Published in News

Copyright troll could get 12 years

by on01 April 2019

Troll in chains

The US is recommending a 12.5 year prison sentence for Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys of the copyright troll law firm Prenda.

TorrentFreak said that Hansmeier admitted that he is guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering.

With the final decision coming up, the government and the defendant have now issued their sentencing recommendations. According to the government, it is clear that Hansmeier was the driving force behind the entire scheme.

"Paul Hansmeier selected the pornographic movies for his brother to upload based upon how attractive they would be to BitTorrent users, thus deliberately encouraging the piracy Hansmeier pretended to hate", the government writes.

With the IP addresses that were obtained through this honeypot scheme, Prenda requested subpoenas to obtain the names and addresses of internet subscribers. These people were then threatened into settling for figures up to $3,000. Whether they were guilty or not appeared to be irrelevant.

"Hansmeier was generally content to take this step without investigating whether the subscriber was, in fact, the infringer. Hansmeier thus inflicted plenty of pain on persons who did not, in fact, download his pornographic bait", the government writes.

Prenda Law generated roughly $3,000,000 from the fraudulent copyright lawsuits they filed at courts throughout the United States. While it is by no means illegal to go after file sharers, the Prenda attorneys crossed a line by repeatedly lying to or misleading the courts.

Hansmeier filmed and produced many videos himself, leading the court to believe that these were from a third party company. The court was led to believe that pirates caused financial damage, even though the videos were never commercially distributed.

Arguing for a sentence of 150 months, the government writes that Hansmeier "was greedy, arrogant, devious, mendacious, and consistently positioned other people to be damaged by his conduct, even as he enjoyed the proceeds of the scheme he orchestrated."

Hansmeier's attorney counters that his client should spend no more than 87 months in prison, with an additional three years of supervision -- and that there should be no fine since restitution will be paid to those damaged by his scheme.


Last modified on 01 April 2019
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