The end of Prenda saga: John Steele sentenced to 5 years

Less than a month after his partner Paul Hansmeier was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the loudest (and therefore the most hated) porn copyright troll John Lawrence Steele learned his fate: almost three times less prison time than his co-conspirator. Why such difference? Cooperation. Claims of remorse. Competent representation.

Star Tribune’s Dan Browning has been covering Prenda-related news for years: unsurprisingly he attended today’s sentencing and was first to report on what took place in the courtroom. I was not there so I have nothing to add.

I don’t feel like celebrating the fact that people (even villains) go to prison. However, Steele and Hansmeier harmed many and damaged respect for the courts, so deterrence is necessary.

If I were the judge, I’d pay more attention to restitution: ordering Steele and Hansmeier to jointly pay their victims $1.5 million while the amount of loot was two to four times bigger looks inadequate to me.

This sentence concludes the Prenda saga. When Hansmeier eventually loses his appeal, I will mention it. Otherwise, that’s it.

Cheers to everyone who helped to bring down the most arrogant copyright trolling operation: you know who you are.

Sentencing minutes:


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13 responses to ‘The end of Prenda saga: John Steele sentenced to 5 years

    • I guess the first is a result of his crime.
      The second is so his family can visit.
      The third is probably because he had been either drinking or using drugs a lot.

    • 1) It is the federal prison equivalent of automatic withdrawals from your checking account. Basically a small amount of money is deducted from the inmate’s prison account – earnings from a job and money sent by family – and applied to costs, fines, and restitution. The program is completely voluntary… but… if the inmate does not agree to the deductions (e.g., participate in the program) then the amount he is able to spend on commissary and phone calls is DRASTICALLY reduced. Remember paying federal taxes is completely voluntary; but if you don’t the feds will put you in prison and seize everything you own. The government is very big on the literal definition of “voluntary.”

      2) The Bureau of Prisons alone determines where an inmate will be assigned to serve his sentence and they are not bound by a judge’s recommendation. The more specific the recommendation, the less likely it will be followed. For Hansmeier – as well as for Steele – the judge recommended they be designated to an institution close to home. The BOP generally tries to do this anyway, and if you aren’t big in the gangs you are usually placed somewhere close to home. (The downside is the BOP may not consider “home” as your definition of “home”, in which case the judge’s recommendation can come into play.)

      3) Here is a hint if you are ever convicted of a federal crime: you want to be allowed to participate in RDAP (Residential Drug Abuse Program). It doesn’t really matter that you haven’t abused drugs or alcohol; It is currently the only way to get a significant amount of time off of a federal sentence. Currently, I believe it is about a year for successful completion of the program. As the name suggests it is a residential (the participants live, study and therapy (?) in the same unit) substance abuse program. As I said, everyone wants to participate, and the BOP knows this and tries to figure out if the request is legitimate. So, if you have been indicted for a federal crime, it MIGHT be good to start dropping hints about your (completely legal) alcohol problem.

  1. Such good news. And it’s about time! Malibu Media had a bogus case against me. It was a horrible 8 months from the initial notification to me hearing that they dropped two cases because they failed to serve me. The monies they were seeking were over 80k. Luckily for us we did not hire a lawyer but the aggravation was costly.

    The plantiffs should be paying every dime back to the innocent people whose lives they ripped apart. The idea that they benefited at all in their unethical scam is appalling. Lock them up and make them pay.

  2. Hansmeier was due to surrender to the Federal BOP yesterday. Steele gets five years today and will probably surrender sometime next month. It’s been a very long road. At times, some of us felt they’d find a way to squirm out of it all.

    When Paul gets released — whenever that may be — he’ll be an older man, looking for new ways to lie, cheat and steal. He’ll never change.

    As I’m typing this, he’s probably going through intake and orientation. He’s got new bunkmates to play with. And a new address. And a whole lot of trouble ahead of him on the inside. Thank You, Judge Wright.

    • That’s if he makes it out. He’s gonna find some serious trouble in prison testing is con man ways on others who who based their lives on lies and violence.

    • Oh, it gets better. Paul is dead set on appealing, despite consistent failure after consistent failure, and his dad shows very little signs of letting up on his rhetoric. My guess is Paul continues the defiance act in the slammer and boasts about how Daddy’s going to get him out, because “copyright trolling has never had a precedent” and “nobody gets 14 years for cheating”. One imagines how much money and networking Pa Hansmeier burns, to the point where it becomes cheaper for Paul to pay the restitution and shut the fuck up, or when his mother and mother-in-law beg the doubling-downers to stop.

      Paul lucked out when he found John Steele. Steele had bravado, but even he knew when to shut the fuck up after a few boasts. Had it been Paul at the wheel he’d have already asphyxiated from choking on the foot in his mouth. Unfortunately for Paul, he didn’t bank on Steele tossing him under the bus.

  3. Seems like to me these guys fully deserved to have their bullshit and thievery doubled and then pounded back up their assholes sideways.

    Like Sol said: “Punitive Damages!”

  4. Strike 3 Holdings Suing You In Florida? Fight back, file a complaint against Tyler Mamone!
    Make sure ya’ll file your complaint against Tyler Mamone his Bar # 111632 to the Florida Bar!!!


    Once you are there, download the PDF, fill it out and email it to

    Tyler Mamone is abusing Florida State Courts to gain cheap CASH settlements! He works for a PORN company called Strike 3 Holdings that exploits women and minorities. Copyright cases don’t belong in state courts and he is paying the Miami Dade judge for the favors!! Dirty lawyer no doubt. United we all win!!

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