End of the Prenda Phantom Doe (#7), AF Holdings LLC, v. Josh Hatfield, 4:12-cv-02049 (CA)

I suppose I could have also titled this post “The Sinking of the SS Prenda.”  Hi John! ;) You Probably don’t even know why I like this case and how you have failed.

The bright minds at Prenda Law decided to copy Marc Randazza and try to use the State claim of negligence as an “end-run” around the Copyright Law.  {please see the links to my previous posts on this case below}

On 4 Sep 12, Judge Phyllis Hamilton, Northern District of California, ruled on Joshua Hatfield’s (via attorney Nicholas Ranallo) Motion to Dismiss.   Order Granting Hatfield MTD

Hatfield argues that the negligence cause of action must be dismissed for failure to state a claim, for three reasons – because the complaint does not allege facts sufficient to support the elements of the claim; because the negligence claim is preempted by § 301 of the Copyright Act; and because it is barred by immunity under the Communications 12 Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230.

The court decided to grant the Motion to Dismiss because,

  1. There was NO duty or special relationship between Plaintiff and Mr. Hatfield.
  2. The Copyright Act preempted the negligence claim.
  • The court also stated the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), 47 U.S.C. § 230, appears to grant immunity in this instance, but in light of the lack of duty and copyright preemption, a full ruling on this question is not necessary.

… CDA § 230(c)(1) “immunizes providers of interactive computer services (service providers) and their users from causes of action asserted by persons alleging harm caused by content provided by a third party.”

The court here believes the CDA provides immunity to a defendant when a third-party (Phantom Doe) uses their Internet connection to commit copyright infringement.  This is not a full ruling, but it lends the courts weight to any future use of the CDA in these matters.

The court told Plaintiff they have until 5 Oct 12, to serve the remaining unknown Doe or the case against him will be dismissed without prejudice.  As a last comment, the judge denied the motion by the EFF to file an Amicus brief on this case.

What Is Next?

As the Prenda Tugboat sank just the same as the Randazza one, the negligence claim is really taking a beating.  What is further going to hurt any future negligence claims is the CDA immunity issue.  I’m sure this is going to be revisited by other Doe defenders.

As far as what Mr. Hatfield and Mr. Ranallo do after the dismissal, only time will tell.  I think there are going be some aspects of this case to report on in the future.  ;)

Until then, please enjoy some classic rock as the ship goes down.

DieTrollDie :)

*** Here is a 11 Sep 12, Article on Courthousenews.com, “No Duty to Shield Online Connection From Pirates ***

Link to previous posts on this case

About John Doe (DieTrollDie)

I'm one of the many 'John Does' (200,000+ & growing in the US) who Copyright Trolls have threatened with a civil law suit unless they are paid off. What is a Copyright Troll? Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation link - http://www.eff.org/issues/copyright-trolls
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19 Responses to End of the Prenda Phantom Doe (#7), AF Holdings LLC, v. Josh Hatfield, 4:12-cv-02049 (CA)

  1. Subscribe says:

    Subscribe :)
    Doubt the cap’n had enough honor to drown with his rusty ass boat.

  2. Raul says:

    Fantastic news to start the day, it would be great if the CDA was used in the Doe+”co-conspirators” lawsuits.

  3. The Tod says:

    The Pretenda Law boat looks alittle old. It was/is time to put it to rest.

  4. Irritated Troll Hater says:

    Great news!!! Congrats to Mr. Hatfield.

    Oh… what’s that Prenda? Just another bump in the road you say? Hmmmmm, how many more bumps are in front of you until you have a smooth ride? Oh yea…. many more. Many more. No smooth ride for you as for that road don’t exist!!!

    Down with all Trolls

  5. DieTrollDie says:

    It is funny, at the Prenda Law Web site they still have the Hatfield case listed. Of course there is no mention of the ruling on their Web site. :)

    DTD :)

    • Irritated Troll Hater says:

      I noticed that the other day. I also noticed that they have updates that were in their favor, but nothing showing defeat. I guess they don’t want to publicize their losses. Me personally, I would rather know if a firm sucks or not by them listing their wins and losses. At least it would show where their strengths are. But, Prenda’s ego is way too big to post anything negative about themselves on their page.

      I was wondering though…. Why don’t they list their attorney’s? The only one is Duffy. They also mention that they have affiliated attorney’s through out the country in almost every state I believe.

      Anyway, their website is just as poor as their courtroom presence.

      Down with all Trolls

  6. that anonymous coward says:

    Prenda takes it to the teeth, Randazza runs from a case… life is good…

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  8. Irritated Troll Hater says:

    So, as I’m sitting here watching football, I got a call from Miami! I could tell by the 305 area code. But I noticed the caller ID said Credit Services. Now, if these trolls are ‘lawyers’, why doesn’t their firm name show on the ID? Is a credit company used to mask their identity to get people to answer? I haven’t checked my voice mails in many months and I’m sure that I have missed some important messages. I guess a part of me is still a little scared of even listening to their messages, though I shouldn’t be. Any insight as to why they hide their ID would be helpful to me, just for knowledge. Appreciated guys!

    Down with all Trolls

    • DieTrollDie says:

      They may hide their identity to hope you will pick up. That or depending on who your Plaintiff is, it may be a collection agency. This is a business and it makes sense to outsource some of their efforts. I would say there is no reason to be scared of these Bozos – at least to answer the telephone. The Richard Pryor Response is great as it gives them nothing to use and shows you are not a good target for a default judgement.

      DTD :)

  9. DieTrollDie says:

    Thanks Raul – *** Here is a 11 Sep 12, Article on Courthousenews.com, “No Duty to Shield Online Connection From Pirates” *** – http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/09/11/50160.htm

    DTD :)

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