Los Angeles federal courthouse Kansas Sebastian John Steele, the lawyer many point to as the mastermind behind the Prenda Law p**n-trolling enterprise, has remained pretty quiet in the wake of Prenda’s troubles.
At an April hearing in US District Judge Otis Wright’s court, he kept silent, pleading the Fifth and refusing to answer any questions. Wright went ahead and bench-slapped Steele and Prenda with an opinion laced with Star Trek references. But today Steele spoke, in front of Wright, for the first time.
After Steele and his comrades had filed a set of motions insisting they had never received the relevant sanctions papers, Wright insisted that Steele fly out to Los Angeles and make that argument in person.
And he showed up. It would seem like the last place Steele would want to be.
In the wake of Wright’s April ruling, which included an $81,000 sanction and a referral to criminal investigators, Prenda Law has become the most notorious of the so-called “copyright trolling” operations that have sprouted up in the last few years. Like the others, Prenda’s business depends on mass-suing thousands of BitTorrent users, alleging they broke copyright law in illegally downloading certain p**n titles. 6