume that a stranger tells the truth until it is proven otherwise.

    • Would you care to explain how your “flawless” data collection system generated 28 unique hits without giving you a clue that it was really just one person, sharing one file?

      Nope. Didn’t think so. That might expose which orifice you keep pulling IP addresses out of. Keep trollin, troll.

    • I apologize for not being clear. I was not trying to say getting a default judgment is hard. I was showing that our firm actually names Does and takes them to court. As more people get named and judgments are entered, the question of whether we actually go after individuals will answer itself. Of course people like Mr. Famula will probably be less than happy about following the advice of this site when the garnishment starts next month. Yes, Michael, we found out about your new job.

      • “I was showing that our firm actually names Does and takes them to court.”

        You left out the detail about promptly dismissing any case at the first sign of a defense attorney. How else can you explain the fact that every judgment that has gone your way was a default judgment? You’ll happily collect from anybody who fails to defend themselves.

        Anybody can brag about beating up a boxing champion, and seem like a big man for it … until the fact comes out that the champ was passed-out drunk, and didn’t so much as lift a finger to protect himself. Once that happens, you transform from the “big man” to the loser who kicked a drunk.

  9. So let me get this straight… You are out there slaying all the pirates and have time to post in the comment sections on a blog? It seems to me you are only proving that you’re all about scaring people and will never take a case to trial. You don’t care if people are innocent. Grannies, dead people, blind people, whoever has a few grand is fair game. You could care less about these porn companies. Why are you not targeting specific seeders that stay in swarms for multiple weeks or months with your super software? Why don’t you spend your time looking for the actual intial uploaders of the torrents… Oh wait you don’t care about actually stopping piracy. Your cashing in till they stop you and then you will go back to ruining families in divorce court. We will wait and see if your telling the truth.. According to RFCExpress a majority of your cases just sit there until the end of time. Of course you will name a few people. People do need to be kept scared to ever possibly settle.

    • 1. Don’t be prejudiced and assume older women don’t watch adult content.

      2. I do have time to go on these blogs. I have plenty of employees that can handle things while I check out the blogs every so often. Its entertaining.

      3. Of course we are not going to stop piracy. We can only fight the good fight and hope to be fairly compensated while we do so.

      4. Most importantly, does everyone notice how the pirates/posters here never approach the question of guilt? Its always, “this isn’t fair”, “your a meanie”, etc. Its like the car thief who claims the cop that caught him is mean to arrest him.

      5. Keep up the good work of convincing people that they will not be harmed if they keep stealing porn. My clients appreciate it.

      6. Sites like this skew what is happening in the courts and do a disservice to people looking for information. Its true that some judges have severed cases. In IL there have been 3 (Shadur, Manning, Conlon). But its also true that many more judges has denied any efforts by pirates to stop us and made it clear they think what my firm is doing is fine (Chief Judge Holderman, Castillo, Pallmeyer, Coleman, Grady, Lefkow, Kennelly, Bucklo, Denlow, Gettleman, Gottchall, Guzman, Kendall, Lindberg, St. Eve, Zagel, many others).

      7. The really angry pirates on this site should come up with some more creative names for me. Asshole and douche are boring.

      • You make an valid point in number 4, and yes…those who have downloaded the material illegally should be held liable. However, my issue is with the flawed technical analysis you and yours use to make your case. An IP address alone is not a reliable method for identifying individuals, and I do not believe that you would ever get a judgement based solely on a record of a TCP connection from an IP address. Torrent traffic is unencrypted, which makes the packets easily intercepted and modified. I wonder why you use a foreign company for your IP address harvesting…is it so that they personnel and utility are not easily examined?

        You should really be spending some time going after the manufacturers of the wireless routers that ship with a single default password that few ever change and no wireless security enabled by default. It is not reasonable to expect that the average user is going to understand the ramifications of not leaving the default settings in place. Additionally, wireless passwords WEP or WPA are easily hacked using free utilities.

        Your clients benefit from these suits because they make more from suing defendants than they would via legitimate sales. This is a part of their business model and I don’t believe you are interested in stopping digital piracy at all. There is too much money in it for you and your clients.

