Steele v. Godfread

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.


Threat Type: 










Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

This action is closely linked to two other threats in the database: Prenda Law v. Godfread and Duffy v. Godfread. All related filings can be found in the database entry for Prenda Law v. Godfread. Plaintiff... read full description

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Paul Godfread, Alan Cooper, and Does 1-10

Type of Party: 


Type of Party: 


Location of Party: 

  • Florida

Location of Party: 

  • Minnesota

Legal Counsel: 

Bradford A. Patrick

This action is closely linked to two other threats in the database: Prenda Law v. Godfread and Duffy v. Godfread. All related filings can be found in the database entry for Prenda Law v. Godfread.

Plaintiff John Steele is an attorney affiliated with a law firm (Prenda Law, Inc.) that has been representing clients in numerous plaintiff-side copyright cases concerning the sharing of movies over the BitTorrent protocol. These cases have been brought on behalf of several different asserted rightsholders, including the entities AF Holdings LLC and Ingenuity 13 LLC. According to a statement made by attorney Brett Gibbs, who identified himself as Of Counsel to Prenda Law, both AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 are incorporated in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The defendant in one proceeding initiated by Prenda Law has alleged that these entities are shell companies, and that the attorneys bringing the lawsuits own some or all of the these companies.

Multiple filings in these proceedings have included the signature of an "Alan Cooper," who has been identified as a principal of both AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13. On November 29, 2012, an Alan Cooper, through his attorney Paul Godfread, filed a letter with two federal judges in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, stating that he had reason to believe that John Steele and Prenda Law were using his name on filings related to these lawsuits without his permission, and that he is not in any way affiliated with AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13. On January 23, 2013, Cooper (through Godfread) sued John Steele, Prenda Law, AF Holdings, and Ingenuity 13 for invasion of privacy and violation of Minnesota's deceptive trade practices statute in the Minnesota District Court for the Fourth Judicial District.

On February 24, 2013, Steele sued Cooper, his attorney, and 10 unnamed defendants for defamation, false light, tortious interference, and civil conspiracy in the Florida Circuit Court for the 11th judicial circuit. Nearly identical complaints were filed by Prenda Law attorney Paul Duffy in the Illinois Circuit Court for Cook County and by Prenda Law in the Illinois Circuit Court for St. Clair county. All three complaints allege that Cooper and Godfread have falsely accused the respective plaintiffs of committing crimes and frauds, in both statements online and filings before the Minnesota courts. The complaints identify dozens of statements that are alleged to have been made on different online fora about Prenda Law and its members. 

All three of these cases were removed to federal courts: the United States District Courts for the the Southern District of Florida, the Southern District of Illinois, and the Northern District of Illinois, respectively. On March 6, 2013, John Steele voluntarily dismissed the complaint in the Florida action. The two Illinois actions are still pending. Further updates on those cases can be found at Prenda Law v. Godfread and Duffy v. Godfread.


Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 


Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • False Light
Court Information & Documents


  • Florida

Source of Law: 

  • Florida

Court Name: 

Florida Circuit Court, 11th Judicial Circuit (Miami-Dade County); United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Court Type: 


Case Number: 

No. 13-6608CA (Miami-Dade County); No. 1:13-cv-20744 (S.D. Fla.)