Porn troll’s new tactic: Pay up or we tell your neighbors

 

Would you rather have one of the Internet’s seediest law firms send a letter to your family and neighbors accusing you of pirating porn, or cough up some cash to make the whole problem go away?

That’s the stunning, frantic new tactic by notorious “copyright trolls” Prenda Law (well, in this case, it’s the Anti-Piracy Law Group, one of Prenda’s wings). It doesn’t matter, for their purposes, if you’ve actually pirated any porn. They simply send accusatory letters, ask for settlement money, and threaten a terrible lawsuit if you’re considering fighting back. From their new batch of letters, and obtained by the blog Fight Copyright Trolls:

The list of possible suspects includes you, members of your household, your neighbors (if you maintain an open wi-fi connection) and anyone who might have visited your house. In the coming days we will contact these individuals to investigate whether they have any knowledge [of alleged porn piracy]…

Litigation is time consuming, expensive and disruptive. One pirate named Jamie Thomas-Rasset, for example, was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for copyright infringement on April 19, 2006. The case was not concluded until November 20, 2012, when a court entered judgement against her for $222,000.

The date on those letters, May 7, is quite significant. On May 6, Prenda lawyers suffered their biggest legal smackdown to date, as Judge David Wright fined them $81,319.72, accused them of “brazen misconduct and relentless fraud,” and recommended their respective home states disbar them.

In other words, the day after it seemed their operation had come crashing down, they increased their tactics.

There is one potential silver lining for the victims of this latest letter. As noted by Fight Copyright Trolls, the letter claims that “the Internet is full of stories of people being brought to court by our firm, incurring significant legal fees and suffering large judgments.” However, googling “Anti-Piracy Law Group” brings up a host of criticism of Prenda, and going to the URL antipiracylawgroup.com simply redirects to Fight Copyright Trolls’s page on the subject.

Photo by Comrade Foo/Flickr

Kevin Collier

Kevin Collier

A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.