        • Actually, it’s not such a valid point in number 4. I would imagine that those who are guilty and worth pursuing are quietly settling their cases … along with those who aren’t guilty and for whatever reason can’t risk being associated with internet porn. They remain an unnamed IP address that gets voluntarily and anonymously dismissed somewhere in the long list of dismissals for each of these cases. I image that most people in these forums don’t approach the question of guilt because they’re simply not guilty.

          Again, the handful of people that I see posting in these comments aren’t typically saying “haha, I stole your porn and I aint paying you!”. They’re saying “What is going on here? I haven’t done anything and I’m getting these threatening letters. Can somebody help me?”

          A better question, I think, is why isn’t Steele approaching the question of innocence? It’s like the lawyer demanding that the man jailed for stealing a car pay him thousands of dollars because a bum on the street saw him do it. Never mind that the alleged thief was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, sitting in a hospital bed in Atlanta at the time of the theft in Los Angeles. “We just won’t mention that little piece of information until after we get the settlement check.”

          • “What is going on here? I haven’t done anything and I’m getting these threatening letters. Can somebody help me?” – stole this phrase for my new post 🙂 Oh, wait… if I stole it, why it is still here?

      • I believe that Steele’s #5 is the most telling of his attitude towards copyright:
        “5. Keep up the good work of convincing people that they will not be harmed if they keep stealing porn. My clients appreciate it.”

        Essentially, to hell with respecting copyright and other people’s work. He’s hoping that people infringe on copyrights, so that he can continue to profit. It doesn’t matter if his clients make anything that’s any good and actually sells – so long as they can file the copyright paperwork and profit from threats of a lawsuit, they are happy. It’s no surprise that so many of these cases stem from titles that are being tracked the day they’re put on the market, and paperwork to the copyright office filed 2 months and 28 days from the date of release. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs, and a sick twist on the purpose and intent of the law, when the ambulance-chasers are instructing potential clients on how to be properly injured so they can maximize the return.

        Not to mention that nobody (other than Steele) is saying that theft is good. Personally, I see these forums as being populated with the abnormally large percentage of does who have been falsely accused and are seeking a strategy that doesn’t involve paying off the extortionists.

        #6 is pretty telling as well, indicating that early stabs at forum-shopping have been successful at building a list of compliant (complacent?) judges. In the end, all it means is that they have a list of judges who won’t toss their cases at first glance. That list will get smaller as time goes on, as the judges on the list realize that they’re being selectively targeted by forum-shopping lawyers who refuse to actually commit to a jury trial. I’m sure the list will dwindle to zero should one of these cases ever be argued in a courtroom, and the trollawyer’s faulty evidence be exposed to expert scrutiny.

  10. Spare us. You want us to think that you are really going to pursue all of those Does in their thousands vs just picking the low hanging fruit in order to scare more people into settling? Statistically the best bet is to ignore the trolls unless you receive notification from a court.

  11. If this is really Steele I think its a good sign. He’s here attempting to control damage. Does anybody really believe he’s here because people looking for information are being mislead? Please.

  12. “4. Most importantly, does everyone notice how the pirates/posters here never approach the question of guilt? Its always, “this isn’t fair”, “your a meanie”, etc. Its like the car thief who claims the cop that caught him is mean to arrest him.”

    Lets talk about guilt. Your Cali troll Gibbs says an IP is not enough to prove who is the infringer is to bring suit against. So… those letters you send that are freely available for viewing on the internet. You might want to change the information in there or get Gibbs back on script. It seems you do not want to talk honestly about what it means to be “guilty”. Having a faulty router that has an open connection, or a hacked router, or a unknowingly open router, or a house guest or whatever possible reason does not constitute guilt. Please John we are begging you to take one of these cases to trial and bring your “expert” to claim an IP= a person. The rest of the computer community in the world knows how Network address translation works, and if you are in an apartment building how many people possibly be your infringer and hiding behind one IP address. Hey, if you analyze a hard drive and find a file then you deserve your money. The problem is you never actually go through the legal process of actual discovery to try and find the infringers. You just send letters get a bunch of settlements and move on. Just own your hustle John! Stop pretending this is anything more then to get people to settle.You think Judges are stupid and will not see your pattern? John, please tell me how many hard drives have your experts actually looked at in the last year. How much discovery have you done? Please post the links from RFCexpress or PACER for us. We would love see all this litigation.

