A disabled victim of a copyright troll threatens to kill himself
Words fail me. You know that I’m a rational person who thinks well before acting. Yet if at this moment any of Prenda’s criminals — John Steele, Paul Duffy, Joseph Perea, Mark Lutz or any of their “local
counsels gangsters” — were nearby, I honestly don’t know if I would be able to restrain myself. Read the story below and you’ll perfectly understand why.
If you are an attorney and willing to defend this guy pro bono or on a contingency basis, reply to him on Slashdot or leave a message here. And please share this story widely.
Copyright trolls are murderers and must be stopped. The first blood would create a tsunami of public outrage and bury the trolls, but isn’t this price too high? Will we wait to react until this Doe kills himself because of Prenda’s threats and a complete failure of the system to hold Prenda accountable?
Update 8/4/2012: Thank you all for the overwhelming support! I’m happy that the author is among us and not desperate anymore. Read his comment below. Yet what is going on in this country is not OK. There will be no more “business as usual”: we will make sure that the ground is burning under the trolls’ (and their enablers’) feet. The crooks must be stopped unless it is too late. Please don’t be passive.
Let me say this before I tell my story: I live on a fixed income of SSI and SS for schizoid personality disorder, agoraphobia and so on. I also am not guilty of anything and have never been in trouble in my entire life. I am 28 years old. I am also very afraid. I also apologize beforehand for all the upcoming text.
I recently received a letter from Prenda Law stating they subpoena’d my ISP (new wave cable) and included my IP and the supposed porn video I downloaded in the letter. I assumed they’re liars and just pulled my IP from a torrent swarm or out of their ass. Either way, they phrased it as “Illegal Pornography” which made my mother assume the worse when I showed it to her and tried to explain what was going on. She didn’t understand that “illegal” meant copyright infringement and not weird bsdm porn (she’s old, she doesn’t know what that is and that it’s not illegal) or worse, CP. They’re demanding $3800 “to make it go away”. (By the way, I don’t live in my mothers basement, I have my own apartment). They were even nice enough to include a paper to put down my credit card information.
They also threatened to use local law enforcement to seize all of my PC equipment. The day that happens is the day I get my own slashdot article because I’ll be damned if they take about the only thing I get enjoyment from. From what I looked up though they have never been able to pull this off and it would cost them more to do that then what they want for the supposed infringement.
They just want to scare and embarrass people into paying. I refuse to be shamed — However I do not want to go to court either so I contacted lawyers…and this is where the rest of this little story goes into.
I went to the EFF site and grabbed a list of lawyers from there, contacting 3 that were within my area — 2 in IL and one in MO where I live. The first one I contacted was from torrentlitigation.com. After explaining my situation he said my IP equaled guilt and paying him $500 he could settle with Prenda Law and get it down to around $2000. I told “Adam” No.
I am not guilty and never admitted guilt, nor would I ever admit anything. I refuse to pay a lawyer who assumes I am guilty and wishes to just settle. Prenda has continued to call my phone on a daily basis and leave voice mails over and over, sometimes 3 times in a row. By the time I got their first letter I only had a few days to respond before they threatened to get logs from my ISP and take me to court. It is now past that date.
I contacted the BBB after being suspicious after “Adam” told me I was guilty and he could settle with them for the small, small fee of 500 dollars to him which could be paid with paypal or credit card. They told me to contact the FCC. I did. They laughed and told me to ignore it and to contact the FTC. I did. They laughed told me to ignore it. They also all told me to not ever answer the phone for them or contact them in any way as not to incriminate myself — something I already knew anyways.
I contacted the Missouri Attorney General. Laughter. Told me to ignore Prenda Law like the others. Everyone said they know about what is going on, but a lot of Judges have no idea about this type of scam. Prenda Law goes from state to state — once they get ran off/found out in one, they start in others.
I live on a fixed income of social security so if I was summoned to come to court I likely wouldn’t even have the money to make it to defend myself and the judge would issue a default settlement. It was heavily implied by the FCC and AG that some of these lawyers could be in on this (tinfoil hat time) or are just too lazy to fight for you in court.
I still don’t find it funny. I am not laughing. I feel like I am being harassed and singled out. I do not like being threatened. I receive SS and SSI for schizoid personality disorder, among other things. I get barely over $700 a month to live on. The only thing I have worth anything is my PC, and recently, a S&W .38 revolver. Obviously not to harm anyone but I will defend my property.
If worse comes to worse I would kill myself just so there would be a slim chance my story with Prenda Law would be heard on the news/internet and more light would be shed onto this scam and others would not have to go through what I am going through. Since I have no money to fight the only way to get my voice heard would be with a gunshot against my head. It sounds extreme but I do not know what else to do but wait and see if Prenda Law just ignores me since I ignored them and they just drop it once they realize I literally have no money. If they happen to try to seize the only thing I have in my life that brings me what little joy I do have I will not allow that. I contacted another lawyer in MO I found on the EFF site and told him what kind of hell they’re putting me through. I told him the above. I thought it was going to be confidential.
The police showed up at my door a day later. I thought my equipment was about to be seized. I almost painted the walls red with my brains until I realized it was just one cop and he was only checking up on me.
Since this has began I have been unable to sleep, I’ve stopped taking my medication and I really want to check myself into the Hospital for help. I am afraid if I do that though I won’t be home to defend myself from these attacks on my character. Prenda Law is preventing me from getting the help I require.
I have no idea what to do, everyone says to ignore it, it’s a scam and so on. I realize this but it still torments me. I am a paranoid person to begin with. Prenda Law is making my life hell.
I hope someone who has the money to fight takes them to the cleaners and stops these frivolous lawsuits against innocent people.
Please, mod this up so others know what kind of hell they’re putting people like me through.
Thank you for reading.
David Kerr points to the importance of Section 207 of the Social Security Act. In short, SSDI cannot be garnished or taken under any circumstances (there are exceptions but they deal only with government agencies or child support). Even if a person found liable (which is no more probable than a discovery of a soul in John Steele, i.e. 0.00001%), he is untouchable.
1. Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407) protects Social Security benefits from assignment, levy, or garnishment. However, the law provides five exceptions:
- Section 459 of the Act (42 U.S.C. 659) allows Social Security benefits to be garnished to enforce child support and/or alimony obligations;
- Section 6334 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6334 (c)) allows benefits to be levied to collect unpaid Federal taxes;
- Section 3402 (P) of the Internal Revenue Code allows beneficiaries to elect to have a percentage of their benefits withheld and paid to the Internal Revenue Service to satisfy their Federal income tax liability for the current year;
- The Debt Collection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134) allows benefits to be withheld and paid to another Federal agency to pay a non-tax debt the beneficiary owes to that agency: and
- The Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to collect overdue federal tax debts of beneficiaries by levying up to 15 percent of each monthly payment until the debt is paid.
Also, regarding “They also threatened to use local law enforcement to seize all of my PC equipment.” — this is simply impossible: crooks don’t have this kind of power.
60 responses to ‘A disabled victim of a copyright troll threatens to kill himself’
Wow. Just, wow. I’ll help him.
No words to describe. Wish I could transform myself into an attorney at law to help. Hang in there Anon Coward…
If this was a fairy tale, Prenda would take some responsibility here and ask the judge for a stay so as to sort this out but it is not.
AC, Prenda has never tried to seize a computer and it would be nearly impossible for them to do so absent a court order which would only occur after a full court hearing in which your appearance would be required. You know that it is time to check yourself in, do it now. We are all here to watch your back and help as best we can.
WOW!!!!! Not something I expected to read. If you are reading this sir, please don’t let them force you to that end.
OK……… enough is enough. This s*** needs to end. We all want this crap to go away, but not this way. I’m sure Prenda is laughing at this, but none of us are. This has gone on far too long and now the s*** has really hit the fan. This is where everyone stands up and fights… not only for this guy, but everyone else. Prenda has finally pushed the wrong person. This was bound to happen. This needs to get to the bar associations and judges all around, and enlighten them on the situation that this “business model” has gone to! Enough Is Enough!!!
Again, if you are reading this sir, please hold on. You have many friends across the country.
Dear SSI Doe,
I am neither an attorney nor a mental health professional. So this is neither legal nor medical advice. This only for discussion, out of concern for your situation.
The first, BEST response to the trolls is to provide for your health and well being. If there is upset to the point of considering suicide, get help immediately.
Any plan for suicide attempt, even as a back-up, is a serious medical issue that a health care provider will attend to. The issue is even more serious when a weapon or instrument of harm is within easy reach.
Arrange things so there is less danger if there is upset. Please find a way to put the weapon out of your access, and get medical help promptly. The data about suicide attempts is that many are done in a moment of impulse. People feel differently (and better) after getting through these moments.
If you have prescription medication, there was a medical provider who was helping. That person, or another of your health care providers is one place to start. Get help for yourself right away.
Getting the medical help you need would probably make things harder for the trolls. Trolls would not like to have the bad PR of picking on the disabled. Keeping your health will help you and us work to end the garbage extortion by the trolls.
The inquiries you made to the BBB, federal and state agencies show a fine initiative. You’ve also gotten a lot of understanding quickly about this situation. Use this initiative to care for yourself in the short term. Later these efforts can be use to keep the trolls away from you and other decent citizens. Starting with restoring composure after the upset makes the trolls unhappy. Upset is the trolls’ main tool.
I have been an innocent Doe who was also in extreme despair from the trolling situation. I got through it and got much better. So will you. Your friends include fellow Does who read these forums and get information on relief from trolls. I’ll comment with more information for reassurance soon. Time will give a better perspective. Start with getting professional medical help, and help from others.
AC please reach out, there is help waiting for you.
There are lawyers ready to keep Prenda at bay, so you have time to get the help you know you need. What they have done to you is horrific, but this is how they operate.
We want to make sure your okay, and the story of the hell they put you through will spread.
This is not the first time I have encountered a Doe feeling this way, and it tears me up inside because I know for the few I speak to… how many are suffering silently? How many people feel isolated and afraid because of the lies trolls tell? How many do something irrevocable in their desperation, and no one speaks up about why because the trolls rely on people being shamed.
Maybe its time we shame them, and get the law to protect people from predators like this.
Say, Sorry Morry – still think 90% of all Does are guilty? Still like to support Prenda, Stone and Perea? Keep it up, and soon you’ll all have blood on your hands.
This harm due to copyright trolling has happen before, and will happen again, until the courts stop the troll scams.
If there was good information to show error and harm was rare, the trolls would have produced it long ago. After all, they’re making millions. Anything that supports their cases would make them more millions.
But it’s a large not a small number of false allegations. And even if were a small number, is great harm worth the minimal assist to exclusiveness of porn distribution? Would anyone seriously arguing that appearing to make porn slightly more profitable is worth poverty, illness and death for a few, let alone many?
I’m just beyond words, but not quite!
Angered to action–but knowing that the fall is already imminent!
In the darkest moments we find our greatest strength! It is already there within you!
I’m deeply saddened to hear of your personal struggles and quest for health. Your strength and courage are an encouragement to us all My grandmother suffered from similar issues, though we did not have names and diagnosis in those days. I sat with her in both lucid and delusional states though my love never wavered. You will find that same humanity here! We are all in a place to share the various stages with you and like and AA group provide support and group help to “get through this.”
Hang in there. You are fortunate enough now that the tables are turning. You have availed yourself of the resources that you know are available, but I’m more than certain there are additional avenues to pursue. Now is the time to turn your despair into rage and that rage into the power that fuels you bring this nonsense to an end. Each voice has the ability to echo in the canyons and bring this flimsy house of cards down.
Having been involved for some time now I’ve been monitoring these situations and with the technical certifications and other inside knowledge I can tell you with certainty that their “walls of Jericho” are soon to fall. The arch is finishing its fifth circle
Hello, I am the AC from the article. I really appreciate the support. I just sent another email to this site but I will post it here as well. Thank you for the kind words. This has been really hard for me. The reason I decided to tell my story was to get it out there so others would know what they are putting people like me through. I know I am not the only one. Here is the email I sent, and again I apologize for all the text.
