It gets better. Wright found that Prenda pretended to have carried out exhaustive investigations, but filed nearly identical complaints in each of the thousands of cases. When pressed for proof of copyright violations, it falsified evidence about the alleged porn swappers. It assigned copyright for one porn epic to Steele's gardener, making him CEO of one of its bogus shell companies by forging his signature on the legal documents.
All rise for the Trekkie judge
The best part? Aside from its scathing tone, Wright's decision is peppered with "Star Trek" references. It begins with a quote from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and includes this gem:
Though Plaintiffs boldly probe the outskirts of law, the only enterprise they resemble is RICO. The federal agency eleven decks up is familiar with their prime directive and will gladly refit them for their next voyage.
Or he could just transport them all into the nearest black hole. As Popehat blogger Ken Smith White writes:
Referring to the U.S. Attorney's Office and the IRS's [Criminal Investigation Division] is like siccing both the Klingons and the Romulans on Prenda, except that the Romulans have a somewhat better grasp of due process than IRS CID.
The entire history of this case is just as fun, if you have a week or so free to read it. In this space opera, Prenda is less like the Borg and more like the Ferengi.
Of course, Prenda has vowed to appeal. But what else would you expect from a bunch of guys who called the Electronic Frontier Foundation a "left-wing terrorist group" for helping some of Prenda's victims? There might yet be a sequel, but it doesn't look like Prenda Law is likely to live long or prosper.
Prenda Law -- phasers set on stun or kill? Issue your judgments below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Copyright trolls feel wrath of Khan, Klingons, Romulans, and Starfleet," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.