The Moral of a Criminal Copyright Troll’s Story: Don’t Be A Stupid, Dishonest Dick

The Moral of a Criminal Copyright Troll’s Story: Don’t Be A Stupid, Dishonest Dick

It’s amazing all the different ways people can make money online these days. From day trading to auctioning off items on eBay, a whole new world of revenue-generating options has opened for us in the Internet Age.

Some of it is starting to remind Calico of her youth, when she collected comic books to read, without realizing they would have collectible value in the future – an oversight she later regretted when she learned the (substantial) difference between “poor” and “mint” condition in terms of items retaining their value.

copyright troll crime

More recently, Calico was stunned to learn that there’s a vibrant market for some items she never thought of as desirable, let alone valuable — like dirty bathwater, for example.

How does one make money selling dirty bathwater? Well, it helps to be a wildly popular social media “influencer” — something Calico decidedly isn’t. Still, if people will pay $43 a pop for jars of dirty bathwater, surely they’d be willing to spend something on the stuff Calico has lying around her place, right?

What sort of new online sales enterprise does Calico have in mind? Find out in her latest post, “The Moral of a Criminal Copyright Troll’s Story: Don’t Be A Stupid, Dishonest Dick!”

by Calico Rudasill, Erotic Movies for Women and Couples

If you’ve heard the names John Steele and Paul Hansmeier, my hunch is its because you’ve read one of the countless articles about his role in a scheme designed to wring easy settlements out of people accused of illegally downloading porn movies – a particularly pernicious form of ‘copyright trolling’ given the stigma attached to watching porn and the embarrassment many people feel if they’re outed as porn viewers.

In Steele and Hansmeier’s case, the bad behavior only started with copyright trolling though; these guys cooked up a scam that went well beyond just threatening to sue people for downloading porn.

Lying to the Court = DUMB

Steele and Hansmeier’s a story is one far too long and winding to address in a single post, but in a press release put out by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota about the 60-month prison sentence just imposed on Steele, there’s a pretty good summary of their sleazetastic ways.

“Steele admitted in court during his plea that he and Hansmeier created a series of sham entities, which they surreptitiously controlled, to obtain copyrights to pornographic movies – some of which they filmed themselves – and then uploaded those movies to file-sharing websites like ‘The Pirate Bay’ in order to lure people to download the movies,” the press release states. “Steele and Hansmeier then filed bogus copyright infringement lawsuits that concealed both their role in distributing the movies, and their personal stake in the outcome of the litigation.” 

That last part there – in which the attorneys didn’t tell the court about “their personal stake in the outcome of the litigation” – that was a major fuck up. 

You see, attorneys are legally required to disclose such things to the court, and if they don’t, the last excuse a court is going to accept from an attorney is “gee, I didn’t know that.” The court will look you right in your beady little lawyer-eyes and shriek: “Well, you sure as shit should have known that, you incompetent little simpleton!”

On the bright side, for any lawyers who want to spend years in prison (Hansmeier got even more time, 14 years, than did Steele), their tales is a handy how-to for any self-destructive litigators out there who are looking for a failed criminal scheme with more entertainment value than merely screwing up a bank robbery.

When the Hole Gets Too Deep… Keep Digging?

At any rate, back to what the U.S. Attorney has to say about Steele and his compadres.

“After filing the lawsuits, the defendants gained authority from the courts to subpoena internet service providers for identification information of the subscriber who controlled the IP address used to download the movie. With that information, the defendants used extortionate tactics such as letters and phone calls to threaten victims with enormous financial penalties and public embarrassment unless they agreed to pay a $3,000 settlement fee.”

Steele and his pals didn’t stop there, though; they upped the ante further still, attempting to bullshit the court further still.

“In October 2012, the defendants changed their tactics and began filing lawsuits falsely alleging that computer systems belonging to their sham clients had been hacked,” according to the press release. “To facilitate their phony ‘hacking’ lawsuits, the defendants recruited individuals who had been caught downloading pornography from a file-sharing website, to act as ruse ‘defendants.’ These ruse defendants agreed to be sued and permit Steele and Hansmeier to conduct early discovery against their supposed ‘co-conspirators’ in exchange for Steele and Hansmeier waiving their settlement fees. During his plea hearing, Steele admitted that the allegations of ‘hacking’ in these complaints were made up.”

Pro Tip: to Maximize Profit from Your Criminal Enterprise, You Must Get Away with the Crime

Prosecutors say Steele and Hansmeier “obtained approximately $3 million from the fraudulent copyright lawsuits” – which isn’t too bad a take for a criminal enterprise, assuming one gets away with said criminal enterprise.

As I see it, one of Steele’s big problems – one not addressed in the Minnesota AG’s press release – is that in addition to copyright trolling, he couldn’t resist doing some straight-up internet trolling while he was it. He engaged with critics on forums dedicated to spreading the word about his mass copyright litigation. He antagonized other attorneys who criticized him. He generally behaved like he was smarter than everyone else, including federal judges – and it turned out he was very, very wrong about that.

Look, I’m not really in the business of advising shitty people how to get away with the crap they pull, but it sure seems obvious to me that if you’re doing something improper, illegal, unethical, dishonest and dumb, it might not be the best idea to go around further riling up people who are already angry at you and/or suspicious that you’re up to no good.

Just a thought – one that Steele and Hansmeier now have plenty of time on their hands to contemplate.

Juicy Adult - Image Ad


If you enjoy a fun and educational approach to sexuality then Erotic Scribes is sure to please. No boring, dry articles here. From Passionate Sex to Smart Porn, the news, articles and opinions on sex-related topics are interesting and entertaining. And the erotic videos and sex toy reviews are designed to enlighten and entertain.

And because Erotic Scribes is designed for women, there's a range of information from mild to wild suited for your individual preference. So check us out, and be amazed at some of the features designed to excite, educate and possibly even surprise you.

Erotic Scribes is the free news and information site published by, the web's destination place for erotica for women, by women.

The views in our op-eds, and news commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of Sssh.Com, its owners or staff and are solely the opinions of the contributing authors & journalists.

Recent Articles

A Very Different Porn Experience

Sex Toys Fantastic For Women and Couples! COUPON CODE SSSH20 for 20% off.

VR Porn For Women!

vr porn for women

Explicit Erotica Exquisitely Done explicit erotica exquisitely done Erotic Cinema For Discerning Adults boodigo adult porn search Anonymous Adult Search
Female Friendly Live Cams

Polls & Quizes

Related articles