The court is not willing to assist a troll in extrajudicial business – says the judge

When I told my story a year ago, I wrote that “the judicial system is not inherently wrong, but it is very slow.” It took a while before judges around the country started to understand both the goals and the anatomy of mass bittorent lawsuits, and when they did, they liked it not. This is especially true for one of the first districts that suffered heavily from lawsuit abuse by copyright trolls — Northern District of California.

These days orders denying “fishing expeditions” are not rare events anymore in this and other districts, but the order denying Prenda Law’s application for leave to take expedited discovery (case 5:11-cv-03825-HRL) issued by a magistrate judge Howard R. Lloyd goes an extra mile: it not only lists the usual suspects, jurisdiction and joinder, but describes the very core of the scam. Judge Lloyd writes in the conclusion (emphasis is mine):

…the court will not assist a plaintiff who seems to have no desire to actually litigate but instead seems to be using the courts to pursue an extrajudicial business plan against possible infringers (and innocent others caught up in the ISP net). Plaintiff seeks to enlist the aid of the court to obtain information through the litigation discovery process so that it can pursue a non-judicial remedy that focuses on extracting “settlement” payments from persons who may or may not be infringers. This the court is not willing to do.

This order contributes to the case law getting mature as we speak. I don’t own a crystal ball, yet I can guarantee that this order will be widely quoted in motions, both pro se and written by attorneys, as well as in other judges’ orders and opinions.


Taking the occasion, I want to reiterate once more: we do make a difference. Publicity works. When I received a predatory blow in a form of a letter from my ISP a year ago, it took almost a week before I had a clear understanding of the matter and resolved to fight, and I must admit that during that week I seriously considered settling despite being innocent. Today a new victim finds a wealth of information in this, DieTrollDie’s, Rob Cashman’s and other blogs¹ after searching the Web for mere five minutes, and before fear and uncertainty take over him, knowledge kicks in and prevents irrational actions.

I browse many dockets daily, and I noticed that a year ago, notices of dismissal with prejudice that listed dozens of Does at once, were filed pretty often (these types of notices indicate settlement payments), while today I hardly see similar notices, and they usually list just a couple of defendants. This speaks for itself. Trolls constantly change tactics and shop for friendly forums, but these actions yield lesser and lesser results. Everyone knows that the only way to get rid of trolls for good is to stop feeding them, and we are obviously doing a good job starving them.



¹Although we, who maintain these sites, deserve some credit, the community is the main contributor to this wealth of knowledge. For example, this news was spotted by a reader earlier today.

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64 responses to ‘The court is not willing to assist a troll in extrajudicial business – says the judge

  1. This is 13 pages of sheer, unadulterated joy as Californian Judge Howard R Lloyd utterly DESTROYS each and every argument put forward by a Troll for the CopyWrong Cartel – and more importantly, it can be quoted in other cases US-wide as it sets a legal precedent as to why Courts should DENY applications for discovery of John Does.

    Being in the UK, I don’t usually read any of the US Courts’ shit, but I simply couldn’t tear myself away from this decision of ecstasy. I reckon I had at least 3 mental orgasms.

    Please take your time, and read each and every numbered footnote too – this is a CLASSIC case that MUST be bookmarked and quoted at EVERY opportunity.

    Hard Drive Productions, Inc. -v- Does 1-90, Case No. C11-03825 HRL, March 30, 2012

    Click to access it…43765.18.0.pdf

    The time of the CopyWrong Troll is waning, and they’re now on the run. Even the Courts see their scam for what it truly is, and US judges are beginning (at long last) to see through their evil plan to scam.

      • Although I’m still middle-aged, I’m a ‘retired’ paralegal who presented cases to various Tribunals in the UK sjd, and I can still recognise an Earth-shattering item of case law when I see one.

        In his decision Judge Lloyd has explained fully and exquisitely exactly why US Courts MUST NOT FEED THE TROLLS, and his reasoning is backed up at every possible step with related case law throughout this monumentally important document that, IMHO, signals the death-knell to these scam-merchants and predators.

        @ all readers
        Sorry about the broken link to the pdf in my previous post (I still dunno how to edit on wordpress)

        Click to access gov.uscourts.cand.243765.18.0.pdf

  2. It was so nice to read this order. Not just common sense, but you can feel that the judge really sees what a line of BS the Trolls have been feeding everyone for so long. The tide is turning and YOU do make a difference. Do whatever you can and don’t give up. Thank you SJD. And John…… Suck it. ;).
    DTD 🙂

  3. Great post about some truly great judicial common sense and (dare I say it?) empathy. With all these nice developments occurring in the Northern District of CA, it is shaping up to be a likely locale for the inevitable Troll Finale

  4. Prenda is in a real box in the CAND because for their business model to continue they have to actually start litigating some cases but that is not the business model. NICE!

