Friday, July 19, 2013

Great Larks, Pip

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.  Nonetheless, I have been following, with great glee, the saga of Prenda Law on various sites such as Arstechnica and Popehat.

For those of you who have better things to do with their time than watch judges slice and dice lawyers, Prenda Law are a charming group of well-educated sociopaths who developed and then implemented what seemed to them a can’t-lose business model.

1. Upload porn flicks to various sites like Pirate Bay and Bit Torrent
2. Track down who downloaded them, and
3. Hit the downloadee with a copyright-infringement lawsuit.

This was always followed by an offer to settle for a few thousand dollars, Prenda correctly assuming that most people would rather fork over that amount than have to go to court and risk everyone in their immediate circle of friends and relatives finding out they were making illegal copies of “Debbie Does Dallas XXIIV.”

These enterprising individuals (based in Chicago, which for some reason does not surprise me) unfortunately went to the well once too often, and their last trip involved filing a suit – if I am remembering correctly, and I’m probably not – against a father for some porn his teenage son allegedly downloaded.

Pop fought back, and Prenda’s house of cards started to tumble.   In fact, it quickly began to resemble something left over from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as evidence of all kinds of skullduggery began creeping out into the open.

I started to get interested when the case landed in a circuit court in California presided over by a bespectacled, benign-looking gentleman named Otis Wright.  In addition to a fondness for bow ties, which of course immediately won me over, Judge Wright was in a previous lifetime a Marine.  

I have seen judges who came to bench via Parris Island in action before, so I decided that this bore watching.  I have not been disappointed.

Judge Wright has a quirky sense of humor, as evidenced when he issued an opinion that not only handed Prenda their collective asses on a platter, but did so in a document that was rife with Star Trek references.  How can one not admire a judge who quotes the Wrath of Khan?

The luckless Prenderasts immediately began defending themselves and in the process showed that they were not only terrible lawyers (one of their filings invoked the recent marriage equality decision as a reason not to rule against them.  Wait, what?) but really, really, really stupid.

The head of the firm shouted at Judge Wright.  In his court.  During a hearing.  

Poking a Federal judge with a sharp stick during your appeal is unwise.  Poking a Federal judge who in addition is a former Marine rates about an eight on a scale of one to fatal.

1 comment:

PepperReed said...

Yay for the Honorable Mr. Bowtie!