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RIAA Seeks Web Removal of Courtroom Audio 138

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the afraid-people-might-see-what-they-are-up-to dept.
suraj.sun writes to tell us that the RIAA has asked a federal judge to order the removal of what they are calling "unauthorized and illegal recordings" by Harvard University's Charles Nesson of pretrial hearings and depositions in a file-sharing lawsuit. "The case concerns former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, who Nesson is defending in an RIAA civil lawsuit accusing him of file-sharing copyrighted music. Jury selection is scheduled in three weeks, in what is shaping up to be the RIAA's second of about 30,000 cases against individuals to reach trial. The labels, represented by the RIAA, on Monday cited a series of examples in which they accuse Nesson of violating court orders and privacy laws by posting audio to his blog or to the Berkman site."
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RIAA Seeks Web Removal of Courtroom Audio

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  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:50PM (#28600257) Homepage Journal
    As much as I dislike the RIAA, the law is with this one in this case. Even worse is that Nesson has acknowledged the fact,

    He labeled as âoegobbledygookâ the felony privacy law that is punishable by up to five years in prison.

    but has blatantly said that he's going to refuse to comply with what the law says. That's like acknowledging that your source of evidence for convictions gets its information illegally [arstechnica.com], but you still choose to use it. Not that I know anyone who'd do that, but just saying.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't see how information presented in court is somehow private information.
      It should simply be public information to begin with.

      If all court information was private, what stops someone from being sentenced with this private information?
      IE: Defendant is charged with a crime, court starts trial, no information on trial, bam -- defendant is guilty ??

      So why so much privacy?
      RIAA trying to hide the payouts or what?

      • by fishbowl (7759) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:32PM (#28600763)

        >I don't see how information presented in court is somehow private information.

        There are situations where disclosures can obstruct justice, harm individuals, or violate rights.

        • by icebike (68054)

          But this isn't one of the.

          WIKILEAKS!!!

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          And that's why you have sealed documents/evidence and "in camera" (no recording) court sessions, why do you think there is still a market for sketch artists who cover trials? Personally I think we should mount a camera in every court room and stream it to a youtube site, if something needs to be private (i.e. a child is testifying) then the judge can suspend recording as needed. If I can legally sit in on almost any trial I think we should extend this with technology.
          • Just a minor correction: "in camera" [wikipedia.org] means "in chambers," not "no recording." I made a similar mistake my first year of law school.

      • by Gerzel (240421) *

        Still there are many cases where court information should be kept private. Thus the mechanisms for keeping information private at some times while generally having the proceedings be public should be put and kept in place. Our current US system could use a reworking on those grounds.

      • On the general issue of "filming in the courtroom", there are Heisenbergian issues involved: Observation changing the observed.

        Will any of the parties behave differently, with a public showing of the proceedings? How about the jury pool?

        On another front, you can't simply open all sessions and records to the public without causing harm to a party. Say, tax records, trade secrets, or ... private peccadilloes. How about social security numbers, put in evidence against a credit card fraudster. Be a great th

    • by selven (1556643)
      Now we can say "they violated 50 times as many court orders as we did". In a way, it's much more satisfying than 50-0.
    • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:03PM (#28600397) Homepage Journal

      âoeI certainly donâ(TM)t agree that I am violating any law.â

      And his justification:

      âoeThat is so outrageously unconstitutional that I would prefer myself to honor the United States Constitution and take my chances that recording a conversation with a judge in a federal case and opposing lawyers is somehow in violation of a Massachusetts statute that makes me a felon,â Nesson said.

      While I can certainly see how perhaps there are cases where this sort of behavior would indeed be very bad, in this particular case I think Nesson is right.

