Down the Rabbit Hole – Prenda/Steele/Hansmeier Wonderland

1 Aug 14 Update

On 31 Jul 14, the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled on the Appeal of PAUL DUFFY, JOHN STEELE, and PAUL HANSMEIER concerning the Lightspeed Media Corporation case against Anthony Smith (Nos. 13‐3801 and 14‐1682).   LightspeedAppealRuling   The appeal did not go well for the Prenda gang – it was denied.  Go Figure.  You know it isn’t going to be good for Prenda when the Chief Judge starts off with this.

WOOD, Chief Judge. The first rule of holes, according to an old saying, is to stop digging. The two appeals before us bring that to mind, for reasons that will become apparent. 

Here is the bottom line from the Appeals Court.

Appellants’ burden in each of these proceedings was high and the record supports the district court’s holdings that they did not meet it. Any arguments that we have not discussed do not merit separate attention. We AFFIRM the order of sanctions imposed against appellants in No. 13‐3801.  We also AFFIRM the order in No. 14‐1682 holding appellants in civil contempt and imposing the stated fine. Costs of appeal are to be taxed against appellants jointly and severally.  See FED. R. APP. P. 39(a).

I was also paid a very nice complement by the court when my 28 Feb 2012 article was cited in the decision (Page 23-24) concerning how public documents supported the decision that “… service on Duffy also accomplished service on Steele and Hansmeier.

See also DieTrollDie, “Down the Rabbit Hole – Prenda/Steele/Hansmeier Wonderland,” (Feb. 28, 2012), available at‐the‐rabbit‐holeprendasteelehansmeier‐wonderland/.

Little more need be said. We are disappointed that the appellants’ own attorney, Daniel J. Voelker, was either unable or unwilling to tell us at oral argument about the precise relationship between Prenda and Alpha Law, despite its relevance for the issues on appeal.

Here is a Techdirt article on the decision – Appeals Court Smacks Down Team Prenda… Again.

DieTrollDie 🙂


Doing a little research and I came upon some of the Florida company registration documents used by Prenda/Steele/Hansmeier.   I’m no expert on FL law concerning company registration, but it appears FL requires any foreign (Non-FL based) company (Corp., LLC, etc.) doing business in FL to register with the State.  What I found is a strange bit of wonderland.  It even looks like our good friend Mark Lutz has graduated from Call-Boy to Registered Biatch.

The first document is the 22 Sep 11, Application for Steele Hansmeier PLLC, to transact business in FL.  The business address is listed as 1111 Lincoln Road, Suite 400, Miami Beach, FL 33139.  Paul Hansmeier is listed as the member/authorized representative of Steele/Hansmeier PLLC.  Mark Lutz is listed as the agent for Steele Hansmeier.  A copy of the MN State Certificate of Good Standing, for Steele Hansmeier PLLC (file # 3976619-2), 15 Sep 11, is attached.  FL_Steele_Hans_22Sep11

*** Here is a 28 Feb 12, screenshot from the FL Div of Corporations Web site.  Steele Hansmeier PLLC was changed to “Inactive” on 27 Feb 12 (Yesterday).  Surprise surprise.  😉  ***

The second document is the 9 Nov 11, Application for Prenda Law Inc., to transact business in FL.  Prenda Law asks the FL Division of Corporations to direct all correspondence on this matter to: Paul Duffy, 1111 Lincoln Road, Suite 400, Miami Beach, FL 33139,, (305) 748-2012.  The form lists the following out of State address: 161 N. Clark Street, Suite 3200, Chicago, IL 60601.  Paul Duffy is listed in the following positions for Prenda Law:  Chairman, President, and Treasure (Chicago, IL address).  The FL registered agent for Prenda Law is Mark Lutz, 1111 Lincoln Road, Suite 400, Miami Beach, FL 33139.  A copy of the IL State Certificate of Good Standing, for Prenda Law (file # 6821-218-9), 8 Nov 11, is attached.  FL_Prenda Law_9Nov11

The last document is the For Profit Corporation Annual Report for Prenda Law, 3 Jan 12, with Paul Duffy and Mark Lutz as officer/director and registered agent.  FL_Prenda_Profit_2012

What I didn’t find was anything on 6881 Forensics LLC, in the State of FL.  I wonder if they are required by FL law to be registered in the States to provide support to the Prenda cases?  Hopefully some of the FL Copyright Defense Lawyers can chime in on this question.