    Also, it seems that Gibbs is not exactly a crackerjack litigator. I think I am going to send him a box of Depends Diapers once the Wong and Seth matters REALLY start heating up with some discovery into all aspects of trolling.

  5. My CAND case, 5:11-cv-3681, has HRL presiding… Gibbs called it quits on 03/31/2012:
    NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal of Entire Action Without Prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1) by Pacific Century International, Ltd. (Gibbs, Brett) (Filed on 3/31/2012)

    • Good news for you, I guess Gibbs is not an absolute moron, If so, he should be considering a relocation of his bridge to another state like his mentor did.

      • What troubles me (although it probably shouldn’t) is that HRL never got around to addressing motions to quash. Gibbs is being slightly reactionary here. Only a single day after HRL says “no discovery” in a different case, Gibbs shuts down a case with several MTQ hanging about after a granted discovery. Yes, this cut and run makes sense because HRL is on the war path and anyone that filed a MTQ (or had one filed on their behalf) won’t settle easily. But still, I wanted some MTQ closure. I guess I’ll just take the case closure instead ;).

        • It isn’t getting easier for Gibbs on 11-cv-03682 (Hard Drive Productions, Inc. v. Does 1-166) either.
          On 3/14/2012, Judge Koh ordered: “By April 11, 2012, Plaintiff shall file either proof of service for the 19 Cox subscriber Defendants whose identifying information Plaintiff received on March 8, 2012, or a declaration demonstrating good cause for failure to do so. Failure to comply with this Order will result in issuance of an Order to Show Cause why this case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute, a hearing on which will be set for June 13, 2012, at 2:00 p.m.”

          Click to access gov.uscourts.cand.243652.58.0.pdf

  6. And another caed Judge seems not too pleased with Gibbs…

    “ORDER to SHOW CAUSE signed by Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr on 3/28/12; Plaintiff is Ordered to Show Cause (OSC) in a writing to be filed no later than April 13, 2012, why sanctions should not be imposed against it and/or its counsel under Rule 16(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to file a timely status report.”

    Click to access gov.uscourts.caed.233507.13.0.pdf

    (First Time Videos, LLC v. Unknown – actually it’s one doe + 120 co-conspirators)

    It would appear Gibbs filed his status report immediately in this case, but one cannot imagine this situation being good for Gibbs and his plaintiff.

  7. Thought everyone might like this little gem that just came out yesterday:


    APR 12 2012

    Case called for hearing on pending motions to quash subpoenas: parties present through counsel, arguments heard IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
    1) All pending motions to quash subpoenas filed by the ISPs are Denied.
    2) All ISPs shall comply with plaintiffs outstanding subpoenas (consistent with the court’s order entered 12/16/11) as follows: ISPs shall issue any required statutory notice of this order to their subscribers and shall produce all client subscriber identifying information (including but not limited to name and address) on or before 6/12/12. (By agreement of plaintiff and Comcast, Comcast to produce 80% of its compliance on or before said date with final compliance to be completed by 6/26/12.)
    3) The 18Ps shall provide the following notice in substantially the following form to their subscribers:
    “we have been ordered to provide your identifying information to Prenda Law pursuant to a court order dated April 12,2012 in the case Lightspeed Media Corp. vs. John Doe, case number l1-L-683 in 81. Clair County, Illinois. The court has ordered that any motions filed relating to this order will be heard on July 20, 2012 at 10:00am. No other dates will be set to hear any motions relating to compliance with outstanding subpoenas. All Non-Attorneys are prohibited from directly contacting the court in any manner other than in writing.”
    4) In the event one or more ISP subscribers file a motion of any kind relating to the release of their private information, that ISP shall delay production with respect to the moving subscribers only and shall not delay the release of the information of any other subscribers.
    5) All pleadings objecting to the release of information must list the IP address associated with the person objecting. The ISP that has the subscribers information shall preserve all information until the court rules on the objecting motion.