      • by bdenton42 (1313735) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:06PM (#28600427)
        As long as the information was recorded _in_ Federal court, on US government property, I don't think a Massachusetts statute could apply. But outside of that he's screwed.
        • by Gat0r30y (957941)
          He is a lawyer, and this means he will be spending more time in court. Perhaps only for notoriety, but in the long run I suspect he won't be screwed.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by TheoMurpse (729043)

          In some instances, state substantive statutes can apply in federal court if the cause of action giving rise to the lawsuit is a state statute and the federal court has jurisdiction only through diversity of the parties. However, since this case arises out of copyright, there is federal subject matter jurisdiction rather than diversity jurisdiction, so you're right: a Massachusetts statute should not apply in this case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Maybe so. But seriously, at some point, people have to start following the law.

        I mean, campaigning for the law to change is fine. I think nearly all of us would support some kind of copyright reform. Even me, and I am by no means opposed to DRM or the idea of copyright, but reconsidering the duration seems reasonable to me.

        But in any civilized society the rule of law must hold. Yes, even when the law is stupid. This is why we have courts that can strike down bad laws. At some point, I have to sympathize w

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:23PM (#28600643)

          But in any civilized society the rule of law must hold. Yes, even when the law is stupid. This is why we have courts that can strike down bad laws.

          Just how do you think bad laws get struck down without people breaking them?

          • Excellent example. Bad laws are bad because it is possible to break them even when the lawbreaker is doing the right thing. However, striking a bad law down does not require an actual test case to show that a bad law is bad. A test case may help, but it is not necessary. Therefore, it is complete to say that bad laws get struck down when the legislative branch smartens up and changes them. The legislative branch may smarten up by seeing test cases of people breaking them, or it may just smarten up by t

            • by Dog-Cow (21281)

              The U.S. Supreme Court will not judge a law, they only judge cases. Thus, in the U.S., the only way to challenge a Federal law is to break it. I imagine the same is true in most, if not all, of the States.

              • by Hungus (585181)

                Courts will sometimes file injunctions. An example of this is a law in Texas which makes it illegal for a bank to charge a service fee to cash a cheque drawn on one of its accounts, however the Texas Supreme Court has issued an injunction stopping the law from ever coming into effect. This is doubly interesting as in Texas, the Supreme Court of Texas handles only civil and juvenile delinquency issues, whereas the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last resort for criminal matters.

        • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:29PM (#28600709) Homepage Journal

          This is why we have courts that can strike down bad laws.

          Indeed, someone has to be willing to break a bad law, and go to court in order for it to get heard.

        • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:31PM (#28600747)

          But in any civilized society the rule of law must hold. Yes, even when the law is stupid. This is why we have courts that can strike down bad laws.

          Yet the courts can't do that until someone challenges the law, and the only practical way to do that is to violate it.

          So, by your standards, reform of stupid, bad laws only comes from those who refuse to be civilized. Perhaps you should be more gracious to those barbarians who would take up that fight for the betterment of society at their own risk and expense.

        • by Abreu (173023) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:54PM (#28601005)

          "In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken."

          Henry David Thoreau

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Disobedience_(Thoreau) [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by Dogun (7502)

            Quoting crazy people who live in the boonies and drink their own urine because they're too good for the rest of society is well and good, but original thought has its benefits as well.

            • by shiftless (410350)

              So how much original thought did it take for you to come up with your ad hominem attack on Mr. Thoreau?

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The rule of law is a limitation on government, not on citizens. It means that we are ruled by laws, rather than being ruled by individual men. The government must never depart from that ideal - in both theory and practice, it must rule according to the written laws and not according to the whims of the individuals employed as agents of the government. The rule of law has nothing to do with citizens and their choice to obey or disobey the written law - it has only to do with how the government rules in their

          • by gd2shoe (747932)

            Check wikipedia - it has it right.

            It might. But then again, you might have just edited it. I like wikipedia, but one should always take it's knowledge with a grain of salt.

        • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Monday July 06, 2009 @07:25PM (#28601341)
          Consider past history. If people obeyed all laws, no matter how ridiculous, then there would be no USA (the separatists defied the dictates of Britain). At one time in Europe the Church had enforceable legal powers which didn't work so well for Galileo and others. The Civil Rights movement in the 60's was founded on disobedience (breaking laws) to highlight how laws were unjustly hurting the progression of society.