A search of Steele Hansmeier in MN State Web site disclosed that Steele Hansmeier PLLC, is an “inactive” (terminated) PLLC, as of 13 Jan 12.  The registered office address for Steele Hansmeier is 80 S. 8th Street, Str # 900, Minneapolis, MN 55402 – Alpha Law Firm.

A search of Alpha Law Firm in the MN State Web site disclosed that Alpha Law Firm was initially filed as a LLC, on 22 Jan 10.  Paul Hansmeier is listed as the manager, with an address of 80 S. 8th Street, Str # 900, Minneapolis, MN 55402.  Alpha Law Firm is an “active” LLC, with a recent renewal date of 27 Feb 12.

I’m not sure exactly what is going on, but it sure looks like a shell-game.  Someone may have to make a complaint to the Florida Secretary of State that Steele Hansmeier PLLC, is no longer in good standing with the MN Secretary of State, as the LLC has been dissolved.

If anyone has additional information concerning these companies and/or actors, please send me an email or make a post.

DietrollDie 🙂

About 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 -
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30 Responses to Down the Rabbit Hole – Prenda/Steele/Hansmeier Wonderland

  1. trolltrash says:

    This is exactly the kind of details that lead to troubles with trolls cases & ultimately the trolls demise. When Steele commented on here about the “crack legal minds and freetards” we are no different than researchers or amateur para-legals. These small potential discoveries (example: practicing business or law without a license) can and Im sure do piss the trolls off and make it harder to conduct their scams. They are supposed to be professional then they better be professional. HoIding to a high standard. Mr Steele is quite annoyed to have “freetards” picking at his cases. You better have your shit together in Florida because they are strict on licenses and business matters. They want their money and are have no mercy when it comes to these areas. FL is not Illinois and Miami is not Chicago so he had better have some good corrupt connections.

  2. bah says:

    send em an email

    Secretary of State
    Florida Department of State
    R. A. Gray Building
    500 South Bronough Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

    Telephone: 850.245.6500
    Fax: 850.245.6125

  3. Porno Doe says:

    wonder if the “Freetard” cares to comment? He must be busy preparing for all the counterclaims that are headed his way!

    Yes, get your shit together, shit head! And put a shorter leach on your Sub-trolls! They seem to be getting their shit “dropped kicked into the garbage” more and more often.

  4. trolltrash says:

    “Somebody acted pretty fast to correct this”
    This proves Steele is probably checking the posts daily. Obviously to see what kind of trouble is headed his way. It also proves this blog is functioning and it is annoying him. If he is checking this blog he is also checking daily on So much for “freetards and crack legal minds”. More torpedoes please.

    • Porno Doe says:

      Full speed ahead!

    • says:

      No doubt. Do you really think Steele would pop in here and heckle people for filing MTQs and listening to DTD and SJD if it was playing into his hand? He has a fiduciary duty to his clients so if this advice was hurting Does, and John came in and gave Does advice that benefits Does rather than his clients, he would open himself up to liability.

      I have several friends who are attorneys, and while they differ from Copyright Trolls in being sane and respectable, I am always struck by how they are extremely careful about what they say when it might be construed as legal advice. Even when people ask questions that are seemingly innocent or merely curiosity about legal matters in the news, good attorneys are always careful about what they say. It amazes me that any attorney involved in any litigation would pop up on message boards to interact with potential defendants. It really shows the desperation and hubris at work.

      These guys are taking the path of least resistance, so only doing the minimum to keep out of trouble. Notice how they got careful about filing cases where the works are actually registered after a bunch of posters started calling them out for fraudulent claims for statutory damages, even before incidents like the Wong case where a Doe actually raised the issue is court filings.

      With the exception of getting the jump on Does with initiating the scam, these guys will always be a step behind and their compounded carelessness will be their undoing.

  5. Wolf Kluwer says:

    total scum. there’s a mug shot company that hides behind also. registered agents are the cause of the problem.

  6. CTVic says:

    I seem to recall that 6881 was Petey Hansmeier’s faux “tech” corp after he deep sixed MCG. Must’ve been from the days that the terrible trio would rub 2 brain cells together to come up with a clever LLC shell company name – seeing as 6881 is a signature port for bit torrent.