    Let me summarize it for those of you who are not used to using more than one brain cell, or one hand, at a time: The Master Troll came out from under his bridge and taught Comcast, Verizon, ATT, BellSouth, WayPort, Qwest, Cox, CenturyTel, Embarq some law! (After typing all those ISP names, I know what your right hands must feel like!). So for the 6500 pirates (that number is not a typo) in this case who were gloating that your ISP’s were protecting your crimes, get ready. There are some eager people that have been waiting for this day for some time. I know what your thinking, most of the crap written on this site is not true, how do I know this is accurate? Here is how you can tell. In the next ten days, a little bird has told me that the first 100 individual cases against NAMED defendants will be filed and placed on If it is not, you will all know the Master Troll is full of ^*(%(&#. If you see your name in lights (or the names of 100 of your pirating buddies), maybe, just maybe, they are really are coming after you thieving criminals.

    PS. Judge Lloyd did rule against Prenda. However, I think Prenda will trade a case with 90 does for one with 6500 does but I’m just guessing.

    • Big deal John. Talk Talk Talk. Zero Zero Zero. We have all dealt with the various courts eventually releasing subscriber information, especially in the jurisdictions friendly to you. Funny how you can claim the 6500 pirates are not a typo, but your firm can’t get the correct number of cases you have filed and NEVER served a single defendant into a court document in CA. Wow, you are going to name people and put them on your Web site. Please, go ahead and make it easier for the people who actually file counterclaims against your Plaintiff. Can’t wait to see how your two CA cases turn out. Bottom line Master Troll – your evidence (public IP address) is weak and you know it. You will no doubt get some people to settle, that is the nature of this game. Be warned as you try to be more forceful, more lawyer on the other side will see a chance to take your Plaintiff for everything they have. Can’t wait to see your technical experts get tore up.
      DTD 🙂

    • You’d be better off actually naming people.. than coming here every 2-3 months to tell us you’re ABOUT to start naming people. Get the fuck on with it!

  8. You know what, that is a fair criticism. It is harder than it looks to have this much litigation going on and to name as many pirates as we want to. We know we have two years to name the pirate, so I would rather do it right than do it quick. But the ramp up has been slower than expected.

    I only ask one thing: IF I come back here in a week or so and start posting case numbers in large numbers, I want you, DIETROLLDIE, to admit we are finally naming pirates in bulk. Quite frankly, its time for both me (and you anonymous cowards) to put up or shut up. I only pray that when we start naming people, we get some of the people on this site so they can learn that its a lot easier to talk tough when your hiding behind a screen name.

    • I don’t see what the great victory will be in having DTD “admit” you named some people. If you do it you do it and that’s a fact. News flash, the reason you get heckled for failing to name defendants is because you don’t, and letting Gibbs get cornered into having to admit it in spectacular fashion on the record must have been humiliating. So put up or shut up. The last time you said you were gonna do it we got the lame “individual” single John Doe suits and that has hardly been a success, two in CA turned into suits against Hard Drive Productions and the rest are mostly languishing on the docket. We are all looking forward to it anyway because we know that’ll be the true end of your scam. Once a defendant’s attorney starts discovery on Prenda and your clients it’s popcorn time. A couple other Trolls have dipped their toes in the named-defendant waters and it hasn’t accomplished much.

      And get real, you don’t hope to name anyone who reads this blog. Those are the people best informed and most likely to put up a fight. They are the ones who have already pushed you into the corner by not settling. They will get assistance from the collective, cooperate with each other, get hooked up with attorneys (possibly pro-bono), and just generally be your worst nightmare. You want your targets as ignorant as possible which is why you hate these blogs and come here to spread FUD.

    • John. You know I will post what goes on – good or bad, as well as analyze the true meaning of it. Just in case you have forgotten, this is NOT my life. This is an interest of mine and I think I do a decent job at it for a lay-person. So if I miss something, I apologize to the readers and will address it as soon as possible. I will report what you and the other Trolls have to say (or do), as well as what other sources of information have to say on it. You know I really enjoy using your own words and actions (or inactions) against you.

      Go ahead and start naming people. I actually look forward to it. No really. IMO you actually naming people is going to force the issue to a new level and I don’t believe your ego is letting you see that. It may get some people to settle, but it is going to put more people up against the wall; then the “fight or flight” response is going to kick in. Please also inform us exactly what the “naming” will entail. The name of the ISP subscriber put on your Web site? Their name on your Web site and added to the complaint? Or all that and actually being served with a summons? I expect you will take a graduated response, much like what Mark Lutz does with pushing back the settlement cut-off date he tell the accused. As you say, wait and see.

