Alan Cooper goes on offensive, sues John Steele and his shakedown entities

The hearing in Guava v. Spencer Merkel in the Hennepin County Court (Minneapolis) on 1/25/2013 was eventful. The main bombshell that went off that day was a damning affidavit of the “defendant” Spencer Merkel, who admitted that he had been blackmailed by Prenda into participation in a fraud upon the court. Namely, Mr. Merkel agreed to be a nominal, fake defendant in this mockery of litigation, and in exchange, Prenda crooks promised to dismiss the claims against him, those that stemmed from his admission of sharing a video using a private Bittorent network.

It was a bad day for Steele, who appeared in the courtroom along with his partner in crime Paul Hansmeier and a nominal plaintiff’s counsel Michael Dugas. As usually, Steele did most of the talking, while Hansmeier participated a bit, trying to bullshit the judge on the question of jurisdiction, and Michael Dugas did not say a word: a striking resemblance to a recent court appearance in Chicago, where articulately challenged Paul Duffy did not talk beyond identifying himself as a plaintiff attorney.

Steele tried to deceive the judge, showing her a demand letter that does not ask for money. He presented it as a big deal, but we all know what his words are worth: just last week I published such a demandless demand letter, but next to it I also published a mandatory follow-up, which is not much different from the familiar Prenda’s Halloween scares, and asks for $4,000.

Steele revealed to the judge that Guava is primarily based in Las Vegas, NV (hi, Jayme!), but originated in St. Kitts and Nevis. He also said that the computer systems were in Illinois and Las Vegas, which is another hogwash that can be easily debunked: if this gang had a single computer in Illinois, Guava complaints would not fail to state it — instead, a frivolously vague phrase “computer systems accessible in Illinois” was used. In reality, “Guava” exists only on paper, and as such does not have any hardware at all.

When the hearing transcript is available, I will make sure to publish it.

I said it was a bad day for Steele, but this narcissist megalomaniac probably thought it went brilliantly: he ecstatically sang the same old song how catching the correct user of an IP address is similar to traffic cameras capturing license plates… Ironically, he enjoyed his diarrhea of words in Minnesota, where the Supreme Court has already ruled that traffic cameras that issue tickets only on the basis of the license plate are unconstitutional because you don’t know who the driver was.

Yes, he probably was high from his speech, yet the abovementioned Merkel’s affidavit was not served before the hearing, so Steele did not know about it. Also, he probably did not realize the extent of another blow as he did not have time to read the documents featured below: before John entered the courtroom, either in the elevator or upon exiting the elevator, Steele was served with a lawsuit filed on behalf of Alan Cooper (represented by his attorney Paul Godfread).

The complaint v. John Steele, Prenda Law, AF Holdings, and Ingenuity 13 alleges invasion of privacy, deceptive practices, and civil conspiracy. Also, it asserts that all the defendant “corporations” are, in fact, inadequate, improperly maintained shells created solely as abusive lawsuit mills. Plaintiff asks for monetary award and injunction that he was never an officer of the said “corporations.”


Other documents were served along with the complaint. I suggest reading them as they contain interesting, previously unknown bits (for example, the fact that Steele threatened Alan Cooper with a vexatious lawsuit weeks after he went forward with identity theft allegations).

Minnesota state court rules are a bit different from federal ones. The lawsuit commences upon service, and one can serve initial discovery requests at the same time. Nothing needs to be filed with the court immediately, and sometimes cases go through pleadings, discovery, and settlement without ever being filed. Steele, as well as other defendants, have 20 days to answer to the complaint. They have 45 days to respond to the discovery requests.

The set of interrogatories is largely different from those hanging over the Brett Gibbs’s head, perfectly complementing them. It is like opening the second front against an army of aggressors.





Below is the transcript of the hearing:

wordpress counter


72 responses to ‘Alan Cooper goes on offensive, sues John Steele and his shakedown entities

  1. Thank you SJD for posting this! ROFL. It should be really interesting to see what Steele does in the MN case, as the time frame is shorter than he is normally used to dealing with. He cannot aford a default on his part, but to answer the complaint will only dig his grave that much deeper. delay is the normal course of action, but it will only last so far. Right now all the other Prenda fools must be thinking to themselves about when they will need to turn on Steele, Hansmeiere(s), Duffy, and Gibbs to save their own a$$es. I think we should start a pool to see who is the first to defect and “spill the beans.” Mark Lutz??? Time to cut and run – Steele is not going to take care of you.

    DTD 🙂

  2. Buckle Up!


    Yeah, Buckle Up because the fucking idiot who can’t keep a guy he cut a deal with off his harassment list is coming to get you!

