Prenda

Lightspeed Media v. John Doe: a quick follow up Q & A

By Raul

Disclaimer: This post in a way constitutes legal advice but is being submitted for discussion purposes only.

Since my last post regarding this matter, Does have been receiving letters from their ISPs and have been raising questions and concerns, which this post will try to address. Please keep in mind: a lot of this is based upon pure speculation and certain assumptions, which may prove to be incorrect, so be forewarned.

Before I start, I want to remind the rule #1: never talk to the troll! You may want to consider the “Richard Pryor Response” advocated by DieTrollsDie, but do it only if you clearly understand the perils, and exercise the utmost caution.

Q. I just received a letter form my ISP. What should I do?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends upon your particular circumstances. As it will be discussed below, the odds that you will be named and sued in a state court are slim. I do not think that Does’ pro se motions to quash the subpoenas are working at the state level in these lawsuits. Please let us know if I am wrong. So if you are strapped for cash, can withstand some harassing letters, emails and, possibly, some phone calls, just sit tight. On the other hand, if you can afford to retain counsel who can file a motion to prevent or delay the release of your personal identifying information, do so. An attorney by the name of Celestine Dotson, whose number is (315) 454-6544, has appeared on behalf of at least one Doe in St. Clair, I don’t know anything about her, but I hope she is competent enough to make a difference, we’ll see. Likewise, the Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains a list of attorneys offering assistance with these kinds of lawsuits.

Q. What are the chances that I will be named in a lawsuit and served with a summons and complaint?

Very slim indeed. LMC’s Steve Jones has indicated that they have identified 6,500 Does as targets. Obviously, they are not going to sue that many individuals. However, a commenter (presumably John Steele) over at dietrolldie.com has boasted that he recently spent $4,000 on process servers (the people that hand you the summons and complaint). I find it remarkable that none of these served individuals have shown up at this blog or at dietrolldie.com yet. Nonetheless, assuming that figure is true, it means that Prenda has (or plans) to name and serve approximately, at the most, 65 Does or 1%, merely to help spread FUD. Consequently, your chances of being named and served hover at or below 1%. Prenda has associations or affiliations with trolls in FL, IN, VA, DC, TX, and CA. So your risk is slightly increased if you reside in those locales.

Q. In the unlikely event that I do get named and served, how will it play out?

In answering this question I am relying on the assumption that Prenda knows its Lightspeed complaint is largely garbage that will not withstand a careful judicial review, so it will drop those lawsuits in which such a review will occur. As I commented earlier, I think the rough parameters of Prenda’s Master Plan are:

  1. Get Doe info out of both St. Clair and Miami-Dade cases.
  2. Send extortion letters to the 6500 Does.
  3. Name and serve a very small percentage (at the most 1%) of Does in those state courts where Prenda has attorneys to spread FUD.
  4. If a named and served Doe retains an attorney and will not settle, Prenda will drop the lawsuit either before or at the time the Doe’s attorney interposes an answer or motion to dismiss.
  5. If a Doe does not retain an attorney, does not settle and does not put in a pro se answer or motion to dismiss, Prenda will wait 30 days and move for default. Get the default and shout it from the rooftop to spread more FUD. Prenda will have a hard time getting a sizable default judgment because Lightspeed’s damages are small ($40 ballpark plus court costs which would be less than $400 IMHO for a total default judgment).

Q. What is the Statute of Limitations for these various claims?

  • 2 years for the CFAA claim.
  • 1-4 years for the conversion and unjust enrichment claims; depending on the state, with most being either 1 or 2 years.
  • Civil conspiracy is a damages theory that needs to be tied to a wrongful act and the Statute of Limitations controls that wrongful act. In this case the theory dovetails with the conversion claim and the unjust enrichment claim, so the Statute of Limitations would be in the 1-4 year range.
  • 2-6 years for the breach of contract; depending on the state where the suit is filed.

The Statute of Limitations is working against Lightspeed and Prenda. This is because in the same ynot.com post Steve Jones indicated that he started compiling the list of alleged hackers back in December of 2010, and for those Does the Statute of Limitations began ticking away as it would for subsequent Does, once their IP address was discovered. So, say, you live in a state where the Statue of Limitations is 2 years for all the claims being asserted in Lightspeed’s complaint, and he discovered your IP address on December 10, 2010, which means that Lightspeed’s complaint against you will be time barred by the Statute of Limitations on December 11, 2012. With 6,500 Does to harass and threaten you can easily see how this becomes problematic as the trolls race the calendar.