“I checked the site, thank you for letting my story be known. The update has really eased my mind. I wasn’t sure if they could garnish what little money I have but now I know they can’t nor can they take my PC equipment. I just wish to be left alone by them as I’m sure the 200,000 other people do as well.
I hope others who have similar problems/disabilities as me will read the site and not go to the extreme measures I went/was going to use to protect what little I have. In my mind it’s like someone has waged war on me and my family. I cannot help that. Again, I never had or have thoughts of hurting any other person. As I mentioned the only thing that came to mind for a poor person like myself was to make a statement people might pay attention to even if that statement would of been the most extreme, suicide. Others might assume when reading that it was a cry for help – however that is just my thought process.
Typically my medication helps but as I mentioned I stopped taking it because I wanted a “clear head” as it were when dealing with Prenda Law. It is hard for me to deal with things I do not understand especially when I feel threatened. It is hard for me to put into words how my mind works with the disabilities I have – I am not a stupid person as you can clearly see (I hope) but I cannot control my thought process without my doctor and proper medication. Things that are extreme such as suicide seem as mundane as writing a letter for me when my medication is not in check or if I am put under tons of stress such as Prenda Law has caused for me.
When I first tried to get help and was assumed guilty by a lawyer that I thought would help me I was devastated when I was told to settle. Between that and my family assuming I was guilty of something deemed immoral by the masses that I actually didn’t do and the letter they sent being worded in a way that made me look as bad as possible I was at a complete loss and entirely embarrassed. Before reading what Mr. Kerr wrote on the site every time I was forced into leaving my house for groceries or something I would pray someone would kill me to get it over with. This is how much stress they have caused me and that just piles on top of the mental disabilities I have that have been left unchecked due to Prenda Law.
I constantly check sites like the EFF and slashdot and when I saw the article they had up I decided it was time to let people know, sadly no one bothered to mod it up, but TAC read it and replied and helped me get into contact with the people at FCT. I might be able to get a good nights sleep for once in a long while. The damage is already done with what they have already implied in the letter, and if they take it to court my real name will be out there and I have no way to defend myself like I mentioned before. These are the kind of thoughts that keep me up at night. Besides trying to take care of myself, I have a elderly mother who also needs my help. It just gets harder and harder for me.
I am currently in the process of moving now and getting all mail to a PO box as well as a new phone number. It’s hard enough to try to have a normal life as it is without Prenda Law harassing me.
I will endure though, they will never get a cent from me and I will not give them the satisfaction of taking my own life. I am sure that would just turn them on and they would laugh about it with their rich immoral friends in houses paid for with dirty money. If they do happen to get a default settlement well, good luck getting the money.
I just wish there was a way to make them pay for the medical bills I am going to rack up in the upcoming months because of all of this. I was doing well with the help of my doctor and medication but something seemingly simple like this can send someone like me into a downward spiral. People who do not know how things affect a person like me might not realize it does not take much of a nudge to ruin my life in my mind. It seems that way to me and it’s very real.
Thanks to you and David Kerr I am feeling much more in control and I feel like I am not alone in this anymore.
Thank you both very much, you have really helped me.
If I get any new information/threats I will be sure to let you know.
Thank you for your time.”
Also, thank you guys for the comments. I really needed the support.
–Another Anonymous Coward
No worries, we will always be there for you. Fuck those trolls (it is remarkably easy).
If it would help to have a simple statement for family members, let us know. We can either send some links, or write something about the troll extortion racket, and how serious legal allegations are tossed around when the plaintiffs know full well that many are innocent. And how ruthless lawyers and associates try to open loopholes while pretending to support artists.
Hopefully, family members will be more understanding in the future.
Just remember we are here if you need us, even if its just to hear someone reminding you this to shall pass. There are lawyers willing to help you and make Prenda sad they ever crossed your path.
Get some needed rest, your not alone any more. We are here and ready to help, stay strong.
This is all amazing to me right now, a few days ago I directly challenged Steele on another blog and pointed out he was a bully and terrified of us. I saw an article on /. talking about copyright trolling, its an issue near and dear to me – trying to keep people educated and dispell the fear they face. I found your post and the rest as they say, is history.
I wish you had found FCT sooner, but I am very happy that you are here now. No one should have to go through what you did, and I hope all of them find their way here and find the support we offer.
You have options! Your local bar association has some resources, but your local law schools will have even more. Many schools run pro bono clinics that handle just this type of thing and they can consult with you over email to educate you on your options. Check out some of the following:
Hey, I’d love to be in touch with you for a story I’m working on. I can be reached at email@example.com
Chill out dude! God Loves you.. Dont do anything Rash or Crazy – they cant get blood from a stone and it isnt worth their time to either.. Just scare tactics.. So Chill out quit worring and forgetaboutit!
I really hope the fellow who wrote that checks this website because he needs to see there are a ton of people going through the same thing. My wife and I owe over 5 grand in hospital bills, I work 70 hrs a week at two part time jobs and just barely scrap by. Also, I’m about two weeks from going back to school and taking out 30k worth of student loans and then I get an extortion letter from a troll. There is no way I can afford to pay 2000 to some troll lawyer for a movie I’ve never seen. Yes, it’s hard to do nothing but really until you actually get named, doing nothing is the best option. I’ve spoke to two lawyers in my particular case and both told me to do nothing unless I get named and served. So hang in there dude, no low life troll lawyer is worth your life.
FYI, I witness a huge traffic from Reddit (which caused my absolute page-hit record in a day), cross-posted in a few subreddits, some have discussions going on:
Well sooner or later someone is gonna pull his or her plug and the trolls will all be so terribly sympathetic. Hell they may even shed a fake tear or two to make things look legit on camera. But the nation will be awakened to this epidemic and it would indeed be shut down, as well as a few disbarrings for sure. Hell, there might even be some paybacks.
I read some of the comments over on Reddit and it is painfully obvious many of them don’t seem to understand.
This was not a simple Cease and Desist Letter, this was a letter filled with lies claiming you stole a porn and even if you didn’t you still owe them money.
There were threats about coming and seizing computers to find the proof, which is really hard to do without court orders or a case actually against the Doe.
