A notorious copyright troll specializing in using pornography as bait, Prenda Law's Paul Hansmeier, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by a US court.

And this sentence came as part of the plea agreements signed both by Hansmeier and another Prenda lawyer who stood accused in the case, John Steele.

Steele will find out next month how long he will spend in prison.

Hansmeier will also have to pay $1.5 million back to his victims, announced the judge, who picked the 14-year sentence despite the prosecutor recommending 12.5 years.

The judge made her distaste for the defendant obvious when she told Hansmeier that the extent to which his abuse of trust harmed the administration of justice was “almost incalculable.”

It inflicted harm, the judge continued “like a wrecking ball to the trust and confidence people have in the administration of justice,” Boing Boing writes citing James Renken, who live-tweeted the sentencing.

The US Department of Justice accused Hansmeier and Steele of committing crimes such as money laundering, perjury, and mail and wire fraud, finding out that their company had engaged in identity theft, entrapment, and fraud.

The way the pair extracted money from their victims was through settlements that would make alleged copyright infringement go away and allow the people accused of it to avoid costly legal procedures. These are the people Hansmeier will now have to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

Prenda Law did not merely go after copyright infringers – the firm actively worked on “creating” them by uploading torrents of pornographic content to websites such as the Pirate Bay, to then go after the people who downloaded the videos – or were accused of having done that. And these porn videos were produced by Hansmeier himself, the court discovered.

As the judge noted, Hansmeier by and large didn't bother investigating “whether the subscriber was, in fact, the infringer” thus catching innocent and uninvolved people in his net.

The scheme started to unravel in 2015, when the FBI had the co-founders of the Pirate Bay questioned in Sweden, in connection with Prenda Law's activities on the website, i.e., the torrents they were uploading to serve as “honeypots.”

The lawyer-turned-fraudster tried to get released on bail, but the request was denied.


Sponsor:

Use The Fastest Browser That Doesn’t Track You

Blocks ads. Blocks tracking. Keeps you and your data private. Free and open source. Up to 8 times faster page loads than Chrome and Safari. Join the Brave revolution today.

>> Use Brave To Browse The Web Faster, In Private <<

-----

The internet needs your voice more than ever.

We’re on a quest to encourage as many people as possible to start their own website. To make it easy, we’ve created a start a blog step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to set one up in 30 minutes using open-source technology. Follow our tutorial for a heavy hosting discount and free domain name!