Prenda Law Seeded Porn Files, Affidavit Says

Jun 4, 2013 11:00 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — A new court filing submitted by a porn BitTorrent defense attorney accuses Prenda Law of seeding the same files the law firm claims to protect.

Prenda Law and its principals have earned millions in legal settlements through the years as they exacted payments from thousands of defendants accused of illegally sharing porn through torrents.

But in April they were hit with $81,000 in sanctions after a federal judge said that the firm "outmaneuvered the legal system."

In addition to monetary sanctions the firm’s principals were referred to state and federal bar disciplinary panels, as well as federal prosecutors and the IRS. The judge also ordered the notification of “all judges before whom these attorneys have pending cases.”

Now, it appears, Prenda Law’s murky business plan may have another dynamic, according to TorrentFreak.

In a court filing this week, defense lawyer Graham Syfert said that Prenda and its chief architect, John Steele, have been accused of running a “honeypot” based on an expert’s analysis over IP addresses. The author of the report, Delvan Neville, specializes in monitoring BitTorrent users.

According to Neville, many of the torrents in Prenda lawsuits originate from a user on The Pirate Bay called “Sharkmp4.”

Neville’s report describe many connections between Sharkmp4, the tracking company, and Prenda Law, including ties to a Comcast IP address to Steele’s GoDaddy account.

The same IP address is connected with Ingenuity 13 (one of the litigating porn companies) whose work was shared by Sharkmp4 before it was commercially available, Neville elaborates.

“It appears from all the evidence that John Steele (or someone under his control or with access to his GoDaddy account records with authorization to make changes to domain names) is the most probable candidate for the identity of Pirate Bay user Sharkmp4,” Neville said.

In the filing, Syfert is asking for $45,000 in attorneys fees against First Time Videos, which is being represented by Prenda Law in a piracy suit against an individual.

  

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