  13. Think about it. If the advice here really resulted in Steele getting more judgements and cash, why would he say anything? This is damage control.

  14. So we got a letter today and it has this Steele guy on it and we are baffled! How does this happen? I have googled this guy and read many things and now I see him posting on here! I would venture to say that there are flaws in his $250k system because we have never downloaded anything except for from iTunes and streaming Netflix and some how we are in on this…the ip address showing is not even ours, unless it changes from time to time, I don’t know how this has happened! It really sucks that we are going to get threats from him to pay up or else. So I guess we have to go through the hassle of defending ourselves and prove we are innocent rather than him prove us guilty! All over an ip address. Can’t they be spoofed or hacked into? We have it protected but from what I am reading on the Internet all of this is fairly easy to do if you are tech savvy. If we prove our innocence can I turn around and sue them for defamation of character? To top it all off my wife was in a car accident this morning as well, guess one more thing to come since it happens in 3’s. Not looking forward to our meetings Mr. Steele or should I say “home wrecker”

  15. This is an example of a troll trying to spread as much FUD as he can to maximize settlement rates before it all comes crashing down.

  16. Im wagering that these named people the trolls are focusing on single people (unmarried, no kids, etc).

    If I were ever sued I would just say “You named ME. Prove it was Me.” The name on the ISP account has not been shown to be proof of THAT persons guilt in these cases. The subscriber has no duty to tell anybody who he/she THINKS could have been the downloader in the household in order to have the suit against then dropped. Don’t let them drop it. Make them prove to the court that the person named should be responsible. I don’t think they can do it unless the defendant self-incriminates or is the only resident in the home.

  17. @steele – 1 question…
    Your super sekrit massive system that could never generate an error flagged a 70 yr old woman who got the attention of the media, and suddenly you announced there was an error.
    Was it your super system or the ISP that failed?
    Or did decide to say you filed a case with a faulty IP address because the media listened to the 70 yr old call you an extortionist you then decided to cut and run?

    Because filing a flawed case seems like a rookie mistake, and should call into question what random dart board your pulling numbers off of. You see when you misidentify one person, it raises the specter that you are not doing your due diligence before filing the case. I’m sure you would be more than willing to open up the specifics of your system to an independent expert to vette it as being more reliable than a Ouija Board. Of course you won’t, because if there is a flaw in how your gathering the data poof goes all your cases. Even the Germans make spinoff companies to keep all of their cases from going tits up if one of them has to explain how they gather IPs.

    I helped take down Stone, I go toe to toe with Randazza, and if this is the best you have… your not worth much effort. Your an extortionist. You will never bring a case solely on your “evidence” because you’d be laughed out of the courtroom as we tore apart your “system”. Maybe you should go back to divorce cases rather than getting hammered and making a bigger fool of yourself online. Did you get that felony case against one of your staffers cleared up or is he still wanted? You might think this was going to be easy money… let ACS:UK be a lesson.

    Expect them.

    I remain…

  18. “Even the Germans make spinoff companies to keep all of their cases from going tits up if one of them has to explain how they gather IPs.”

    Even the Germans make spinoff companies…

    Germans make spinoff companies…

    spinoff companies…


    • When the article originally ran on TorrentFreak Steele dropped by to call it an advertisement for an underemployed lawyer trolling for business. He did not address the content directly.