The point out it is impossible to fight them, they are never wrong, and instead of having to pay the $150,000 they will get from you in court – and avoid having your name next to a porn title on all google searches… just pay us a few thousand dollars. Its cheaper than getting a lawyer, why fight everyone will know you did it.
No court reviews the letters the trolls send out, if they did they would be horrified. There is always a little caveat in the letter to cover the trolls ass, “this is what we think, you should talk to a lawyer working for you”… but many people when faced with a lawyer expect them to know the law and not be deceitful and that little note is after they have pointed out how expensive and wasteful getting your own lawyer would be.
Spend any amount of time here looking into Pretenda (sorry I can’t help it, they are a pretend lawfirm) and its history of multiple names shows a trail of screwed up cases. Outright lies, ethics violations, sheer stupidity and questionable intelligence coming from them. This is a numbers game, get as many names as you can as fast as you can and start scaring the wallets open. If they hire a lawyer, dismiss them and move on. When you make it to the bottom of the list, go back to the top and ratchet up and fearmongering in the letters and calls, nudge those few who resisted over the edge to pay up.
EFF can’t be bothered half the time, and the list of lawyers offering help on their website – isn’t reviewed by the EFF. The Randazza Group was and is still listed for help in copyright cases, but now it says Righthaven cases only. So you get a letter from Marc Randazza of the Randazza Group alleging you stole porn… you look for help and hes on the list of “good guys”?! You call a listed lawyer for help who assumes you have to be guilty because the IP pointed to you, he says pay me X and I’ll get $1500 off the settlement. His website is full of BS about these cases, but the EFF has their seal of approval on his name.
People who are innocent try to call the trolls to say I didn’t do this, and the troll gets them to say who might have done it and then claim well you knew so you helped you owe us money and so does the person you think might have done it.
FightCopyrightTrolls, DieTrollDie, and a handful of other places are the only places you can find any help. There is this huge system to protect the lawyers, but when a citizen needs help they get told to just ignore it. Its time to stop pretending we can ignore the trolls until they go away, looking the other way as the tear into peoples lives and make the miserable chasing cash.
300,000 Does. With only a 10% settlement rate at $3000 is $105 million.
This is a cash grab abusing the legal system, and it needs to be stopped.
I agree with the sentiments you’ve expressed well. Coincidentally, I used the exact same dollar figures in drafting a comment several weeks ago. Sadly, because we use sober cautious data rather than the troll deceptive lying lies, the figure probably runs higher.
IMHO the EFF deserves some slack. Yes, I wish their copyright troll pages and referral lists were better. Last year, there were lawyer names on the list from the RIAA dispute days, whose current practice has changed greatly. And yes, I wish they did more to curb trolling.
I have no special insight (or connection), but the EFF has a lot on its plate, protecting privacy and liberty in the internet age. They deal with lawmakers who have no background to make thoughtful decisions. Their work is upstream against greedy powerful commercial interests that dwarf the trolls, so to speak.
My (admitted) guess is that the EFF is worried about the trolling issue deflecting them from other work.They have a handful of lawyers, not enough to be responsive to thousands of Doe issues. While they may have reservations about the Mickey Mousing of intellectual works thwarting the public good, they have to work with current regulations. The EFF just successfully worked to stop passage of the “Cybersecurity Act”, which was more like the “anti-liberty bashing of privacy” act.
The EFF is rare and valued group these days, working for the general public on frontier issues where new understanding is needed.
The EFF are nice people, they do important work, and I have a grudge against them.
While they had time to file briefs in USCG cases, and Str8 porn cases they never had time for any of the gay porn cases. They helped take down Evan Stone after a Judge called them and Public Citizen in… and he didn’t have any active gay porn cases on the docket. The tugboat was allowed to float for months, allowing Randazza to extort more money until he was dumb enough to file a named case using it. Maybe opposing him during Righthaven would have been a bad move for them… it sucked for his targets.
How many briefs has EFF filed with the courts pointing out that the copyright registrations used in many of these cases are nonexistent and that courts should validate them before allowing discovery?
SJD, DTD, and everyone else fighting these trolls has the standard disclaimer of IANAL (well except those that actually are lawyers), but we still manage to provide analysis of the merits of the various cases and demystify the legal terms. We tear apart the tech, the court used, the twisted logic… and we leave people to make their own decisions. We do not point them at a page of lawyers names and call it mission accomplished.
They do important work, but from my side of the aisle they seem to be turning a blind eye to outrageous behavior in copyright troll cases where gay porn is involved until it might create a ruling that would hurt other people in these cases involving str8 porn. Its bad enough being a 2nd class (at best) citizen in this country, getting 3rd rate help is more insulting.
I’m not dumb, I understand that ever appearing to support teh gays could and would be used by the people aligned against them to try and damage the work they do… but I’m pretty sure I heard some words… and liberty and justice for all…. not just for the socially acceptable.
Good for David Kerr for posting the bit about social security being protected from garnishment.
Greetings FCT & AAC:
I am an attorney in Illinois who is listed as a resource on the EFF’s website. I’m not listed as a resource on FCT, but I do read it regularly and I think that SJD has compiled amazing resources for John Does and BitTorrent defense attorneys alike. I’m unclear whether any attorney has yet stood up, but I would like to volunteer to represent AAC.
First, in contradiction to what you were told, your IP does not equal guilt. Fortunately, standards for proof in this country remain much higher than that imprecise proxy for a person. I do hope that someday Judge Brown’s ruling in the S.D.N.Y. will be imported to the federal courts in Illinois (https://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2012/05/16/the-domino-effect-trolls-are-not-welcome-in-the-southern-district-of-new-york-anymore/). However, as you know, they are likely to obtain your identity without intervention from your ISP before your name has been released. I have found that motions to quash are rarely successful when filed by a Doe.
I have personally struggled with whether the best option for Does is to settle or to take the “wait and see” approach. After speaking with dozens of Does over the past several months, I have realized that there is not one best approach for all Does. There is no magic bullet. You do have options but they are either costly or risky. The best choice for you depends on your personal tolerance for risk and for being named in a lawsuit.
