Break out *all* the popcorn!



  • Continuing the discussion from ‭🙅 THE BAD IDEAS THREAD:

    @riking said:

    What Prenda Law has done.

    Latest in the saga: Prenda Law And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Appellate Argument (popehat.com)

    For the uninformed:
    All Popehat posts about Prenda
    The Deposition (REQUIRED READING) - Spoiler alert - Paul Hansmier knows nothing

    Q. Is your testimony here today that AF Holdings
         has never paid Mr. Lutz any compensation of any kind for
         his services as the sole employee of AF Holdings?
    A. Could you repeat that?
         (Record read as requested.)
         THE WITNESS: Yes.

    Actually, this might deserve its own topic.

    (Complete with video of the court hearing ;) )



  • That's a whole lotta reading. Sum it up in 100 words.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @anonymous234 said:

    That's a whole lotta reading. Sum it up in 100 words.

    These guys sued a bunch of people on specious grounds, including fraudulently using someone's name as the (IIRC) owner of their company. They're now being sued back in multiple states and at the Federal level, and losing big.

    IIRC their bag was buying up copyright (or perhaps only some rights) for movies--particularly porn ones--and then threatening to sue people for downloading those movies illegally. "But if you pay us $3000, we won't sue you, and you won't have your name in court, listed as a guy who downloaded [insert racy porn title here]."

    A key portion of this involved, as I said, illegally using the name of some guy who might have been the gardener of one of the lawyers or something, or maybe just a mailroom guy in the law firm, as the owner of the copyright, or something. I knew the deets when this started, but it's been going on for a couple of years now and I've forgotten a lot of them.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Also, the lawyers and principals have been in all kinds of shenanigans, including not showing up for court dates, espousing facially ridiculous theories, pleading the 5th, pretending to be Sergeant Shultz, and other funny stuff (funny, that is, if you're not the judge hearing this stuff.)



  • Tl;dr version: Three lawyers and a "computer scientist" buy up rights to porn films, then file suit against hundreds of thousands of people who allegedly torrented the movies, thousands per suit, in different courts. The suits are designed to get names and addresses and blackmail them for about three grand a pop. They fuck up a number of different ways, including:

    • Not even trying to verify there's a jurisdictional nexus
    • Dodging court fees by suing thousands at a time (improper joinder)
    • Suing in places they're not admitted to practice, hiring local attorneys as mouthpieces, and not letting them do their jobs
    • Not showing up for court appearances
    • Not actually getting the copyright for the movies they're suing over
    • Not verifying that the person they're suing actually downloaded anything, or even anyone in the same building
    • Making one lawyer's housekeeper the CEO and only employee of the alleged company behind these lawsuits, without knowledge, consent, or compensation
    • Failing to disclose that they themselves received the bulk of the proceeds from these suits/settlements
    • Not showing up for court dates to be grilled about these improprieties
    • Not paying a few hundred thousand in sanctions
    • Arguing to a judge with a straight face on appeal that they want to be tried for their criminal contempt, rather than just take the fucking fine, even though they could rack up multiple life sentences instead
    • "Suing over porn is too hard, let's just sue over ADA violations instead!"

    TechDirt also has some pretty good coverage, as well as embeds of most of the interesting legal documents.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    Tl;dr version: Three lawyers and a "computer scientist" buy up rights to porn films, then file suit against hundreds of thousands of people who allegedly torrented the movies, thousands per suit, in different courts. The suits are designed to get names and addresses and blackmail them for about three grand a pop. They fuck up a number of different ways, including:

    • Not even trying to verify there's a jurisdictional nexus
    • Dodging court fees by suing thousands at a time (improper joinder)
    • Suing in places they're not admitted to practice, hiring local attorneys as mouthpieces, and not letting them do their jobs
    • Not showing up for court appearances
    • Not actually getting the copyright for the movies they're suing over
    • Not verifying that the person they're suing actually downloaded anything, or even anyone in the same building
    • Making one lawyer's housekeeper the CEO and only employee of the alleged company behind these lawsuits, without knowledge, consent, or compensation
    • Failing to disclose that they themselves received the bulk of the proceeds from these suits/settlements
    • Not showing up for court dates to be grilled about these improprieties
    • Not paying a few hundred thousand in sanctions
    • Arguing to a judge with a straight face on appeal that they want to be tried for their criminal contempt, rather than just take the fucking fine, even though they could rack up multiple life sentences instead
    • "Suing over porn is too hard, let's just sue over ADA violations instead!"

