In the beginning¹, it was “Steele Hansmeier”. The name “Steele” became poisonous as Johns’ disrepute spread around the country’s federal judicial districts. Exactly one year ago (on December 13, 2011) “Steele Hansmeier” was dissolved. A couple of months prior to that John Steele created “Prenda Law,” using his acquaintance Paul Duffy as a nominal, fake CEO: only his name, signature and occasional court appearances were required. Paul Hansmeier decided to retreat into a shadow of the scam and pull the strings from there. John Steele “officially” retired too, de facto remaining Prenda’s day-to-day executive. He likes do decline his active role in Prenda: in statements to the press and, occasionally, in the court. This denial is funny (to say the least), because there is a plenty of evidence to the contrary.
It took only a year before the majority of judges in the country started recognizing the name “Prenda,” frowning every time they hear it. What our fraudsters are supposed to do? Maybe simply changing the name will help?
I bet you know an amateurish-looking portal Wefightpiracy.com², whose few goals are simpler than its design: to spread FUD, to justify criminal activity with the help of poorly-articulated ideas lifted from multiple copyright maximalists, and to facilitate defamation.
This WordPress software-powered site is currently under a make-up by the same designers (or ones similarly “professional”). Because of trolls’ natural sloppiness, the work in progress has become available online and even cached by Google, so you can see yourself that nothing has really changed from the previous reincarnation. The title is the only notable change: our bandits are now called “Anti-Piracy Law Group” in an attempt to squeeze a couple of more dimes from the judicial system bastardized by them.
LLC registration details are here. By the way, while checking this new LLC, I noticed that Prenda Law’s status is “NOT GOOD STANDING” on the Illinois Secretary of State site. I found this fact interesting enough to ask a couple of questions in an additional post.
As a matter of fact, ransom letters signed by Duffy, are already being sent using this new name, and some were received by represented alleged filesharers. Maybe Steele does not even bother telling Duffy where documents with his signature are sent, maybe Duffy himself is emboldened by the lack of complaints from attorneys. Let him not worry: certain attorneys have been duly recording every violation of the Code of Professional Conduct, and simply waiting for the right moment.
My personal favorite part of the new site is “Bittorent Betty,” a Twitter account that, if becomes alive, promises tons of entertainment. “She” only tweeted four times, but it already made my day and charged the upcoming weekend with a good mood.
To finish on a cheerful note, less than a day after this article was posted, this site received an unusual but nice early Christmas gift (don’t hesitate to click, it’s clean!):
- TechDirt: Prenda Law Accused Of Trying To Start Over Again Under A New Name by Mike Masnick.
- Rob Cashman’s blog: Borrowing the analogy from SJD: “The Steele Snake Changes Its Skin Once Again.”
¹ I omit Steele’s earlier shenanigans: prior to becoming a copyright troll, he was a divorce lawyer. He did not become evil overnight.
² All the links in this post are direct, so if you are paranoid and don’t want Prenda’s server to see your IP address, use a proxy — like Anonymouse — to browse. I couldn’t quickly find proxies that allow hotlinking: if you know one, let me know, and I change the links.