Given that realization, I began offering a second option to clients. If you do not wish to settle, another option that I offer is to serve as a “shield” from all communications from the plaintiff’s firm and to monitor the docket for a flat fee of $425 (the same amount I charge to settle a case). As I said in my first paragraph, I would like to volunteer these services to you at either a reduced fee or on a pro bono basis. Whatever you choose is fine by me.
This “shield and monitor” option would not include filing motions or appearing in court on your behalf, however, it would prevent Prenda from contacting you directly. Once they know that I represent you, they cannot contact you without going through me. I will also monitor the docket to ensure that none of your rights are being foreclosed. I have found that a substantial percentage of my clients are innocent. This shield and monitor route is a good option for people who feel strongly about their innocence or people who simply feel that settling with copyright trolls leaves them with an unsavory taste. Given the unlikelihood of you being served, the plaintiff’s seizing your computer, or you being taken to a trial, this could be a good option for you. I think the only immediate danger you face is being harassed and this option would stop the harassment. It might also allow you to sleep easier at night knowing that someone represents you.
I would also try contacting Mark Lutz to see if he would be willing to dismiss your case given the extreme circumstances. To be sincere, I have found him to be more reasonable to deal with than most of the other plaintiffs’ firms.
Of course, anything I said in this post is not intended as legal advice. My apologies for being redundant if another EFF attorney has already stepped up to represent you.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call me at 847-207-9064. I have some more info on my website: http://www.firmequity.com/copyright
Hope you are feeling better.
The last post was heart warming. It is good to see other lawyers like a friend of mine that do have a heart. In fact, if you were willing to take them on, considering the only thing you would have to lose is your name in the public, but your family already knows so what does it matter if the general public, who you don’t know, has your name. Further it could be the ultimate win-win. Exposure comes to these cases, if a counter-claim is filed the lawyer could be recouped for his expenses, and like we have already seen you would be dismissed and excused with legal recognition, not to mention it is another nail in the coffin of these frivolous cases.
Currently, my case was dismissed WITH prejudice so I’m just waiting for the next call and will unload with both barrels looking for just recourse. I’ve already selected my legal representation so if that time comes the trolls better be ready for another fight on their hands. I have never stood for bullying and will not change course now.
Trolls beware, the tides have turned!
While this case has every element that makes these cases travesties there are a couple issues…
– I am still unsure what phase this trolling case is in.
Are we on the initial first wave of discovery?
Is this a name from one of the cases Prenda abandoned WITH prejudice?
It appears that AAC might have been robo called, and with Prenda that can put you at any step in their system. (Even they don’t know as they call Does with lawyers and people dismissed with prejudice, and I am willing to bet someone who settled got a threat call too.)
– This might be a battle AAC does not want to engage in.
It sounds like AAC just wants to be left alone, not become the public face of a campaign against Prenda. AAC’s health and well being trumps any other consideration. Do any of us have any illusions that if Prenda figured out who AAC was, they would for a second consider not doing everything they could to make AAC more miserable?
Even without a public face for it, this case highlights what most of us have known for a long time. They lie, cheat, steal to “win”. 300,000 (ish) Does targeted in the country and this is the 1st time we’ve hit on these topics… something statistically wrong with that.
I will trust in SJD and the lawyers who have stepped up to help to find out where AAC is in the case. This case touched a nerve with so many of us, this is not something that will get set aside until there is a final ruling in the case and it is closed. And even then we will want to hear from AAC, to make sure things are better and Prenda hasn’t risen form the grave again.
It is one thing to see the occasional Thanks posted on the various cases, knowing someone has educated themselves and are no longer afraid. It is another to have a case refocus all of us and move us to quick action.
Funny legal system we have now. “I think you did something and so I am going to put the hurt on you if you do not pay this amount of money. If you don’t pay this amount of money then you are going to have to retain a lawyer to protect you from us”. Sort of an interesting twist to the old mafia “business insurance” shakedowns that was a very repugnant part of American history. But the mafia goes to law school now. So any dumbfuck criminal lawyer out there can come up with a list of numbers and start the cash call game. Want a fancy boat???, then go make yourself a list of numbers.
Some mobsters are dumb and they understand the extortion racket backwards. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/anthony-dinunzio-reputed-_n_1454198.html
Some discard sledgehammers and bombs as tools of extortion in favor of copyright trolls. (Scroll down a little) http://www.lukeford.net/archives/updates/030509.htm
Again, thanks for the support. Even though some other sites have posts that seem to be against me or making fun of me which is typical of the internet I am not bothered by that. Everyone has a right to a opinion. I am just glad there are discussions going on for good or for ill.
I am still receiving letters from Prenda Law, the last stating I did not contact them and they are urging me to lawyer up or contact them myself, or they will do whatever. All of you know the rest and how their letters go.
I changed my phone number as to avoid the calls as well.
As for my family – I pointed them here. They understand now and even commented on how nice everyone was here in the comments section. That has really eased my mind. I am glad there are places to explain to people who are not tech savvy or understanding of what a copyright troll is.
So far, I have not contacted another lawyer. If the need arises and I’m actually summoned to court I believe I will use the same lawyer who fought for my disability. He already knows my case and isn’t just some generic lawyer with no tech experience.
If it comes down to that my name will be published and I suppose there will be a face for those who are disabled who are being threatened. I really dread that. If it helps my case and others though so be it. I do not like attention hence the anonymous post but if Prenda Law drives me to that point I will make it my life’s goal to make sure they won’t put anyone else through what I’ve been going through.
I will email this site with whatever info and docs I am allowed to give out and keep everyone posted if it comes to that.
Here’s hoping they just leave me alone. They’re poking a bear with a stick and that never ends up well.
I’ve spent the last time since my post on slashdot reading and saving articles all about Prenda Law and their “employees”. I intend to save all of that and court documents where cases were dismissed so my lawyer won’t have to do a lot of leg work.
I hope the rest of the Does cases get dropped or turn out in their favor. I really thank you guys and this site particularly for all the help and confidence you have gave me.
Thank you all again
– Another Anonymous Coward
I hope that I speak for SJD, TAC and DTD that we are so thankful you found our small community (regrettably growing larger as greed does feed upon itself and more victims arrive here). Those of us who have stuck around after their troll suit was dismissed have done so for one reason, anger. Hopefully you can help us in the future once this bullshit hassle is behind you. In the meantime, we are always here. BTW-some serious shit is going on behind the scenes with Prenda. Just relax and watch.
