(credit: Steele Law Firm)
One of the attorneys behind the Prenda Law “copyright trolling” scheme has pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering.
After years of denial, John Steele admitted Monday that he and co-defendant Paul Hansmeier made more than $6 million by threatening Internet users with copyright lawsuits.
It’s perfectly legal to sue Internet pirates—but not the way Steele did it.
Steele and Hansmeier set up “sham entities” to get copyrights to pornographic movies, “some of which they filmed themselves,” according to the Department of Justice’s statement on the plea. Steele and Hansmeier then uploaded those movies to file-sharing websites such as The Pirate Bay, and then sued the people who downloaded the content.
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