April 17, 2024

Prenda Law lawyer loses attempt to file more piracy lawsuits from prison

Prenda Law lawyer loses attempt to file more piracy lawsuits from prison
A person's hand inserting a key into the lock on a jail-cell door.

Getty Photos | Charles O’Rear

Paul Hansmeier, who is serving a 14-year jail sentence for submitting sham copyright infringement lawsuits and extorting revenue from victims, has lost an endeavor to implement copyrights from prison. In a ruling Monday, a federal judge rejected Hansmeier’s ask for to avert the authorities from implementing mail-wire fraud and money laundering regulations in opposition to him. Hansmeier required an injunction so that he could file copyright lawsuits without experiencing new costs.

Hansmeier, who is also interesting his conviction irrespective of acquiring pleaded guilty, will be familiar to Ars readers as just one of the principals guiding the infamous “copyright troll” business Prenda Legislation. He was sentenced in June 2019 “for an elaborate fraud plan that associated uploading pornographic video clips to file-sharing networks and then threatening to sue individuals who downloaded them,” as our reporting at the time said. Prenda Law’s technique included searching for settlements of a handful of thousand bucks from every single target.

Prenda Legislation founder John Steele pleaded responsible in 2017 to expenses of conspiracy to dedicate mail fraud and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit funds laundering and cooperated in the investigation into Hansmeier. Hansmeier in the long run pleaded guilty to the very same costs in August 2018. Steele was sentenced to 5 yrs in prison in July 2019.

Hansmeier and Steele attained subscriber info from World-wide-web assistance suppliers and “threaten[ed] victims with monumental economical penalties and community embarrassment unless of course they agreed to pay back a $3,000 settlement cost,” the US Office of Justice reported in a push release at the time of Hansmeier’s sentencing. They acquired a complete of $3 million “from extortion victims to settle sham copyright infringement lawsuits,” the DOJ explained.

Hansmeier claimed his “litigation will be socially valuable”

Last week, Hansmeier filed a motion in US District Court for the District of Minnesota declaring he would like to “hire an undercover investigator to shield his copyrights towards Net piracy and carry statements below the Copyright Act and the Personal computer Fraud and Abuse Act towards men and women who trespass on his desktops to infringe his is effective.”

The motion sought an injunction avoiding “the federal government from imposing the mail-wire fraud conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 1349) and dollars laundering conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 1956(h)) statutes in opposition to [Hansmeier] on account of this copyright enforcement action.” US District Decide Joan Ericksen denied the request for a preliminary injunction in a brief buy. TorrentFreak coated the ruling in an report on Wednesday.

Hansmeier’s now-turned down movement for an injunction mentioned his proposed “litigation will be socially worthwhile. World-wide-web piracy is a cancer having away at the marketplaces for creative expression.” Hansmeier’s motion claimed his new lawsuits would “prevent affiliation with pornography” and implement copyrights “in significantly less socially stigmatizing content, like poetry.”

Hansmeier also explained to the courtroom he would “sue less folks rather of suing thousands of people today at a time, he will carry a lot more important instances from a noticeably smaller sized selection of persons.” But his movement stated he “is chilled from engaging in this petitioning activity by the credible threat of criminal prosecution” owing to “Hansmeier’s existing imprisonment centered on his participation in copyright enforcement action identical to that which he needs to take part in now.”

Ericksen’s get famous that Hansmeier is “topic to a filing restriction.” The restriction was imposed in March 2022 by US District Choose John Tunheim in a ruling that explained Hansmeier “has submitted at least sixteen actions in this district alone demanding the constitutionality of the federal mail fraud, wire fraud, and extortion statutes.”

Hansmeier’s worries filed from jail “allege that the statutes are unconstitutional mainly because they either protect against him from pursuing copyright enforcement or prevent him from helping unknown people pursuing People in america with Disabilities Act (ADA) enforcement claims,” Tunheim wrote. Tunheim’s ruling prohibited Hansmeier from filing new lawsuits or pleadings on those subjects in the District of Minnesota against the US lawyer general and other federal officials “except he obtains prior prepared acceptance” from the court docket.