I told you I was just a voice on the ‘net, aren’t you glad you took a chance on my words? I know I am thankful I was able to find your post and rally the troops quickly. You sound in much better spirits, and this is a very good thing. I am hoping you are getting back on track and that Prenda becomes a faint memory soon.
Hello Family of AAC *waves hello*,
I’m the guy on the internet the news warned you about. Sadly they left off that I really am a nice guy (well except to trolls). The news doesn’t talk about these cases much, but the truth of the matter is… it is extortion being done with a law degree. They hope that fear and/or shame will make people pay them silly amounts of money, guilty or not. They do not care who is guilty, they just want a paycheck. They are about 1 step up from the people who send emails looking for help to move millions of dollars from other countries and just need your bank details or you to send some fee money to make it happen. They prey on people and are parasites, and we try to give people the best possible defense… information. If you know it is a scam, and they will say anything to make a buck their words are much less scary.
I’d like to repeat the sentiments expressed by both Raul and TAC and also encourage you to stick around once the harassment stops and your case is off the docket. You’ll learn a lot by sticking around, I know I did, and it wasn’t by choice. It was by necessity. Then, after my dismissal, I stuck around because still I’m pissed as hell that they (and by they I mean trolls, but namely Prenda) are still getting away with this crap, but to also contribute my experience and knowledge gained to those both new to the community and those who helped me when I had no idea what the hell was going on. You’re way ahead of the curve at your point in this whole scheme.
Fortunately for those today, sans the state court cases which are becoming more prevalent (i.e. Guava and Lightspeed), judges at the federal are very well aware of what is going on. I wasn’t as fortunate as the judge in my case rubber stamped everything Steele filed, took it as gospel and this was after Judge Milton Shadur ripped into him and called him a liar in open court. I can almost promise you that if Duffy knew who he was screwing with, he’d cut bait IMMEDIATELY which is another good reason to just stay under their radar. If they name you as a defendant and the details come out, it makes them look even worse…which is bad already so just think. They got caught suing a senior center down in Florida, a blind guy, a woman in her 80s (Steele bailed on that FAST), multiple dead people, and the list goes on.
The day that every single person who is on the wrong end of this racket says “fuck you, you’re not gonna get a single cent” to these asshats is the day they go out of business. The more informed the judiciary, the fewer of these cases will make it to discovery. The more informed the public, the fewer of those victimized will settle by ponying over blood money. Steele just wanted his pay day, then his name got so toxic that he had to cut bait and find a fall guy…Paul Duffy. Now that Duffy’s at the helm and the shit’s gonna hit the fan at Prenda, Duffy’s ass is on the line, Perea is being investigated by the Florida Bar, it’s one big clusterfuck over at Prenda and it’s about to get really really bad. Save the letters, record the voicemails. Prenda may be poking a bear, but don’t show your hand unless you have to and you’re smart enough not to do that unless it comes to that. Most importantly, stay positive but you’re already making the best out of a shitty situation so I commend you.
If you go to wefightpiracy.com (using a proxy service like hidemyass.com) and look at Paul Duffy’s profile, you’ll shit a brick. I’ve found omissions, giant exaggerations, and outright lies. Then I came across this gem:
Mr. Duffy provides pro bono services to three local organizations: the Heartland Alliance, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, and the Center for Elder and Disability Law.”
I cannot find a record of him doing anything on behalf of either of those three organizations and I looked at one organization’s annual reports as far back as 2008. Maybe he did the work? Chances are he didn’t and this is 100% bullshit but I might write the Center for Elder and Disability Law, inquiring as to Duffy’s status with them and if he has no association, then inform them that he’s stating the contrary. If he does, tell them that it’s a proven fact that he’s filed lawsuits against both senior citizens and the disabled…and disabled senior citizens. His firm sued a retirement community for God’s sake.
The rest of the site will make you wanna vomit. The “About Us” section…oh God. “Because of the talent, experience, energy, and commitment of these attorneys, we are one of the leading intellectual property firms in the United States.” Talent and experience? They employ washed up lawyers who need cash ASAP and don’t know that they’re throwing themselves on a grenade. Experience? How the hell is Perea experienced? He just passed the bar exam. I call bullshit on this entire website. It’s a complete and utter farce and should be publicized as such.
The last letter I received was from Paul Duffy. It didn’t amount to anything other than “You missed your date to pay us. Either contact us or a lawyer immediately.”.
So, I contacted Mr. Mills in the above comments yesterday. Or Billy as he refers to himself in email although I do feel kinda silly calling a lawyer by his first name. However he is a very nice man and I am going to use him as a shield unless Prenda Law really tries to stick it to me. Then I will sell everything I own to prove my innocence and make sure Prenda Law gets not a cent from me.
We discussed tying my real name to my anonymous post here, put a face to the story.. – something I do not wish to do as of now for reason I will explain later after talking more to Mr. Mills. I didn’t post to gain sympathy for my disabilities – I just wanted the story to be heard. I didn’t know my slashdot post was going to go as far as it did. I didn’t even know someone from here was even going to read it. I just wanted my story to be known, hence the anonymous coward status. I do not want the community here to think I am using my status as a disabled person to gain anything, that is why I am still posting anonymously. I want to keep credibility with the community here who has helped me so much.
I read posts elsewhere, some positive, some negative. It’s to be expected. I respect everyone’s opinions even if they do not match mine.
The only thing I can say as of now is I’m gathering what little money I have because I expect no one to work for free. I am not a leech. I am scanning all of my documents from Prenda Law and also scanning the pages I received from court concerning my mental health and so on in case that is needed.
If it comes down to it I will tie my real name with my post(s) if it helps others. I know there are thousands upon thousands of people in the same situation and I would like to help as much as I can.
In the meantime I am consulting with Mr. Mills about our options and until then I don’t think I should say anymore regarding my case status. The only thing I will say is I am not guilty, I will never admit to guilt and I will never take the fall for something I didn’t do.
Thank you all for the help and advice I have received here and hopefully soon I will be able to post as something other as Another Anonymous Coward.