    Buckle Up because the dumbass who can’t set up a robocalling script to say the right name is coming to get you!

    Buckle Up because the guy who can’t copy and paste the correct Plaintiff’s name onto his cookie-cutter complaints is coming to get you!

    Buckle Up because the guy who can’t keep “their,” “there,” and “they’re” straight is coming to get you!

    Buckle Up because the guy who can’t make sure to file a copyright application for a movie he’s going to sue people for downloading is coming to get you!

    Can’t wait to see Steele’s life dropkicked into the garbage.

  3. I would think that Steele and his buddies must be shitting their pants by now. As is so often the case, the “fall” begins slowly, almost barely noticeable, but then it starts to gain momentum. It seems the fall is now progressing at full throttle and in top gear. There’s a new story of bad news (for Steele, anyways) almost daily, and I pretty much now live for those stories. I can’t wait to read what misfortune is befalling John, so much so that I refresh the site (and DTD’s) hourly, or more. I have to admit, I” almost be sad when it’s all over. I’ve been harboring so much ill will towards one man for the past couple of years that, once he’s finally exposed (and I’m hoping jailed), that I won’t know what to do with myself.

    • I think Steele believes his own bullshit too much to be shitting his pants. No doubt he thinks this is no big deal and probably enjoys the confrontation. I really don’t think this guy is going to have any idea how much trouble he’s in until he’s in a jail cell.

      Some of his buddies might be smart enough to be shitting their pants though. Gibbs’ recent filings have the stink of desperation, so I think he knows how far in over his head he is. Lutz isn’t smart enough to do more than call people (we saw what happened when he tried to step up to “Corporate Representative” for Sunlust), and now he’s back to calling so he may be too dumb to comprehend his fate. But that might make him a good guy to offer a plea deal.

      Local counsels though, those guys probably shit their pants when they wake up enough to learn about Prenda’s reputation. Their Florida guys are falling all over themselves to get off the payroll, and one can only imagine what Dugas is thinking between this and the Merkel affidavit. In the immediate term the greatest benefit to Does is that this publicity makes Prenda so radioactive they should have an extremely hard time keeping anyone on board to do their local dirty work. The apparently in-progress next name change isn’t going to help much in that regard either, because we have a couple other high-readership tech news sites like TechDirt and Ars Technica covering Prenda’s every move these days. The second Prenda tries to go live under a new name it’ll be reported on sites that will come up at the top of any Google search results for a new name.

      • Seems like an appropriate time to add something that doesn’t seem to have made it’s way back here after appearing on SJD and Jane Justice’s Twitter feeds. Apparently Steele was involved in a student loan scam for a fraudulent IT degree mill in Florida. Jane claimed to have found records that tied it to our John Steele, and I found this additional complaint online that mentions a John L. Steele specifically:

        Reinforces the fact that this guy has only been emboldened by the permissiveness of the American justice system. I think we all assumed that Steele’s scamming started with copyright trolling and was basically a legal if unethical scheme driven by a guy with too much ego who got carried away taking it further and further into the realm of actual fraud. But it’s starting to look like Steele is a serial, career fraudster and the lack of consequences for his behavior thus far goes a long way to explain his attitude.

        Says a lot about the legal profession that after this guy got his taste for ripping people off he decided to go to law school to shift his career into the next gear. This POS needs to be in jail.

  4. “I’ve been harboring so much ill will towards one man for the past couple of years that, once he’s finally exposed (and I’m hoping jailed), that I won’t know what to do with myself.”

    You’d make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts. 😉

  5. I just got my first phone call last week,it was scary to say the least! I also feel like shit seeing all you good guys fighting this for so long and I come in after 3 days and this jerks world s coming apart. I can’t know how much the great folks on these sites have been threw. All I can say is thank you. Thank you very much mike.

    • I’m not sure if its an alias or not, but you probably still don’t want to be posting your name here. Hopefully SJD will catch it real fast and edit it for you.

      It’s better to be safe since its known that the trolls read this site.

  6. Paging Mr Steele to the white curtsey electric chair…
    Paging Mr Steele to the white curtsey electric chair…


  7. So, in the Request for Admissions, Steele told Cooper’s lawyer that Cooper should “buckle up.” What had Cooper done to deserve such a statement? What wrong had Cooper committed that would justify even implying such a thing?

    I was incorrect about John Steele. I kept thinking every man has some shred of decency within them somewhere. Not so in this case. He’s a combination of evil and darkness all in the same sack.