      Anonymous cowards. Really John. Just because we are smart enough not to openly expose ourselves to a vindictive business model (Copyright Trolling), we are not cowards. I do understand that being anonymous is frustrating to your kind. You can’t easily go after any “troublemakers” and silence them with BS claims. John, we all do realize you have lots of money to burn and would love to spend some of it on attacking us in court. It wouldn’t even have to be a claim you had a chance of winning. Just make the troublemaker spend all his money in defending himself and eventually they will beg to settle. Boy that would put the fear of god into those basement dwelling pudwacker (BDP) pirates and their parents.

      What I do find funny about your comment, “talk tough when your hiding behind a screen name,” is you are doing the same thing – only a little different. Why else do you use the screen name of the “The Pirate Hunter” and the Mullvad Web Proxy registered in the Netherlands (, to hide your true IP address? Because, you don’t want any BDP to be able to use YOUR words against YOU. 😉

      Have a good night – I know I will.
      DieTrollDie 🙂

      • One thing I forgot to mention was that it is always good to note what the other side in a discussion does not talk about. John did not speak to the issue of (1) weak evidence (Public IP address) or their technical experts getting tore up when a case gets that far.

        DTD 🙂

    • LMAO!! Can someone please compare this Steele post to the one posted around Halloween by Buffy. Slow ramp up??? You said you were suing everyone in October and the number is still 0 six months later… Your word is worthless, and your still just a pathetic ambulance chasing divorce lawyer.

    • lol, “… hiding behind a scree name.” Would a decent example of be that be “The pirate hunter”, or maybe even the “The Master Troll”.

      How many qualifications in fuckwit did you need in order to post that pile of shit?

  9. And if you idiots think that the ISP’s being ordered to give Prenda 6500 names in 60 days with no ability to play delaying games is good, you guys need to get some fresh air. I think this judge in this case already denied the standard MTQ filed by pirates.

    • Well, securing an troll-friendly court order from in one of the most corrupt counties with a help of a a former judge… what’s so exciting about it to cross-post in a dozen of threads? I don’t get it.

  10. Same thing goes for you John. Its a lot easier for you to talk shit here than it is for you to present your bullshit to a Judge. Threats are cheap until you are caught by a Judge playing games with the court system.

    “I only pray that when we start naming people”. When and if? More bullshit. And who are you praying to? Troll Satan?

    There has obviously been a loss income wise to your business because of the two blogs, otherwise you wouldnt come on here complaining and whining like the little troll bitch that you are.

    • Unfortunately, Prenda has become such a joke that I think they have to start naming individuals to maintain any semblance of legitimacy. I fully expect a massive wave of named lawsuits out of St.Clair where the litigating is easy and the air is fine so as to counter any future judicial decisions which are founded on the present fact that Prenda does not name and serve Does. What we are witnessing here is Steele trying to resurrect his business model before it is hopelessly discredited. It remains to be seen whether Steele has the balls and the resources to take each Doe beyond the naming stage. With 6,500 Does out there my money is on they will not because they cannot afford it. Suck it Troll! DO NOT SUCCUMB TO EMPTY THREATS!

      • Doesn’t Pretenda have to name them in a Federal suit? Things will get interesting when the Federal Judge finds out they used a State Court for discovery on a Federal issue.

  11. if it wasn’t for this and DTD’s sights i know i would have done everything in my power to pay out of fear. not any more, these sites show the fraud and abuse of the court system and i am happy they are pissing off the big bad trolls. 🙂

  12. I wish I knew what movie to download to receive a settlement letter from john steele. If he contacts me I guarantee the case will go to court because I’m filing a counter claim and he won’t have a choice. I hope to get in early, because after the first couple of cases it will snowball, and I dont think there will be a very large window of opportunity to get money out of the trolls before they claim bankruptcy.

    • Yes, Gibbs files motion to leave the motion for reconsideration of the famous Lloyd’s ruling. He argues that Lloyd applied wrong standard. 10:1 it will be denied. This motion shows both arrogance and desperation.

      One simple question to Gibbs nullifies all his troll efforts: “why on 4/16 did you crook voluntarily dismiss another lawsuit referred to judge Lloyd right after his ruling… if you are so sure about your merits?”

      • I had to smile when I read this in Gibb’ motion for reconsideration: “…the Court misconstrued Plaintiff’s procedures-which merely represent care and diligence in following Plaintiff counsel’s legal and ethical obligations…”

  13. BTW- HDP/Pilcher’s corporate address is not nearly as swanky as Lightspeed/Jones’ corporate address just by judging from the Google photos, no swimming pool.