          Today is no different (present history). You can be pro-business without having to accept and obey laws that a large number of people consider as detrimental to society as a whole. The ability to share 'digitally' has removed the barriers that physical sharing required of 'property'. Sharing music and movies ought to be as illegal as it is to read a book or newspaper in your local library. The reality is that RIAA and MPAA are simply Luddites resisting inevitable change whereby the middleman are removed between the producers (bloggers and musicians) and consumers.

        • by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday July 06, 2009 @09:06PM (#28602437)

          This is why we have courts that can strike down bad laws.

          How does a court do that? I am not gay, and have not been harmed by any laws that restrict marriage to be between a man and a woman. How do I have legal standing to strike down those laws with a court case? It's A vs. B. Who is the A and who is the B?

          Courts don't strike down "bad laws". People that have been harmed by "bad laws" get prosecuted and appeal their cases based on the incorrectness and/or unconstitutionality of the law that was applied against them. It's more often than not done this way. Somebody has to be harmed first.

          Perhaps you are thinking about the legislative branch and that politicians can champion their cause and change the laws outside of the courts.

          But in any civilized society the rule of law must hold. Yes, even when the law is stupid.

          At one point Kings could just throw someone away into cells with deplorable conditions without any due process. I am sure they considered their society "civilized". Anytime someone says a society is civilized I tend to think it is a value judgment.

          When laws are unjust, do not represent people fairly, favor one race over another, are abused, etc. it is the DUTY of a citizen to fight such laws tooth and nail. If that means ignoring them or violating them, so be it. Sometimes that is the only way to challenge a law within society.

          According to your logic, African-Americans should have just kept away from the Whites-Only drinking fountains, since that was the civilized thing to do and they should respect "stupid" laws.

          The actions of Nesson are irrelevant to your arguments. It does not matter what laws are being broken, your claims that laws must be followed blindly is shortsighted and more than a little offensive to those who feel wronged by unjust laws.

          I don't personally understand why these sorts of court actions need to be secret, but I assume there is a reason for it.

          You may trust that the government has our best interests, but I do not. My position should not be considered unreasonable either. Having a highly transparent government is a safety feature against corruption and abuses.

          What you or I think about Nesson does not matter, and I will not state whether or not I agree with his actions. I simply take issue with your assertion that we should always follows laws regardless. I choose what laws to follow. I don't hide either. I look forward to the day when I can confront it in a courtroom. However, until then I must wait since my only other option is to rely and have "faith" in my legislators.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          This is a Federal Court.

          The RIAA is attempting to get it to enforce a State law. Not a Federal Law.

          Nesson is saying that he thinks the State law is so badly written that it is unconstitutional on its face. But that doesn't matter. Because...

          The Judge is saying that Nesson has to comply specifically with the Federal law in this regard, which does not prohibit what he has been doing so long as he does it according to its provisions. And the Judge tells him what he already knows: he will be in deep doo-d

        • by rohan972 (880586)

          I don't personally understand why these sorts of court actions need to be secret, but I assume there is a reason for it.

          The reason given is because it may taint the jury pool. When knowing facts makes the jury unsuitable, you've got a problem (Due process arguments notwithstanding). It's also because if effective defence of this type of court action becomes widely known, the RIAA will find it harder to get their way.

          In short, it had to be secret so the justice can be more easily perverted.

          • by ae1294 (1547521) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @06:42AM (#28605713) Journal

            The reason given is because it may taint the jury pool. When knowing facts makes the jury unsuitable, you've got a problem (Due process arguments notwithstanding). It's also because if effective defence of this type of court action becomes widely known, the RIAA will find it harder to get their way.

            But how does the RIAA's public campaign telling everyone that downloading a song is stealing and kills artists not tainting the jury pool? Why do they get to spread half-truths all day and everyone else has to follow the rules? Maybe a judge should issue a gag-order on the RIAA since they are now in court asking juries to give them $80,000 per song do they can feed the starving artists.