  19. Well I hope everyone had a great weekend! Happy Halloween! Well except for the Trolls. 😦

    Fight the good fight. Yeah right John. This is a money making endeavor – plain and simple. I don’t begrudge a lawyer trying to make a living, but your methods are slimy. I haven’t looked too deep into your firms practice (Copyright or Divorce), but you do appear to be good at what you do. But being good at questionable practices is nothing to brag about either. Bragging about how well written a judge thinks your pleading is, doesn’t mean it is correct. I got a good laugh at how you claim we are skewing this issue. You are not in practice for justice or fairness. You are in practice to make money and your methods are so clear. Threats, fear, and a chance to settle for a couple thousand dollars. You are right that copyright infringement is wrong/illegal/bad, but your efforts (and others) are not right either. Unless you think the ends justifies the means? Or maybe more appropriate, “Sue them all and let the courts settle them out.” I’m glad you think it is fun to sit around on a Saturday and laugh at all the poor Does. Yes it must feel so good to be a powerful lawyer and look down upon all the poor ignorant folks that are “wanna be” lawyers. I’m sorry; I will use your term of “Pirates” to describe the Does. That is the mind-set that sets everyone on edge – everyone is guilty. How can you say that all the IP owners are guilty? Yes I have read the garbage your firm sends to the Does. The only people you are going to take to trial and not have to expose your methods and perfect “software” is those you know you can win. Most likely those who made the sad mistake of talking to your office and admitted they or someone in the home did it. It is a safe and effective decision that doesn’t put your operation in jeopardy. Oh I really love the statement that if a Doe files a motion, you will file against them individually – great scare tactic. “Talk about pyrrhic victories.” Sad John – truly sad.

    DieTrollDie 🙂

  20. I would suggest that anyone who believes Steele about this site misleading people to call a few lawyers. EFF has a good list. I promise you the advice from them is pretty much aligned with what sophisticatedJaneDoe has posted. Of course individual situations varies. I have spoken to 3 myself. You know why! because S.Jane Dooe also spoke with lawyers and critically evaluated this whole situation. I have never seen a post here telling people to screw these guys and go download movies. This site has helped people emerge from the Vortex of intimidation and feeling alone in these situations that these lawyers want. I can see why Steele hates this site. Information is power and Steele is horrified to believe that every Doe could possibly find this site or call a good fairly priced attorney like Nick Ranallo who frequents this site. So much for wannabe lawyers. We actually have a REAL IP lawyer on this site! Not a divorce lawyer who picked a new hobby

  21. NSFW The following links are NSFW

    These are posts from a porn industry site,, where Steele, and most of his clients have posted in threads regarding p2p porn lawsuits.

    I am not a p2p or piracy advocate, nor p2p user. However it is pretty obvious reading these threads that Steele and his clients are using the lawsuits to embarrass individual does to settle without going to court. His clients state openly that it is an additional revenue stream for them.
    Steve Lightspeed (Hard Drive Productions) thread starter
    A few interesting posts to view are:

    John Steele post#’s 299, 315, 348, 358
    Hello there
    As the attorney that has filed the actual lawsuits, I can say that most of the negative comments on this post miss the point of what we are trying to do. I wish to make a couple quick points:

    1. We are not looking to end piracy. That will never happen.

    2. We are trying to get some “lost” money back to content producers on a contingency basis. If my firm is full of idiots that cannot accomplish this task then our clients are not a dime.

    3. I am not trying to push this solution on anyone who would rather not pursue illegal downloaders. If a content producer is comfortable with writing off illegal downloads as a cost of doing business, I respect that.

    4. With respect to the comment that most down loaders don’t know its illegal, I can’t help but wonder if that commenter is serious. Besides, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    5. For the 95% of the people on here that think what we are trying to do is a good idea, thanks!

    John Steele

    Steele | Hansmeier

    Millennium TGA/Shemaleyum owner
    I’m not going to get into this too much, or debate it too much as frankly, it seems that most of the people having a whine are the ones who don’t really have that much to lose.

    Are we going to stop piracy doing this? Absolutely not. There will always be piracy and there will always be people looking to get the content for free, these people will NEVER buy. This is an inevitable part of any business that creates a content that can be ripped off.
    The problem is when potential buyers find it easier to steal content than to buy it. These lawsuits are just part of our overall strategy to go after content thieves and hopefully drive them further underground, so that those potential buyers, find it easier to go to the actual websites rather than take the risk of stealing or jumping through loops to steal it. We have other initiatives going on against the uploaders, this is specific to bit torrent downloaders.

    What does Grooby hope to accomplish from this? Both a new potential revenue stream and the threat of what may happen, if you continue to poach our content.