As a side note – I am feeling much better and have begin my medical treatment again. If it wasn’t for being contacted about my post on slashdot and pointed here Prenda Law would of had blood on it’s hands for good or for ill, so thank all of you. Oh, and I do plan on sticking around. I want to help others as much as others have helped me. I don’t think my status as “Pissed off” will ever go away. I am in this for the long haul. I want to help others.
Sorry for the long post again.
The pay up or else is SOP for trolls. Got phone calls yet? You will, be ready.
As far as going the route of retaining counsel, I didn’t but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Each person’s situation is unique. If you retain counsel and they still contact you personally, ethics violation(s). You plan on liquidating all of your assets in order to defend yourself from Prenda? I would strongly advise against that unless you NEED TO. I would strongly advise against anyone doing that. Odds are they’ll fuck with you, fuck with you some more, then bail on the case. If that’s not how it work out, I still strongly advise against you dumping everything you own in order to make a case against them. In my opinion, by getting you to go all in, then they see it as a win. If they come after you, let’s address that issue if it happens. I use the word “if” because statistically speaking, you’ve got a better chance of being hit by falling airplane parts than being named as a defendant by Prenda.
Dropping your real name is a different story. I didn’t do it for personal and professional reasons. In your case, I believe that by simply releasing your name and stating that you are a Doe in one of Duffy’s suits, he’ll dismiss you without hesitation. This racket already has a bad light painted on it after suing, of all people those who are legally dead not to mention senior citizens and the disabled. For some reason, Duffy still thinks Prenda equals excellence and that it actually has a reputation, a good one…the guy has something wrong with him, see the John Steele and Prenda Law page on here for details on the latest Prenda expose (*hint*Duffy’s lies*hint*). I don’t believe you’ll ever need a single document issued by the court regarding your health. If you do, it’ll make Duffy look even worse.
I, for one, do not believe you’re exploiting your status for anything. You are who you are and while you could be playing the pity card right now using your real name and you’d be dismissed, you haven’t. You have my respect, moreso than any of those who’ve bent over for these assholes or, like in the Guava case, like the defendant who instead of taking it on the chin and fighting it, decided to sell out 10,000 people in a very very sleazy “agreement” in exchange for God knows what.
I believe I speak for everyone here (and if I don’t, I’d be surprised) in that I, or we sincerely commend you for standing up for your innocence and for what you believe in and you’re willing to take a shot in the name of tens of thousands of unnamed, frightened people who have been systematically singled out for extortion by an attorney who is, in my opinion a, a sociopath. Duffy, much like Steele, has ZERO regard for the wellness of others and the ramifications of his actions, except on his bank account…which is quite large but we’ll get to that later. He has, however, managed to make it through school and maintained both professional and personal relationships, yet lies without hesitation, as though he believes all of it, which further leads me to believe that he is a sociopath.
For the record, I’ve been posting as Anonymous for…a long ass time. Now it’s because I’m too lazy to adopt a nickname but for the first several months it was out of fear so again, you’re way ahead of me. That being said I’m taking suggestions for nicknames and those of you who know me know, you how to get ahold of me 😛
I’m happy to hear that you’re feeling better and extremely happy that this community and Slashdot has talked you down off the cliff. Please do stick around. We can always use another pissed off angry as hell victim of these trolls who refuses to bend over for them. Appropriately directed anger of course. Don’t apologize for the long post, it’s a long story. Anyway, you sound like you’re doing very well given the circumstances, let’s keep it that way.
I told you I was just a voice on the ‘net, aren’t you glad you took a chance on my words? I know I am thankful I was able to find your post and rally the troops quickly. You sound in much better spirits, and this is a very good thing. I am hoping you are getting back on track and that Prenda becomes a faint memory soon.”
I am very grateful for your help. I had no idea my post would even be read. I am glad you read it. In fact, I was completely surprised you found it at all since no one bothered to mod my post up. I thought slashdot would be the place to get my voice heard. I suppose I was wrong. I figured it would be buried and no one would read it but I thought it may reach at least one person. It did. Thank you for the help and bothering to read my post and post it here.
I never realized the post I made would reach so many, but thanks to you it did. Troops is the perfect word to use – everyone here seems ready for war against Prenda Law and I hope my post and upcoming battle will help in the long run as well as other Does battles. People like you should be commended for the help you provide others in situations like mine. I cannot express my gratitude enough.
AAC yet again, responding to the above comment.
Yeah, I was getting phone calls almost daily until I changed my number.
“You plan on liquidating all of your assets in order to defend yourself from Prenda? I would strongly advise against that unless you NEED TO. I would strongly advise against anyone doing that. Odds are they’ll fuck with you, fuck with you some more, then bail on the case. If that’s not how it work out, I still strongly advise against you dumping everything you own in order to make a case against them. In my opinion, by getting you to go all in, then they see it as a win. If they come after you, let’s address that issue if it happens. I use the word “if” because statistically speaking, you’ve got a better chance of being hit by falling airplane parts than being named as a defendant by Prenda.”
I understand what you mean and I fully understand they’ll likely bail on the case. However I am still contacting legal counsel for advice and likely using the lawyer I mentioned above as a shield. Like you said, I’d have a better chance of being hit by a plane than being named as a defendant. However. by dumping all my assets fighting them and if I won I think that would set a precedence for other Does to use in their defense. Like you said – I wouldn’t do it unless I needed to, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t if it came down to it. Not just for myself, either. I hope someday other lawyers can point to my case and help other does out. That’s the only reason I would do something like that. As mentioned in a post above – they can’t touch my assets since I draw social security.
“Dropping your real name is a different story. I didn’t do it for personal and professional reasons. In your case, I believe that by simply releasing your name and stating that you are a Doe in one of Duffy’s suits, he’ll dismiss you without hesitation. ”
The only thing stopping me currently from doing just that is I don’t want to play the sympathy card and receive a huge internet backlash against myself and likely, my family. I am waiting on a response from a lawyer before I put a big red target on my back. I am afraid if Prenda Law realizes who I am and what I wrote they will do everything in their power to make my life hell. On the other hand, I’d also like to make their “business” hell too. From what I’ve been told there is a slim chance Duffy wouldn’t dismiss it anyways, but it would be worth a shot. I am not sure if I am willing to take that shot as of now.