    Their listed address in FL is either a total shell company sham, or they share office space with a lot of interesting people in Ste 400. There’s some hospitality management groups, staffing agencies, some wine tasting association. Window salesmen, talent agencies and a couple of dentists. A few web developers, skin care, real estate/mortgage brokers, energy consultants, psychiatrists and a boarding school.
    Oh yeah, it’s apparently also a top destination for H1B Visa address transfers! So there’s a whole shit-ton of temporary immigrants living there too, if you’re ever in the market for some cheap labor.
    Hell, finding John Steele may have just turned into Where’s Waldo.

  7. Raul says:

    It would also appear that 6881 may be subject to Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services licensing auspices because it is gathering evidence to be used in civil litigation. I am on a ski vacacation so I cant’ post the link (using the iPad) but it is Section 493 of the Florida Statutes.

  8. Raul says:

    Section 493 pertains to private investigators which 6881 is for all intents and purposes.

  9. Raul says:

    I wonder if 6881 would need to be licensed in all the states that have similar statutes where Prenda files suit?

  10. Raul says:

    Seems logical.

    • Anonymous says:

      Makes sense. One of the allegations in the Wong and Abrahams complaints against Hard Drive Productions, Inc. is the use of investigators who are not licensed in California.

      If these crooks didn’t even bother to apply for copyright registration for 7 months following the alleged infringement in the Abrahams Doe case, why would they have their paperwork in order for their “investigators”?

  11. Pingback: Prenda Law makes the classified number of actually served defendants public « Fight Copyright Trolls

  12. Some Guy says:

    Somebody else is going on the offensive against Hard Drive Productions.

  13. Raul says:

    LOoks like it is Seth Abrahams v. Hard Drive Productions in the Northern District of California (12-cv-01066) Whois being represented by none other thanSteven Yuen.

  14. Raul says:

    DTD or SJD-Have you seen the complaint? I can’t access anything but the first page of a Pacer document and forget about using RECAP. It has to be a different set of facts?

  15. Raul says:

    IPads are useless with Pacer documents.

  16. Raul says: has a summary of the lawsuit and, once again, it looks like Prenda is good and fucked!

  17. Raul says:

    Thanks, but I do not trust this gizmo to service. Nonetheless, a cause of action against Prneda for defamation in using its website to coerce settlements by alleging certain individuals are pirates?! If true I hope Premda has “deep pockets”.

    • The defamation clause is because wefightpiracy labeled 25 defendants as “Top Pirates”. I’m not a fan of suine anyone for “defamation” (what’s a proper modern name for it: “butthurt”?) as I believe that the only way to respond to speech is with more speech regardless, but still for a “lawyer” it was a dumb move.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree many “defamation” suits these days are garbage (like a celebrity or politician suing a satirist because they don’t like a parody). But let’s be clear about what Prenda was doing.

        They publicly accused Abrahams of being a criminal, while pressuring him to pay them to stop publicly accusing him of being a criminal. This is the definition of blackmail, and Prenda’s profit motive makes it absolutely inexcusable; I hope Yuen hears from every person named as one of Prenda’s Top Pirates and each and every one of them sues Prenda for all they are worth (which we now know is up to $54 million). Think about that, there were at least 25 Top Pirates, and now every one of them is another potential lawsuit against these chumps.

        This is what libel and defamation laws are for, not for threatening someone who disagrees with you.

      • My statement looks a bit ambiguous: by “lawyer” I meant Steele of course, and “dumb move” was about labeling people he files complaints against as already liable, prior to any hearing or judgement.

      • And yes, Prenda’s actions are clearly defamatory, but as a whole, not only because of this “top pirates” blooper – here I agree since Steele acts in bad faith all the time.

        If anyone calls me a “pirate” or even uses some strong terms (including lies), I would never even consider pursuing him/her in court – I find it disgusting. But if someone tries to methodically destroy my reputation and knowingly puts me in a situation where I can’t afford fighting back… just to extort valuables from me, that’s actionable, and the scumbag should be crashed hard.

      • DieTrollDie says:

        Agree. I will just have to climb out of my Mom’s basement first (after I take care of business – wink wink) before I blog some more.

        DTD 🙂

  18. Pingback: Prenda’s first oral arguments in front of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals: a picture is worth a thousand words | Fight Copyright Trolls

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