    • On Twitter someone purporting to be Steele or Prenda under the handle @bitttorrentbull tweeted something to the effect that Alan Cooper was going to be dismayed to learn about the video function of the iPhone. Likely BS but it is the rare lawsuit where a defendant doesn’t have at least one trick up his sleeve.

      Nice move by Cooper’s attorney to serve discovery demands immediately.

    • That’s just the Steele way! Threats! Threats! Threats! Most Does had the good fortune of NOT having an in person encounter with Steele. I assure you, one cannot fully appreciate what a foul piece of garbage Steele is until being face to face with him. The threats, bullying, pathological lying, extortion isn’t just something he does – it’s who he is to the core. It’s amplified in person.

      It’s not as if he woke up a couple of years back and thought “Hey, I’ll be a copyright troll” – he’s a life long criminal. Steele’s harmed countless people far beyond copyright trolling. This man “practiced” family law with the same “morals” and business model as his trolling. Innocent children are the victims in that model. His student loan scam robbed people of the opportunity to attend college, college that they PAID FOR! That has a life long impact. There are numerous other scams he carried out; none were victimless crimes.

      Why would he say such a thing to Mr. Cooper? Because Steele is a career criminal who places no value on anyone’s life other then his own.

      What is concerning is that Steele is such a psycho I suspect he’ll make large investments in making Mr. Cooper’s life hell until this all plays out. Steele’s arrogance is mind boggling. What sort of idiot makes threats – knowing full well that they’ll end up posted for the world to see.

      I commend Mr. Cooper for coming forward and taking action against Steele. I have a sneeking suspicion that this may be the tipping point and result in a flood of lawsuits by many other parties against Steele. God willing, there will be a host of criminal charges as well.

    • Could someone please point me towards the document where Steele said “buckle up”? I’ve looked for it but found nothing.


      • In the first set of requests for admissions. I can’t remember exactly where though, but it’s really fucked up…and funny that Steele would threaten someone who’s holding his balls in a vise with a vexatious lawsuit. Shows you just how arrogant he truly is.

  8. I am so elated about this. I can only imagine the night terrors and un-ending queasiness that Steele feels right now…oh wait, I can imagine it because it’s the same thing he’s done to me and thousands of others.

    For those who have paid to get Steele of their back…if this goes through and he loses and he’s found guilty of conspiracy and other counts is there a chance that they can get the money paid to them back?

  9. In several of the docs in A – Mr. Steele sates that he has an original signed notarized copy of the complaints bearing Alan Cooper’s signature. I think those originals would be interesting to see, as would the notary’s log book and testimony of the notary as to how they confirmed the identity of Alan Cooper. If that little box “personally known” is checked then the notary must be able to identify Alan Cooper, if not then an ID type and number should be present.

  10. can i ask what this does for the all of the other cases where the troll was not john steele? my troll, nicoletti/ malibu media/patrick collins must surely also be affected by this, right?
    i was served a summons at my door on friday (in front of my kids, it was very humiliating) so i’m definitely concerned and terrified (but committed to fight through it).

    • Nicoletti’s suits? Why would they be affected? Maybe tangentially but not directly since Prenda “represents” AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, Nicoletti has nothing to do with either of the two.

  11. I have been reading and occassionaly posting in this forum for over a year now. In all that time the only thing to remain constant is that the trolls keep slipping and sliding around like a worm – impossible to make go away. And when a Doe does go after them and is within a stones throw from nailing them, they get bought off. I guess the only thing that will truly make it go away is the statute of limitations. And on that day, I will rejoice. Freedom from a corrupt legal system and a corrupt government that backs it.

  12. All that is missing in the definition below is a picture of our beloved Buffy the troll slayer.. John, it has been a long road, but anyone with half a brain knew the house of cards would eventually fall. I never knew it would be this interesting and dramatic though.

    Narcissistic personality disorder

    Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with themselves.

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The causes of this disorder are unknown. An overly sensitive personality and parenting problems may affect the development of this disorder.


    A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:

    React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation

    Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals

    Have excessive feelings of self-importance

    Exaggerate achievements and talents

    Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love

    Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment

    Need constant attention and admiration

    Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy

    Have obsessive self-interest

    Pursue mainly selfish goals

    • Yeah I’ve been saying that since 2011. I just don’t want to directly state that someone is mentally ill as I am not a mental health professional nor have I ever personally dealt with Steele. He does have all of the signs and I KNOW the signs, I have an ex who has diagnosed NPD.

  13. Guava, LLC is registered with the Nevada Secretary of State, effective July 27, 2011. It’s one and only officer/manager is TBP Management Group, LLC. TBP Management Group LLC established itself on May 05, 2006. It’s only officer is/was Thomas B. Parker at 4625 W. Nevso Dr Suites 2-3, Las Vegas 89103.

