The Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago houses the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Matt Watts / flickr

Prenda Law, the firm that became controversial as a prolific “copyright troll” by suing thousands with lawsuits over downloading porn movies, has fallen apart over the course of the last year. The organization and the lawyers widely believed to be behind it—John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, and Paul Duffy—have been sanctioned by numerous federal judges.
While Prenda has settled a few cases, most of the Prenda setbacks, including the original hammer-drop from US District Judge Otis Wright, are actually being appealed.
Yesterday, the Prenda lawyers had their first oral argument (audio) on appeal in front of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. It went about as badly as close Prenda-watchers might expect. While it’s dangerous to try to guess the results of an appeal based on questions at oral argument, it doesn’t look good for Prenda. The judges repeatedly challenged the statements of Daniel Voelker—the attorney defending Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy—and that’s when things were going well for the once-vigorous copyright enforcer.
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