          • The jury is tainted when they reach a conclusion before they know all of the facts as presented by both sides in the courtroom. The idea is that the jury is supposed to enter the case without a preconceived notion of which side is in the right.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Maybe so. But seriously, at some point, people have to start following the law.

          Only when the law serves the people.

          I don't "have" to do fucking anything. I certainly feel ZERO obligation to follow ANY law which does not serve the people. While people interpreting for themselves which laws to follow clearly means there will be a lot of conflict between certain individuals, I think it's pretty clear that certain laws are not there to help us.

          Copyright has been fucked over repeatedly until it no longer serves its original purpose. I don't think it's reasonable to follow copyright law in

        • It is wrong to blindly behave according to law. It is right to behave according to your conscience.

          It is right for systems of which individuals are only a component to elevate some individuals to higher levels of power and responsibility and to reduce other individuals capacity to wield the power of the system.

          However, the intersection of these facts do not create a situation where it is right to become a two faced liar and behave according to laws that are not consistent with your conscience while schemin

        • But in any civilized society the rule of law must hold. Yes, even when the law is stupid.

          That's a pretty stupid law right there.

          I know what motivated you to say this, but seriously... step back and think about it. Do you REALLY want to live in a society where people continue to do stupid things, because that's the rule? Imagine your society is composed of only four people, and the current rule is that the raft you're building must be made of straw. You think it's stupid because you're building the raft t

      • I agree. I can understand the defendant wanting the court's proceedings to remain private (so those who are ruled as 'not guilty' can keep their reputations untarnished by false allegations) but in all but sexual cases, the prosecution should be in favor of an open trial -- ESPECIALLY when it comes to copyright/trademark defense.
    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:04PM (#28600407)
      Sometimes, the law is wrong.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not quite the same. Nesson is saying that the law is unconstitutional and is challenging it. By doing so, if they choose to prosecute, he can get the law changed/repealed.

      • by Rand310 (264407) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:27PM (#28600685)

        Exactly. This is part of our system. He is challenging what he feels to be an unjust law. Let it be upheld or stricken as to its judicial merits.
         
        It is interesting that Massachusetts wiretapping has a two-party consent standard, whereas federal law only requires single-party consent.
         
          US Telephone Recording Laws [wikipedia.org]

        • by WNight (23683)

          That's one of those laws I break. If I can hear it, I can record it. It's a law of nature and trumps two-party consent.

          I wonder how crazy the legal circumstances could be. If I recorded a phone-threat (without the threatener's permission) could I use it in court? How egregiously wrong could this get? Unable to prove self-defense?

          • First, most two party consent laws have an explicit exception that allows recording a person who is committing a crime without their consent (threatening to harm someone is a crime).
            As to why two party consent laws are good I will give an example. I know someone who often records conversations without the other party's knowledge. They manipulate the conversation to get the other party to say something inappropriate. They then edit the recording so that what they said to trigger the other person's statemen
            • by WNight (23683)

              That's already covered by fraud, misrepresentation, etc.

              And I'm not quite sure how those exceptions would work, considering you'd have to be recording everything to catch the threat.

              • How do you prove fraud and misrepresentation when they claim that they didn't say those things? They have evidence of what you said, but you have no evidence of what you claim they said.
                • by WNight (23683)

                  They prove they were misrepresented by playing their tape.

                  Realistically, they're fucked, but it seems that's because of the prohibition against recording - any recording is going to be the tool of a bad guy. If we all recorded everything (and took steps to ensure it couldn't be edited like playing cryptographically generated white-noise in the background and checking if this watermark is valid in later recordings) we'd all be safe(r).