Q. Why do you think the breach of contract claim is especially moronic?

For several reasons, but the main one is that the complaint alleges that unlawful hackers violated the membership agreements of its websites. The complaint can’t have it both ways: either the Doe is a unlawful hacker or the Doe is a member who breached the membership agreement, but the Doe cannot be both.

Best of luck to all the Johns and Janes out there!


¹Pay attention to the address where deposition is set to take place: this is the official Prenda Law headquarters (a.k.a Troll Central).

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Discussion

265 responses to ‘Lightspeed Media v. John Doe: a quick follow up Q & A

    • Because Comcast could care less about their customers-they only want your money!! Roberts, the CEO of Comcast only knows how to raise your rates & nothing more!!

  1. It’s widely rumored that Mr. Lightspeed aka Steve Case recently went ballistic, demanding that Prenda file suit against every one of the IP number owners cited in this case, thus foiling Prenda’s business model and probably dooming their scammous joint venture. Case had to be reined in by no other than that paragon of cool, John Steele, who recognized that wrack and ruin would be the only rewards of such a venture. Every judge would be on notice, accountable to the press and the public; most would study the case carefully, and throw it out. The few who might risk championing the doughty duo in private would not do so in the hygienic glare of a mainstream media waking up to a great scandal opportunity.

    Besides, Case’s “strategy” would require hiring an army of attorneys to take on dubious cases in virtually every state, thereby invoking the ire of the banking industry: it needs those attorneys to properly process millions of foreclosures before the law finally closes in on them, too. And the oil industry too, with its thousands of fracking sites needing certification by crooked state environment officials. Steele could no doubt find enough otherwise unemployed attorneys to do his ill deeds, but when Big Money and Big Oil showed up, his minions would almost certainly desert for greener palms, leaving John with a lot to do.

    Steele instinctively restrained Lightspeed Case, it’s said, gaining a breather, providing time for each to reconsider the other as a partner, and whether it would be worth it to press on together. That must have been a tense moment, fraught with uncertainty. But both are desperate for money, Lightspeed because his online fare is now universally known to be dreck, dreck that may additionally feature marginally legal visuals; this lawsuit has reminded everyone of that, and that he may be dangerous to be near. And Steele because the Jaws of Justice are snapping closer and closer, killing off one by one time-tested (for about two years) moneymaking methods.

    So the Two Caballeros are hanging in there, each with a hand in the others’ pocket, going for the gold, honor among thieves, etc., etc.: “Twin sociopaths of the same mother, Extremity.” A more explosive, self-destructive highball one can hardly imagine. Defense attorneys must be salivating, waiting for that call.

    • How did that info get out? It seems to me such an event would have been kept under wraps. I have a stronger suspicion that such a tirade might have been orchestrated in order to put more scare into the Does. One thing is for certain, and that is Lightspeed and these other goons are already filthy rich. They are not hurting one bit. On record, Lightspeed owns two substantial properties in Maricopa County and who knows what else in other locales. My suspicion tells me he has other ownerships and possibly some property offshore. The man has bucks and has lived a very very comfortable life. he just wants to take it up a step further and use this case to parley his software and propel it into the limelight and net him his next fortune.

      That scumbag would sell his grandmother to make that happen. Hell his own mother works for his softcore porn business. He has little in the way of morals and scruples and won’t think twice about terrorizing thousands to get his goals accomplished. he is the epitome of foul. He ficticiously killed off one of his lightspeed models to reacquire site traffic and that little stunt brought him negative press from his own sort. He would, and already has, stopped at nothing to advance his agenda. There is absolutely no possible way to communicate with him in a rational and logical way – same with his attorneys, which is why no one should attempt to do so. they play a game we are not adept at. they are professional criminals, and they are pretty good at it and working the system.

      I suspect his little tirade was an act.