    Let’s see what happens when 100 people get a legal notice stating our intention to sue, and publicize the legal action we’re taking against them for downloading illegally:
    “SHEMALE-MIDGET-DEEP-ANAL-FUCK-ORGY.WMV”, before being so negative about the outcome. If it fails, nothing ventured, nothing gained but at least we’re trying to work at this and we will find a solution instead of sitting around whining about the profits dropping.

    Steve Lightspeed/Hard Drive Productions
    Originally Posted by Alky
    so if you aren’t sharing it, then how do you know who is actually downloading? i don’t claim to know a ton about torrents, but it seems to me you could connect to the tracker and not upload/download anything.

    is that illegal?
    I’ll let you know how it all works when we are done collecting about 500,000 ips

    Claudia-Marie Owner – Interesting post#’s 41, 81, 97
    Originally Posted by marketsmart
    no they are not…

    although i support your cause, you obviously have now idea how this works..

    your efforts would be better spent producing new content and protecting it…
    No, you’re wrong.

    I’m currently making a 60/40 split on nailing surfers uploading our stuff. Piracy is turning out to be a nice little revenue stream after all. GroobyBucks and Lightspeed are following in the footsteps of a few others who have now figured out how to put a hurt on it.

    I’m the one laughing all the way to the bank. The 60/40 split with the lawyers is nice for me. Way better than watching assholes make 100% with stolen content for damn sure. And it’s padding my bank account.

    Here are the direct links to several threads post# 8

    I am sure there are more threads in there.

    • Something that is pretty telling in all of this is they think the people “uploading” are making money. While there are some people who put the money on tubesites to make money, this is not the people they are actually targeting. They are fed this idea that there are billions in copyright infringement, and can not grasp most people aren’t getting paid they are paying to make the sharing happen. What your seeing as “losses” does not magically become money in the pockets of people sharing.

      There are tons of reasons people share files
      -some of them might want to see if your content is worth how much your charging.
      A free “preview” is always culled from your very best work, but if they feel your content is about 5 min of what they want and 35 min of stupid filler, they will not become a customer.
      – some people don’t have $50 to drop on a video, and pricing DVD and Digital at nearly the same price gives them no way to get anything from you. a Digital file does not have the same costs to be made available as a DVD.
      – some people might own your content, but want to watch it on a different device your not supporting. Someone else put in the effort to convert it, so they grab that.

      There are more sources for porn than ever before available, and many of them are free. Sticking to the pricing structure of VHS tapes is not adapting your business to consumer desires. Because while you think your movie is worth $50-60 a shot, the end consumer does not agree. If you lowered the cost you might even see more sales, but your so used to making the money you made when there were only 10 major porn houses… you might have noticed there are even amateurs putting out high quality content right now.

      I remain

  22. A couple points:

    1) I am a divorce and intellectual property lawyer. Yes, I have a successful divorce lawyering practice, but hey, I have all sorts of successful businesses because I am a successful business man. “Hate the game, not the player.” -2Pac
    2) If you are being threatened by John Steele, settle with me instead. I only charge $1500, and not only will I promise not to sue you, but I will promise not to slash your tires when you’re at work.
    3) I paid three-hundred thousand dollars for MY proprietary software. John Steele only paid $250,000.
    4) John Steele will not reveal how his software works. I will not only refuse to reveal how my software works, but I will also refuse to answer your question if you ask whether or not my software is a random number generator that I paid $300,000 for because I don’t know how to properly test software.
    5) Some may say it’s hard to fight the good fight while maintaining the lifestyle that I have. When people say that, I simply sit back in my chair and think to myself, “Keep it up, Gary Bonewell, keep it up you golden bastard.”

  23. I think the trolls hijacked my system! Got a letter not too long ago and came home today and cannot connect via my PC. I can connect via my blu ray but not my PC.

    If your $300k system is so good then why don’t you go after the uploader themselves…maybe because you guys are the ones doing the uploads…so add entrapment to the extortion

  24. To the points about not being able to prove the subscriber is the infringer. Why not simply counter-sue for defamation so that when they admit that they can’t “really” prove person = IP address you can get a nice defamation claim on their shakedown naming you as a downloader of “shemale-midjet-whatever” he mentioned up top/

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