                  In looking at the exception (record crimes, threats, etc) I still can't se

    • by omeomi (675045) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:10PM (#28600489) Homepage
      If he acknowledges that he is violating the law, and will continue to do so regardless, he is also seemingly willing to accept any consequences that result from his actions, so I see no problem. He is partaking in Civil Disobedience. Part of that is accepting the consequences of your actions. Not that I agree or disagree with his decision. If he has a constitutional argument, maybe he'll be able to change the law, but I'm sure he realizes he's making a gamble.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mysidia (191772)

        He may be conducting what would be a violation of the Massachusetts privacy law.

        However, Massachusetts' laws do not govern the proceedings of federal courts, or courtroom activities. Because the state legislature has no legal jurisdiction in a federal court room.

        A state can no more ban a practice like recording in a federal court room, than they can make a law that no rulings by the court may undermine or overrule laws of the state of Massachusetts.

    • As much as I dislike the RIAA, the law is with this one in this case.

      I'm not so sure that this is true.

      Is a state law (Massachusetts law making it a felony to record a conversation without prior consent of all parties) binding on a Federal Court? I think probably not; I think a Federal Court would be in the same circumstance as a VA Medical Center or other Federal reservation: by policy it would comply with local laws to the extent that these do not interfere with its mission, but there is no agreement that State law is enforceable on a Federal agency operating in the Stat

    • Joel Tenenbaum becuase of his lawyers actions has grounds for a retrial i'll give him that.
    • by argent (18001)

      Mod parent up... oh, it's already at 5. :)

      Yep, I can't imagine what the hell he's thinking. The standard of consent for recording conversations is pretty much always "at least one side has to know". Plus, he's illegally recording the judge who's going to be ruling on his case?

      The only thing that makes ANY sense at all is if he's TRYING to get the case thrown out as a mistrial. But I can't see that possibly working in his favor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Coming up next, RIAA applies for patent for human voice. All speech will be licensed, $0.99 a sentence.
      • Coming up next, RIAA applies for patent for human voice. All speech will be licensed, $0.99 a sentence.

        If that happens, I'd say the vow of silence will come back into vogue very quickly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HTH NE1 (675604)

          If that happens, I'd say the vow of silence will come back into vogue very quickly.

          Too late. 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence is copyright 1952 by John Cage (deceased 1992), and infringing derivative works of it of varying lengths have been successfully prosecuted by his estate on more than one occasion, and you can expect them still to be until 2047 (1952 + 95 because 1952 1978).

          • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

            4 minutes 33 seconds of silence is copyright 1952 by John Cage

            And it's a hell of a lot better than the drivel they call music these days...

          • by HTH NE1 (675604)

            and you can expect them still to be until 2047 (1952 + 95 because 1952 < 1978).

            I fixed that for me: I forgot to entify the less-than sign.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by omeomi (675045)
        Don't they already demand royalties for recordings whether they own the rights or not?
        • by symbolset (646467)

          Yes, they do. See Internet Radio and the Canadian tax on blank optical media, among other things. Also, the permanent extension of copyrights which is nothing less than outright theft of our entire culture.

          Unlike music piracy, the eternal copyright actually deprives people of content they are entitled to, so it is theft. It is different from illicit copying.

          Unfortunately the only cure is to abolish copyright altogether, or as near as can be accomplished without rewriting the constitution.

      • by tenton (181778)

        My middle finger is royalty-free.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by selven (1556643)

        Coming up next, RIAA applies for patent for human voice. All speech will be licensed, $0.99 a sentence.

        That seems like a very good idea, because human voice is an invention of nature and since nature is not present the RIAA can be appointed as its representative, like the laws in some countries where if no one claims copyright for a work some benevolent copyright managing organization takes hold of it so that no bad people pirate it until the real owner comes and takes it, although often when the real owner comes to take it the benevolent organization may not give the copyright back, but that's okay since th

  • "Streisand Effect"?
  • Too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:57PM (#28600327) Journal
    It's the internet -- the cat never goes back in the bag.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbiltcliffe (186293)

      It's the internet -- the cat never goes back in the bag.

      Sure it does. You've just got to somehow manage to fit the entire Internet in the bag with the cat.

