Judge tells troll about copyright: “No”, he can’t keep filing piracy lawsuits from prison

Justice served: The judge told the co-founder of the front copyright trolling firm Prenda Law that he could not continue to file piracy lawsuits from his prison cell. It seems like nothing, but the lawyer’s ultimate goal is to prove that the laws keeping him in jail are “unconstitutional” so he should be released.

Disgraced Prenda Law attorney Paul Hansmeier is serving a 14-year sentence for copyright fraud he confessed guilty in 2018. He has since filed some law actions from a prison cell so as not to serve his term.

Hansmeier’s latest ploy was to file a motion in the US District Court in Minnesota, the same court that had convicted him. asking for a preliminary injunction against the government to enforce fraud and money laundering laws against it. The stated goal is to allow him to continue filing copyright infringement cases while incarcerated by hiring a private detective to do the legwork.

Of course, that’s what landed him in jail in the first place. In essence, he is asking the court not to recognize his conviction, which is under appeal, to prevent him from defending his copyrights and those of his clients.

Hansmeier co-founded Prenda with John Steel, and together they created a business model for settling fictitious copyright claims for about $3,000. Up until 2013, Prenda Law uploaded pornographic videos to sites like The Pirate Bay and then sued the thousands of people who downloaded the content.

Hansmeier’s six-page proposal promises his future trials will not be of the same magnitude and will not involve pornography. Instead, he suggests he will go after fewer clients and sue people who “pirate” material such as “poetry.” He claims that failure to grant an injunction violates his First Amendment rights.

“Hansmeier is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction because Hansmeier has lost his First Amendment freedoms. In particular, Hansmeier is prohibited from participating in activities protected by the First Amendment. Hansmeier’s proposed copyright activity is protected by the petition clause of the First Amendment. , which “defends the rights of individuals to apply to the courts and other institutions established by the government to resolve legal disputes.”

While there is no law preventing a prisoner from filing a lawsuit of any kind from prison, there are obvious concerns about allowing Hansmeier to continue running his business, given the nature of his conviction. All it took was a district court. one paragraph say “no” in accordance with the case law Devose v. Herrington, 1994.

Summing up and reformulating Hansmeier’s request, Judge Joan N. Eriksen said: “Defendant’s motion for a preliminary injunction [Docket No. 270] denied. THIS IS SO ORDERED [emphasis hers].

Hansmeier filed at least 16 movements to court while awaiting an appeal hearing, including applying for a commuted sentence (two years) for alleged prison maltreatment. In that he argued that the jailers locked him in solitary confinement for five months, limited him to only one phone call to his family a month, denied him a newspaper, and did not allow him to make confidential calls between a lawyer and a client. This request was also denied.

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