  14. Another update to the case. Gibbs tells judge he’s been getting death threats.

    • Ugh.. What an opportunist. Anyone sending that kind of email is a piece of shit but so is a lawyer trying to leverage it to continue a deplorable scam.

      • Agree. I haven’t had a chance to read the email he got, but any threats made to him or his family is counter-productive to our efforts. I know the overwhelming number of people here understand that and know how to legally fight back in the courts and public venues. Not discounting the threat, it is pretty low to try and use it to get the court to look more favorably on his effort to take early discovery.

        Hard to believe Gibbs thinks the judge will change the basis of his analysis and decision. The fact that someone sent a threatening email DOESN’T change the fact that Plaintiff does not plan to litigate these matters. The threat doesn’t change this!

        It is actually pretty insulting to the judge when Gibbs infers that the previous denial was basis on “sympathy for the “defenseless” infringers…”

        OK Gibbs, let us use the fact (From your Firm) that approx. 30% of the Does you go after are not the infringers. Next time add the word “alleged” in front of infringers so you don’t look the fool.

        DTD 🙂

        • We are in consensus here. While the emails themselves are disgusting and counter-productive, the opportunistic attempt to move judge to pity and sway his opinion is disingenuous to say the least. But that’s Gibbs: remember he already tried to induce pity citing this blog’s calls to report him to the Bar?

          It’s all statistics. When you assault one, two or even hundred, it is very unlikely that any of the victims will resort to anonymous threats. But if you attack tens of thousands, the probability that at least one resorts to childish and cowardly attacks, is almost 100%.

          So what do you want to prove, Gibbs? That among tens of thousands whose livelihood you threatened, there is a single douchebag? That 99.99% of defendants have higher ethical standards than you?

      • According to NAMI 1 in 17 Americans lives with a serious mental illness or 6%. So using the current Lightspeed 6500 Does as a pool, 390 of them have the potential to do something crazy.

        • Ummm… using a vague email sent from hushmail… seriously?
          While the email tap dances on a line, it hardly is a threat in itself.
          Its almost like a lawyer wrote it to make sure it didn’t make a big enough splash to merit an investigation.

          An email from hushmail is about as reliable as an IP Address “spotted” in a swarm.
          Notice the lack of full headers of the emails.
          Notice the lack of filing a complaint with hushmail top stop this evildoer…

          Hushmail doesn’t tolerate that sort of thing…

          Gee your honor you should reconsider or my business partner might make sure to send me more scary letters.
          If it smells like bullshit, you might be standing in it.

          • I don’t believe that Gibbs or his co-gangsters faked these e-mails, it’s quite believable that someone trolls them. What I’m sure about is that these emails are the most serious ones. I mean that if they had any actual death treats, not these nasty “wishes”, they wouldn’t miss the chance to use them. So I’m skeptical about Gibbs or Steele whining about anything more serious unless they support their words with documentation.

          • I was more impressed with the use of the full name, but then we’ve seen these sorts of emails before.
            Remember Unicorn guy? He sent a mocking email to Randazza saying that the leprechaun and unicorn told him to admit he downloaded stuff and then told them to f off. His address was included in one of the mass suits, he wasn’t american but Randazza claimed it was a real admission of guilt.

            I’m sure people tell them nasty things, but without anyway to vette the message it is questionable. Hushmail wouldn’t protect someone making these sorts of threats and it might be possible for them to get past the security on them… they are lawyers they can get subpoenas and the law involved if they are actually in this much fear. Making them part of the reasoning to get a Judge to reverse a ruling… ummm yeah…

        • TAC,

          I need to give you a hug for, once again, pointing out the obvious that is hard to see sometimes in this constantly shifting and sleazy world that 200,000+ citizens are walking around in a semi-paralyzed state.

  15. > […] The pirate hunter | x | | Submitted on 2012/04/13 at 11:22 am […]

    I’ve been wanting to ask this for a long time but who/what is posting all these comments? They just post snippets of previous comments that aren’t links and seem to have no real purpose and add nothing to the conversation. They also don’t have any kind of links or other kind of references in them that would make them useful. The side affect of these comments is that they crowd out the real comments in the RSS feed so valuable conversations can be missed. What’s the deal??

    • These are pingbacks: when this page is linked from somewhere, this snippet is posted, and, by the way, it has the link to the referring webpage (click the name). Pingbacks from external sites are valuable as they indicate the interest and may lead to more interesting coverage. In this case it is an internal pingback resulted by the article I just posted. I could agree that internal pingbacks are less important and spam comments, there is no way to distinguish between these two and allow/prohibit them separately.

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