      • by omeomi (675045)

        Sure it does. You've just got to somehow manage to fit the entire Internet in the bag with the cat.

        Perhaps some sort of Visual Basic GUI?

        • by etherlad (410990)

          If it works for CSI, it'll work for me!

          No wait, Visual Basic GUIs are only good for tracing IP addresses.

      • The real question, however, is determining whether the cat will be alive, dead, both, or can has cheezburger before opening the bag again to check on it.

    • Serious question, would we ever know if the cat did go back in the bag? Controlling the flow of content on the internet isn't the impossibility some people make it out to be, child porn being the prime example.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HTH NE1 (675604)

        Serious question, would we ever know if the cat did go back in the bag?

        If you truly understood the metaphor, it wouldn't matter if it did.

        1. There's a bag. You don't know what's in it.
        2. What was in it gets out and you see it is a cat.
        3. The cat is put back in the bag.
        4. There's a bag. You know what's in it: a cat.

        The bag is secrecy, the cat is the secret. Once the secret is out, it is known and can never again be unknown. Even if a shell game was performed with identical bags, you'd still know about the cat.

        If you can see the cat being put back in the bag and not know what's in the bag,

        • Or d) You're Schroedinger.

          If the cat could be alive or dead, couldn't the cat also be alive, or a small Czechoslovakian traffic warden?
        • by Xtifr (1323)

          Specifically, you have learned that it's not a pig in that poke. [wikipedia.org] The metaphor (apparently) stems from a common confidence trick in the middle ages: selling someone a cat in a bag (poke), while claiming it was a pig. So really, the point is that once the cat's out of the bag, you can't put the pig back!

      • by WNight (23683)

        Or, it's (99%) a lie.

        Not that the abuse doesn't happen, and that abusers don't make their own movies/pics, but that there just aren't secret internet chat rooms that you have to molest a kid to get into. It's... silly.

        Then couple that with 95% of people being turned off by it and the other 5% being afraid it's a setup and it's no surprise it's not everywhere.

        It's the same broken thinking that results in movies with Assassin guilds instead of lone killers. In real life criminals isolate instead of congregati

    • It's the internet -- the cat never goes back in the bag.

      If there's anything MAFIAA are know for, it's fighting a lost cause.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      It's the internet -- the cat never goes back in the bag.

      That's... really not the right use of the metaphor. My cat likes to play inside bags and needs very little inducement to go inside one. Sometimes he does it spontaneously.

      I think you've confused "letting the cat out of the bag" with "putting the genie back in the bottle".

    • It's the internet -- the cat never goes back in the bag.

      Are you sure? There must be dozens of counterexamples on Lolcats.

    • I *know* this is Slashdot, but if I see yet another intahwebz-style lolcat-Schrödinger-cat-in-the-bag-of-worms metaphor beneath this comment... I swear I'll kill your dog.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:59PM (#28600361) Journal

    second of about 30,000 cases

    Let's assume that's 20 songs per case on unrelated albums. According to section 504.c.1 [copyright.gov] each work can cost the defendent between $750 and $30,000. And if the first trial was any indication, $30,000 per song is actually the low end once you've gotten past lawyer fees. Ok so by the letter of the law the RIAA is looking to get anywhere from $450 million to $18 billion. I hope to god that Nesson stops upsetting the court [arstechnica.com] and sets some better precedent than the first case. I don't care if he wants to post courtroom audio. That's a great idea and I appreciate where his heart is but that's not what this is about! I do care that he works to either reduce these unrealistic damage amounts or redefine copyright violation. So far he's just been really good at upsetting people--and not the right people!

    • by WNight (23683)

      I welcome the $18B charge. Seriously, even if that was me I'd far rather the bill be seventeen trillion dollars than fifty thousand. I could only be so fucked so who cares if I fail to pay off a million a year, or a day? The $50k I'd actually be expected to pay, the bignum would be obvious evidence of judicial failure.