    TechDirt also has some pretty good coverage, as well as embeds of most of the interesting legal documents.

    IIRC, for at least one porn, they seeded the torrent sites themselves, too.

    Edit:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @TwelveBaud said:

    Arguing to a judge with a straight face on appeal that they want to be tried for their criminal contempt, rather than just take the fucking fine, even though they could rack up multiple life sentences instead

    I hadn't heard that one. That's in its own class of WTF all by itself, close to trying to put the brakes on a belt sander or band saw with your ear; the potential for a “life changing event” is rather high.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    I hadn't heard that one.

    It's new, from a couple of weeks ago.



  • I like this featured comment from that:

    SLOW MOVING
    When it comes to things like this the law moves slowly. It seems like it is a glacier. The thing about glaciers is that anything it front of them is eventually moved and as it moved it is broken up; first into rocks, then pebbles, then sand. Eventually it is deposited at the bottom of some backwater where it is only noticed by a bottom feeder looking for a meal.
    —Anonymous Coward



  • I am not going to write much. Instead, here is a screenshot from the opinion of a judge on a different case by the same people (I've posted this before):

    Quoth popehat: 'Protip — if a United States Court of Appeals refers to you as "law firm," with scare quotes thus, you're gonna have a bad time.' This case is going worse.



  • The main attorney in the Prenda schemes is Paul Hansmeier. The timing of this thread was fortuitous because it appears he has a similar scheme going with a company called Disability Support Alliance (DSA), which sues for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    • DSA's is another company that doesn't seem to exist except on paper, just like the one AF is suing over. It does apparently employ four people, somewhere (one is mentioned below).
    • DSA sues companies for failure to provide disabled persons with proper access. But they evidently don't care if the access is ever provided; as evidenced by a statement by..."Eric Wong, a member of the four-person-strong DSA [who] says companies just need to pay it first and worry about complying with the law later."
    • DSA is being sued by the head of the local Chamber of Commerce, Cal Brink, for abuse of process and civil conspiracy.

    If people of this sort have way, a demand letter will be coming soon to a mailbox very near you.


  • sockdevs

    @CoyneTheDup said:

    a demand letter will be coming soon to a mailbox very near you.

    if that letter lands in my mailbox the reply will be short and concise. it will also be printed on 18" fanfold greenbar, in 17.5" letters, repeated as many times as necessary to use the entire box of greenbar and then delivered to the solicitor in question via overnight delivery from the most expensive courier around.... and also COD.

    the reply?

    GET STUFFED!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @CoyneTheDup said:

    which sues for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Oh, man, there's a special place in hell for those people.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @accalia said:

    the reply?

    GET STUFFED!

    Yeah, and then they'll take you to court and you'll probably lose. These people have shut businesses down. The most egregious example I can think of is a restaurant that had been around for decades in a small, oddly-shaped building. The aisles weren't big enough to fit a wheelchair, and the city didn't have curb cuts or something anyway, and there was a fairly large step up, etc., the point being it wasn't really something you could fix such that a person with a wheelchair could get into, probably without tearing the building down and starting over. The short version of the story is that in the end the restaurant closed because these scumbags did bring the law against them, and the ADA is a hammer.



  • @FrostCat said:

    ...law against them, and the ADA is a hammershyster's dream.

    FTFY


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Well, yes, but it does have its uses.


  • sockdevs

    @FrostCat said:

    The most egregious example I can think of is a restaurant that had been around for decades in a small, oddly-shaped building. The aisles weren't big enough to fit a wheelchair, and the city didn't have curb cuts or something anyway, and there was a fairly large step up, etc., the point being it wasn't really something you could fix such that a person with a wheelchair could get into, probably without tearing the building down and starting over.