    Looking into Parker, we have a 39 year old male, who uses Thomas Brent Parker and also Thomas Parkes as an alias. He currently uses a P.O. Box 10648 in Kansas City, MO 64188, but has priors at 1402 NE 67th Terrace, Kansas City. His address histories are all in Mission, KS, Olathe, KS, Kansas City, MO, Boulder City, NV, Henderson, NV, and Las Vegas. Counties have been Johnson County Kansas, Clay County Kansas, and Clark County Nevada.

    There is scant evidence he may share his government ID with a Juan Orega.

    Business Connections are as follows: Grobl & Associates, LTD (702-253-7870); Silver State Legal (702-492-1788); Brent A. Parker (702-373-7673); Brent Parker & Associates, LTD and TBP Management Group LLC. None of these have been called or verified.

    The only connection to Guava is TBP. The only manager of TBP is Parker. Parker is in Kansas City, MO. I see no connection whatsoever to the Guava Litigation spree.

  14. Also – as a P.S.

    While looking up Guava, I also looked up Ingenuity for kicks. Believe it or not, there is an Ingenuity, Inc. that was incorporated in December of 1973, and the one and only officer was Martin Crook.

    There is no listing for AF Holdings with the Nevada SOS.

  15. Oh Buffy, I know you read this blog. So this is for you:

    B.O.H.I.C. – Bend over, here it comes!!!

    Well, you’ve upset more than you’re share of decent folks. This next one is better & you’ll be feeling it:

    B.O.H.I.C.A. – Bend over, here it comes again!!!

  16. What I don’t get is why isn’t someone going after Steele with RICO charge? Steele, et al, have done the predicate acts (fraud, extortion, dealing in obscene material), as well as trying to intimidate those who fight back (“buckle up!”)

    From Wikipedia (yeah, yeah, I know):
    Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) laws can be applied in an attempt to curb alleged abuses of the legal system by individuals or corporations who utilize the courts as a weapon to retaliate against whistle blowers, victims, or to silence another’s speech. RICO could be alleged if it can be shown that lawyers and/or their clients conspired and collaborated to concoct fictitious legal complaints solely in retribution and retaliation for themselves having been brought before the courts.

    I’m amazed that Steele’s mug shot isn’t next to that paragraph. Go for it, Cooper! You know what a RICO win means? Treble damages!

    • Patience, patience hehe. He’ll get hit with criminal and civil RICO charges if this keeps going and it will because he is the smartest man in the room….well, he thinks he is but is definitely not.

    • I doubt he will make any excuses for Prenda, or for the trolling “business model in general.” He was never like Steele or other lying scum, and I’m sure that this tweet is sincere: we quarreled a lot, but to accuse him in dishonesty is a big and unnecessary stretch.

      I’m sure that after trolling in the US fails significantly, we’ll have some heated exchanges about copyright in general 🙂 But I’m happy he does not defend trolls anymore.

      • Or he’s realised that Steele’s initiatives have tanked horribly and has decided to jump a sinking ship with such a high failure rate and notoriety.

        One still wonders exactly what sort of label he’s currently fronting, but I’m not expecting him to talk about it. He knows he’s lost whatever sympathy or interest that might have been garnered for his causes.

        • This, right here.
          This massive self-inflicted explosion at Prenda, coupled with high amounts of publicity and scrutiny are hopefully going to do incredible damage to the image of the Copyright Troll. Let’s see how hard it is to find local counsel for any of Steele’s shell companies, now.
          I don’t give two farts about this Maurice guy. What I do care about is that the legal community hearing the reverberations of the S.S. Prenda going down as spectacularly as possible.

        • @CTVic

          On the contrary, I think it’s important to be concerned about troll supporters, because they often form the sympathetic backing behind trolling attempts (claims that without such blanket litigation, artists are irreparably screwed), thereby lending legitimacy to these legally dubious cases – and possibly, lobbying funds or other resources to carry on. This is something that Sorry Morry has been consistently doing, at least to the extent of fierce moral support and huge walls of text. Vigilance in calling these people out on their lies remains a vital component of being anti-copyright troll.

  17. Watching Steele get it is fun, but let’s not overlook how Brett Gibbs has been roped in as well. He claimed in one of his filings that he had an original signed and notarized copy of a document that was “signed” Alan Cooper. A copy of this document was demanded in the interrogatories and discovery requests.

    Can’t wait to see Gibbs try to sleaze his way out of this. I assume Pietz will be bringing the pain as well in his CA case where he has Gibbs’ back to the wall regarding the truth behind Ingenuity and AF.