      • No, it’s true. It was reported to me by someone with firsthand knowledge of what’s going on between those two. I can’t say whom without compromising that person’s professional integrity. Suffice it to say, you probably know the person by name but you probably won’t guess it from this story. I’m not trying to riddle you this or that. You can accept it as hearsay and dismiss it, but knowing the source personally, I don’t. I believe every word. That’s as much assurance as I can give. Who am I? Bystander to a Doe.

      • Being rich won’t get you out of jail if you’ve committed a crime. Keep that in mind.

        An interesting new aspect of the Bozoids’ dealings, according to various sources who’ve contacted me, is that there’s now a reciprocity clause in their settlement offers. In Part A, they forgive your your trespasses — get this — “from the beginning of time up to now.” Rather Godly of them; or is that, Grandiose? Then in Part B, they ask that you forgive _their_ trespasses “from the beginning of time….” Huh? And what trespasses might those be? Kind of raises one’s eyebrow, no?

        My guess is that Prenda and its clients, and their poor-cousin imitations, know they’ve done wrong and that they are going someday to face one or more class action suits or worse, RICO prosecution by a coalition of attorney-generals seeking restitution for their many victims in multiple states — and rich or not, that would have to hurt big-time, so many lives have they damaged by now. So they want you to sign away your rights to come after _them._ I checked this out with attorneys I run with and sure enough, that’s exactly what’s at stake, the solons report.

        In their heart of hearts, Prenda and Lightspeed (and their semi-human embodiments, Steele and Jones) are already on the run, shooting up the street while riding off with the loot from the bank — but now they’re taking hits, wounded in the saddle, struggling not to fall. Goodies.

        I asked the legal beagles, should you sign away your rights to get a settlement? It depends on the severity of your need to settle and also the situation of the Bad Guys’ defeat.

        If Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fall to criminal prosecution, the reciprocal forgiveness clause invalidates instantly: if they’re convicted, you’re a crime victim and your rights trump the document you’ve signed (which was, after all, signed under duress).

        If it’s a class action that cleans their clocks — very likely, one already in preparation — then you might not want to sign away your rights lest you can’t jump on a soon-to-be very crowded bandwagon. But if you must sign to make the Harpies depart, keep handy an aggrieved housemate or family member who’s not on their list, but who’s been equally harmed by their shenanigans — maybe he or she helped you to pay off the racketeers. That person can join in a lawsuit when you are no longer able. After all, it doesn’t matter who collects the restitution, does it, so long as your household is made whole again and your relationship restored to normal? Think businesslike. They do.

        The imminent justice coming down the pike, as the pursued become the pursuers, is going to be dramatic and restore a lot of people’s faith in the rightness of the universe, if not entirely in the rightness of the American legal system. “I hear the train a-comin’, it’s comin’ round the bend….” Toot toot, gents.

        • SoD, thanks for the information. It’s hard to trust, given the open forum that we are on. I certainly hope there is some sort of soul searching/sleepless nights/fear of retribution happening on that end, since I know it’s caused many sleepless nights on my end. Keep the tidbits coming if you can. One of the only things keeping me sane is reading my daily DTD and FCT (how do I refer to this site in shortened form??). Thanks to SJD and Raul for helping out.

    • This post strikes me as very odd. First, Lightspeed’s real name is Steve Jones, not Steve Case. (Interestingly, some googling reveals that there is a Steve Case related to something called “Lightspeed Venture Partners,” which has no relationship whatsoever to Lightspeed Media and Steve Jones.) Secondly, how could anyone possibly know about this supposed confrontation unless they are — or are very close to — one of the people involved?

      If this episode is so “widely rumored,” I’d like to know more about the sources.

      • You’re right, I was reading about AOL and subsequently transposed their names. Poor Steve Case, I inadvertently slandered you, and for this I apologize: you were odd and a financial weasel, but you weren’t perverse. (Case founded AOL and later used the proceeds to fund the venture firm.) It’s Steve Jones I meant; he is perverse. It wasn’t so widely rumored, but it the story is well known among those who muck around in this sludge. I wouldn’t say my source is close to Steele and Jones except in a metaphorical way, but the individuals who couriered the story to this person were seriously alarmed. I wasn’t there, but based on who told me, and the pressure that person experienced as a result, I take it very seriously. Believe it or not.