    As i understand it by a careful reading of Titles 2 and 3 of the ADA and not in any way being a lawyer in any way they can still get stuffed. those lawyers are predatory scumbags and if they come after me i'll make damn sure that i waste as absolute much of their time and money in the attempt.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @accalia said:

    As i understand it by a careful reading of Titles 2 and 3 of the ADA and not in any way being a lawyer in any way they can still get stuffed. those lawyers are predatory scumbags and if they come after me i'll make damn sure that i waste as absolute much of their time and money in the attempt.

    You can be sure that anyone who would come after you for an ADA violation will be sure to only come after you for things that they'd be guaranteed to win in a lawsuit. Why do I say that? Because if that wasn't true, the "industry" wouldn't still exist, and I know for a fact it's been around since at least 2000.

    If you get accused of something that's clearly an ADA violation, you're not going to have much wiggle room to drag things out. I worked in an office building once that got visited by one of these pond scum, over trash can placement, of all things. (Trash cans in the elevator lobby stack in the parking garage could block someone in a wheelchair from pushing the elevator call button. The building management company responded by simply removing the cans completely. That pulled the rug out from under the lawyer at the expense of everybody who worked in the building.)

    If your building, say, doesn't have a curb cut or a wheelchair ramp, and it's possible to put one in, well, you're gonna pay them $1500 or whatever, or you're gonna wind up in court, and you're gonna lose.

    I'm not in favor of it, but the law is on their side. You will either pay them money, make an accommodation, or lose your business.


  • mod

    All these predatory lawyer stories remind me of the time that Adobe came after me. I'd purchased some unopened copies of Photoshop CS3 for really cheap (like $80 each[1]). Still in the original packaging, shrink wrap and all. I sold two copies on eBay for a healthy profit (about $200 each + shipping). After the second one sold, Adobe's lawyers came after me for "copyright infringement". Unknown to them, and fortunately for me, my wife has a childhood friend who's dad is a managing partner in an interstate IP law firm. He let me use his name in our response to the cease and desist letter, as long as I didn't state that he had been retained as my lawyer. The letters from Adobe stopped after that response.

    [1] Not too surprising, since CS5 was out at the time, so they were basically just overstock that someone was trying to unload.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Oh, man, there's a special place in hell for those people.

    Couldn't agree more! My favorite Thai restaurant (and others in the strip) were forced to rebuild the sidewalk in front because it wasn't angled right. It had something like a 5degree angle instead of the correct 2degree (numbers are off, it's been a while - but the point is they were only off by a couple degrees). The handicap parking spaces also had to be rebuilt because there weren't level enough.



  • speaking of popcorn:

    Every time you block an ad, what you're really blocking is food from entering a child's mouth.


  • sockdevs

    :wtf:



  • Then the marketoids need to get their heads out of their arseholes and realize that they do not have the right to create malware vectors and take over pages and messages!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @swayde said:

    >Every time you block an ad, what you're really blocking is food from entering a child's mouth.

    If the child's mouth is spewing poisonous pus over everyone else, you'd better believe that blocking it is a good idea!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    @swayde said:
    >Every time you block an ad, what you're really blocking is food from entering a child's mouth.

    If the child's mouth is spewing poisonous pus over everyone else, you'd better believe that blocking it is a good idea!

    Ditto autoplay videos or ads that display OVER content. You probably deserve having your child starve.



  • @swayde said:

    Every time you block an ad, what you're really blocking is food from entering a child's mouth.

    Because

    1. every website owner has children
    2. every website owner has trouble affording food
    3. people who have trouble affording food have popular websites
    4. only children need to eat

    fuck, I can't think of more[1] witty things to say

    [1] any


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    1. that child isn't also an adult with a job
    2. the child isn't an axe murderer or something.


  • @swayde said:

    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/ad-blocking-is-stealing,news-20962.html


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