A Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals judge has tossed an appeal by the masterminds behind the notorious Prenda Law copyright trolling activity.
The shakedown worked like this: file-sharing sites were salted with grumble flicks, and downloaders were identified and threatened with the double-whammy of a lawsuit and exposure, so as to persuade them to open their wallets.
Prenda Law wasn't just hunting down its unfortunate targets: it emerged in 2013 that it was also in charge of planting the skin flicks for users to find.
Cases against the principals of the scheme have dragged on, with a Star Trek-themed smackdown in 2013, orders to repay victims, and bankruptcy for one of the lawyers, Paul Hansmeier in December.
The current appeal was against the fines imposed in 2013 by closet Trekkie Judge Otis Wright, and the three-judge appeals court has given Hansmeier, John Steele, Paul Duffy a 12-page flea in the ear.
Upholding completely Judge Wright's 2013 decision, finding that The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding bad faith and sanctioning the Prenda Principals under its inherent power ; and that the Prenda Principals were found contradicting themselves, evading questioning, and possibly committing identity theft and fraud on the courts .