  2. In a good example of PR-driven journalism, YNOT, the so-called journal of the adult online industry, features a rather ridiculous story on how Steve Jones found this great judge in Illinois who is trampling injustice and defending the American way by issuing subpoenas to ISPs to betray their customers and snare them in Prenda’s and Jones’ extortion scheme. Reading this “journalism,” you might mistake corrupt, state judge LeChien — who issues subpoenas for alleged crimes he cannot try — for Justice Brandeis.

    http://www.ynot.com/content/117788-lightspeed-lawsuit-puts-password-traders-notice.html
    “Lightspeed lawsuit puts traders on notice,” Sue Denim, April 13, 2012, YNOT.com

  3. http://www.equities.com/news/news-headline-story?dt=2012-08-07&val=353551&d=1&cat=headline

    Prenda Law Inc. Sues AT&T And Comcast For Aiding Hackers
    PR Newswire
    BELLEVILLE , Ill., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — On August 3rd, 2012, Prenda Law Inc. filed an amended complaint in Saint Clair County, Illinois, naming AT&T, Comcast Cable Communications and their corporate executives as defendants for their role in allegedly aiding hackers targeting adult content. The plaintiff, Lightspeed Media Corporation, is a leading adult content producer.

    Lightspeed’s complaint accuses Comcast, AT&T and their corporate executives of civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting computer fraud, unjust enrichment and violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act. Lightspeed has asked the court for injunctive relief, preventing AT&T and Comcast from continuing to participate in the criminal enterprise, and for monetary damages.

    Lightspeed’s original complaint was filed on December 14, 2011 against Anthony Smith, one of the alleged ringleaders of the hacking gang. Lightspeed’s early efforts were successful in unraveling the conspiracy when counsel for AT&T, Bartholomew Huffman, and counsel for Comcast, John Seiver informed Lightspeed that their clients would no longer comply with court-ordered subpoenas. Angry criminal subscribers were threatening to cancel their subscriptions. A recent Illinois Supreme Court order necessitated the reissuance of the subpoenas in this matter.

    “The courts have a strong history of protecting the little guy against unlawful corporate practices. In the Ford Pinto case, for example, Ford made a business decision to pay legal damages instead of the $11 per car to make Ford Pinto gas tanks safe. Similarly, AT&T and Comcast have made a business decision to protect alleged criminals instead of severing lucrative contracts. AT&T and Comcast’s subscribers have threatened my client’s livelihood while continuing the unfettered hacking that is destroying his business–all under the protection of AT&T and Comcast,” said Paul Duffy, an attorney for the plaintiff.

    BREAKING: This morning the Honorable Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the efforts of AT&T and Comcast to avoid compliance with subscriber identification subpoenas issued by Prenda Law Inc., stating that the ISP’s legal arguments “have no merit.”

    Prenda Law Inc. is a leading intellectual property law firm in Chicago, Illinois and representing clients nationwide.

    SOURCE Prenda Law Inc.

    • This of course isn’t an objective news story. It’s a Press Release supplied AS IS by Prenda/Steele/Duffy, so take it with a grain of salt.

      Regarding the blurb about the Illinois Supreme Court: They vacated Judge LeChien’s previous orders where he refused to even allow the ISP’s MTQs without ruling on them (ie he didn’t accept the motions in the court to rule on them to be either granted or denied). To the best of my knowledge, the Supreme Court order DID NOT force the ISP’s to reissue subpoenas. In fact the Supreme Court granted the motion in favor of the ISP’s.

      Unless there is another Supreme Court order of which I’m not aware, then we can say that that specific part of the press release is total BS!

      • To clarify one of my statements above: “In fact the Supreme Court granted the motion in favor of the ISP’s”

        They didn’t grant the ISP’s motions to quash, they granted the ISP’s motion for a supervisory order on the matter, even in light of Troll Hoerner’s/Prenda’s objections on Lightspeed’s behalf. It essentially orders the St Clair County court to hear and rule on the ISPs’ motions to quash, which was denied from the outset.

        Of course there is no mention of this in the press release.

        If I’m incorrect on any of the points I’m bring up, PLEASE correct me!

    • Beryl Howell is something of a judicial hack. Read her biography and quail that someone so compromised sits as US District Judge in DC. Fortunately, she is increasingly an anomaly.

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