    • If you sue, you might eventually get a nice rubberstamped court order, suitable for framing, telling them to pay you back your money. Good luck with that.

        • I completely agree – always talk to a lawyer, a real and honest lawyer who truly has your interests on the front burner. As time passes, and with the totality of all of the evidence that has been gathered and documented here and elsewhere, you MAY have a case but only a lawyer can tell you that. The one thing I have seen here on this blog is that the contributors don’t purport to be someone they are not, unlike the trolls. Take my advice, gather the evidence carefully and consult with a lawyer.

          Raul also indicates a complaint with the State Attorney General might also be another way to go. I’d do that also.

  18. Plaintiff asks for monetary award and injunction that he was never an officer of the said “corporations.”

    What would the purpose of such an injunction be? To prevent Prenda/Steele/etc from, in the future, saying “it was all the caretaker’s fault, he should be the one who goes to jail”?

    • As far as I can tell, yup. Covers Cooper’s ass from civil lawsuits when the “gimme my fucking money back, troll” deluge begins and when the inevitable grand jury indictments are handed down as well.

    • The reply is due today, but it can be delivered by mail (it’s a state court — the rules are different), so he will be well inside the rules if he deposit his Answer to a mailbox in the evening.

  19. Looks like this case is docketed and available as of today. No documents available as far as I can tell. Case number is 27-CV-13-3463. Access here: This is a Hennepin county civil case. Looks like Steele and Prenda are going pro se at least for now. I’d love to see Steele’s response to the complaint (and Prenda’s and both of everyone’s favorite St Kitts and Nevis shell companies’). Maybe Mr. Godfread will post?

    • In Forma Papyrus… LOL

      I love how the judge eviscerated John Steooe’s argument about a getaway car given Minnesota’s declared that a license plate number doe not mean the owner was the driver.

      I can now see why the judge didn’t dig deeper into the possible collusion between Spencer Merkel and Dugas et al. The state court is simply too busy I like how the judge leaned on the fact that this was federal jurisdiction and pressed on why Guava or whoever didn’t go straight to the authorities (and Hansmeier gave a weak response). Seems obvious if so many of these sites are really getting hacked, you get security professionals and go to the authorities. Instead, they just try to sue even without sending someone with legitimate technical background into court (as in this transcript).

  20. I know this is two years ago and its a moot point. But in reading the transcript this jumped out at me.; Steele said it was “hacking” and all their subscriber’s credit card and personal information was hacked. IF there had been a REAL company and a REAL hacking of its computers – wouldn’t that company have a duty to their subscribers to let them know their information may have been compromised. To ALERT them to possible fraudulent charges/identity theft and provide them with the ability to monitor their credit reports, much as Target and other creditable businesses have done when hacked? So what stood out to me, they ( Guava) were only after money for themselves, and had there really been customer information on any computers, they cared not one bit about them or the information taken.

    • Yep. As far as vaguely remember, a company may violate the law by not notifying customers about a data breach. It could be a great argument to make that time. Alas, many good ideas become obvious too late 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Pingbacks & Trackbacks

  1. Brett Gibbs runs from justice like a petty thief caught lifting a loaf of bread « Fight Copyright Trolls
  2. LiveWire Holdings: Evolution of Prenda’s Fraud. Part 1 « Fight Copyright Trolls
  3. LiveWire Holdings: Evolution of Prenda’s Fraud. Part II « Fight Copyright Trolls
  4. Judge Otis Wright to hapless troll Gibbs: “If you pledge, don’t hedge!” | Fight Copyright Trolls
  5. Copyright trolls Prenda Law, Paul Duffy, and John Steele commence three lawsuits v. Paul Godfread, Alan Cooper and our community | Fight Copyright Trolls
  6. Prenda Law Inc. sues the anti-troll internet community. | TorrentLawyer™ - Exposing Copyright Trolls and Their Lawsuits
  7. Prenda threatens to sue the anti-troll community. | Federal Computer Crimes (CyberLawy3r)
  8. Prenda Law Inc. sues the anti-troll internet community (defamation). | The Houston Lawyer Blog
  9. Prenda Law Inc. sues the anti-troll internet community. | TorrentLawyer™ - Exposing Copyright Trolls and Their Lawsuits
  10. Transcript of the March 11 hearing is now available | Fight Copyright Trolls
  11. LW System v. Hubbard: from Adam Urbanczyk’s signed agreed order to the new breed of demand letters | Fight Copyright Trolls
  12. A closer look at troll Goodhues’ response to Order to Show Cause | Fight Copyright Trolls
  13. Prenda Law Inc. sues the anti-troll internet community.