“I believe I speak for everyone here (and if I don’t, I’d be surprised) in that I, or we sincerely commend you for standing up for your innocence and for what you believe in and you’re willing to take a shot in the name of tens of thousands of unnamed, frightened people who have been systematically singled out for extortion by an attorney who is, in my opinion a, a sociopath. ”
Thanks, I really appreciate the sentiment.
Frankly speaking, that’s the only reason I’d tie my name and make my case public is for the rest of the Does. That, and I want Prenda Law to pay. Not just me, but the other does they have sued and received money under false pretenses, hence why I mentioned dumping every asset I had into fighting them. I don’t know if it’s possible but I would really like to _counter sue_ as I am innocent and they continue to harass. I realize that is a real stretch but I want them to go away for good. I am not a lawyer, I do not know much about law. I do know eventually they’re gonna mess with the wrong person. It only takes a nudge.
It was in a thread on a topic, that as you might have figured out, that I hold important.
I never thought you were using your disability to gain sympathy and still do not feel that way. I was skim reading all of the responses to the post, and your post caught my eye. I think before I read your post I was working up some anger to the people who were blaming the victims of these scammers.
I’ve talked with, lets just call it lots, of people who are in your situation. I often have to talk them back from the edge of doing bad things depending on how “infected” by the trolls lies they are. For the sample of people I’ve talked to, the numbers for SJD, DTD, Raul, and the others are magnitudes larger. Once upon a time we had no place to send people to learn, now there is a small growing band of anti-troll sites – none of the ego of “my site is better than your site” just people using their skills where needed creating a complete picture.
Everyone of us fights the trolls in our own ways,
I am a roving fount of sarcasm with some skill recalling weird factoids and stories. I understand how these techniques are flawed, and take great joy in pointing out the emperor is naked.
You will do what your comfortable with, no one expects you to shed your anonymity and become the poster boy for these cases unless that is what you want. The trolls will get their comeuppance, its just taking a little bit of time. In the meantime we have your story to share with others who are feeling trapped and hopeless… that it isn’t the end of the world and there are people here to help.
Not to mention their pending (inevitable) demise in SDIL at the hands of Bart Huffman and John Seiver. Then, after Huffman and Seiver get their clients dismissed, hello sanctions against Paul Duffy and Steve Jones. Then there’s the Abrahams case, Perea’s “problems” (a mild underestimation) in Florida.
In non-Prenda news, there’s Marvin Cable’s exploits out in MA and Kotzker’s dochebaggery in Colorado which, if not for procedural issues, would have slammed the door on Kotzker’s junk a long time ago and Judge Brown over in EDNY basically flipping shit on him over in in EDNY.
Tables have turned 🙂
It is so nice to have good news to share.
AAC – I just thought I would post something to brighten your day…
Another Prenda case gets tossed out of court, their claims dismissed.
See it does get better 🙂
There should be places in your state to get legal aid based on income. I know that there are in mine. Legal aid groups and such. I believe that most law schools perform some services as well. I do not know if the services would be the same as an Attorney in the field would give, but it is certainly worth looking into.
I myself am in contact with Attorneys from a legal aid group in my state, I am also disabled (mine is physical). I do feel sort of bad for taking what is so far a small amount of time away from other cases that they might be working on. For instance, alot of the cases the group works are domestic abuse. But if my situation escalates I am comforted to know that they are there. They can also provide support services if I decide to fight pro-se.
You should not feel bad at all, you are availing yourself of a service that you need.
Considering how these cases often run, if you can handle robodialers and chain letters demanding money your golden.
Stay strong and never feel bad about standing up for yourself.
Just checking in to see how things are.
And then I checked in again… 😦
Sorry for the REALLY late reply but I just happened on to here again. I’m doing fine and my lawyer is excellent. He’s a really good guy and he’s helped me a lot. I haven’t been harassed by them since, probably since he’s acting as a buffer. Even so if the %1 chance they take me to court I will tie my name to my post and I will do what I can to cause them as much grief is possible. I would give anything if I could sue them back for what they put me through. I don’t even want money. I’d like it if they’d get jail time. I know that’s just wishful thinking though. Again, thanks for the support from all of you.
Well I am glad to hear that your doing much better.
The damage the trolls do to people is horrible and there seems to be no recourse for the Does on the horizon… YET.
Keep watching what is happening to Pretenda, it will warm your heart seeing them having to put money up to continue a case where the victim is more than likely to win.
See where time and space collide and companies are suing people when they didn’t and couldn’t hold the rights… and a smart lawyer is trying to have those copyrights voided.
Imagine what some Does might to via lawyers when it becomes clear the court was defrauded to provide their names, and they were harassed and embarrassed into settling a claim that never should have been brought.
It is taking time, but we are getting to that shiny day when the trolls are dead.
You are doing much better than when our paths crossed the first time, and that is the most important thing. It is a good reminder to everyone that nothing is ever as dark as it seems, and there are many people ready to help. They call us bad names, say we do horrible things… all because we help people. That should speak volumes about the nature of trolls.
I wish nothing but the best for you, and remember to keep us on your christmas card list. 😀
“Hey, I’d love to be in touch with you for a story I’m working on. I can be reached at email@example.com”
I don’t know if I replied to you or not, but I’d have to run it past Billy first to see if it would be okay. I have no objections to it though.
AAC – I hope you see this. I hope you read the front page and see Prenda/Steele/et. al going down in flames. I hope it brightens your day.
In the meantime, come share the popcorn… this is gonna be EPIC!
AAC – I hope you become aware of what happened to CA to Prenda.
I want to imagine you smiling knowing the beast is in its death throes and that you made it out okay.
Hello AAC, I hope the world is treating you better than it is treating Pretenda.
The Judge’s order is worth the read.
No idea if you pass this way anymore. I am hoping that things are going well for you.
I come to share another blast to Pretenda, I hope it makes your day a little brighter.
Can we get the last name of ‘Adam’ mentioned in the letter. Should probably smear this Adam guy a little bit.
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