Real Lawyer or Scammer? The Mystery of Hank St. James, Esq.

Noir Nation has been following the story of a large group of indie writers who, acting out of a profound ignorance of their own legal agreements with Amazon and Barnes & Noble, attacked a legally authorized eBook lending site run by a disabled Army veteran named Dale Porter.  (click here for background information).

Since then, some of those writers have apologized for their libelous smears and fraudulent DMCA takedown notices; while others — at least one of whom is associated with the LexiCon Writer’s Conference where some of this started — have thrown up gorilla dust hoping that no one actually notices that they regret nothing but the blowback for their tortious smears (see here).

The story has now taken a sharp turn into the outright bizarre. Dale Porter received an e-mail from a person calling himself Hank St. James, who claims to be an attorney representing the copyright holders of a long list of books credited to 39 writers (see list of books and URLs here).

In the communication that Porter received, St. James 1) states under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law that the information contained in his notification is accurate and that he is authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holders for the material in question 2) requests that Porter remove or disable access to the material as it appears on his service in as expedient a fashion as possible and 3) offers his lawyer’s e-mail address as and his legal mailing address as:

Hank St. James, Attorney
246 Main St.
Wilkes Barre, PA 18706

Here is the mystery:

A search of Pennsylvania attorneys shows that there is no attorney by that name in Pennsylvania. A search of the county property records shows no such address. A simple search of the Gmail address shows that someone named Jack can be contacted with it, and that over 100 DMCA takedown requests are associated with that same address. Oddest of all, given his expertise in digital piracy, Pirate Sinker does not seem to know very much about viruses and antivirus software.


2 thoughts on “Real Lawyer or Scammer? The Mystery of Hank St. James, Esq.

  1. Thanks, Stephen. I am not an attorney but I did work as a reporter for American Lawyer Media. Part of my job there was to track down lawyers for interviews. Practicing lawyers were always easy to find, so were those who were disbarred. If no record of a lawyer can be found, it may be that there’s no lawyer.

    As for the 39 writers this fellow claims to represent — assuming they in fact retained him — they would be liable for damages under the DMCA.

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