      So yeah, show how copying ~30 songs caused more damage than the Iraqi war. Please. Then when I show how I've traded 300,000+ songs the universe will simply implode and we'll be done.

    • And how exactly did you gain the right, to demand things from him? Did you pay him? Did you do things yourself?

      I recommend doing one thing yourself: Vote the Pirate Party, and disobey unjust laws.

      I already did it. And 229,117 others did too in Germany alone. So you will not be alone by any means, but with us then! :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:33PM (#28600771)

    One is well advised not to fuck with harvard, espescially when they're openly defying law. I've got a feeling Nesson knows exactly what he's doing.

    • You know the lawyer who lost Jammie Thomas's trial is the youngest graduate ever of Harvard Law, right? I may be speaking out of turn, but it didn't seem like her massive penalty supports what you say.

    • by pbhj (607776)

      Court audio would have to be free-libre and gratis to listen to?

      Can Nesson put as evidence the tunes in question and have them played and thus recorded in open court (eg to establish if the defendant was familiar with the tunes alleged to be infringingly copied) - then the RIAA couldn't block the distribution of those tunes?

      Just a delicious little daydream.

  • by JobyOne (1578377) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:38PM (#28600839) Homepage Journal
    I gots one! I didn't read TFA, but this question still burns hot in my brain-mind.

    If a state legislature passes a law that is unconstitutional, can that law be enforced? Let's say a state legislature passes a law stating that shoplifters must have their hands chopped off, is it now legal to start choppin' hands? If it is legal to start choppin' hands, whose heads will get chopped once it gets to federal court to be overturned as cruel and unusual?

    It seems to me that there is no accountability for the idiots who pass unconstitutional laws in the first place.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday July 06, 2009 @07:14PM (#28601243) Journal

      If a state legislature passes a law that is unconstitutional, can that law be enforced?

      Yes.
      But normally someone sues immediately after the law is passed and gets a restraining order to prevent its enforcement until the State/Federal Supreme Court can decide the Constitutionality.

      It seems to me that there is no accountability for the idiots who pass unconstitutional laws in the first place.

      Pretty much.
      All you can do is vote them out of office unless their actions rise to the level of criminality.

    • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Monday July 06, 2009 @08:37PM (#28602145)
      As far as constitutionality goes, a state law is basically the same as a federal law. A state law can be challenged and appealed up to the state's supreme court if it violates the state's constitution, or all the way to the United States Supreme Court if it violates the United States Constitution. I might be wrong on this part, but I think that if you challenge a state law based on a violation of the US Constitution, it would skip the state supreme court and go directly to the federal courts.
      • You are correct, in that the federal courts have jurisdiction in constitutional law. However, I think that what gp was really questioning was, "what happens to the legislators who pass unconstitutional laws?" The answer is, nothing [short of they may get voted out of office for passing such a law].

        The state is accountable for the actions its employees, but the legislators themselves hold no personal liability to the actions of the state. Though I'm not sure about the executive branch- which in this case
        • As much as I'd love to see legislators impeached and removed from office for writing and/or voting for some of the horrible laws, I can see where you'd run into problems with laws that aren't blatantly evil but still get struck down as being unconstitutional, especially when the legislators voting for it didn't think the law violated a constitution. You'd end up with legislators too scared to vote on anything (yeah, I know, that might not necessarily be a bad thing). It's kinda like the tenure rules for pro
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:58PM (#28601055) Homepage Journal

    They are consistent if nothing else.

  • Listen to this recording [harvard.edu] that he made. He enters a phone conversation with a judge and other parties to the litigation, and fails at the outset to let any of them know that he is recording the conversation along with a room full of students listening in. This bit of eavesdropping only comes to light when the judge asks him pointedly if the call is being recorded. That is when Mr. "Openness" admits that he is in fact recording the conversation with the presence of his students.

    It seems to me that Mr. Opennes

    • by Dogun (7502)

      Well, the thinking probably resembles this:
      If you were willing to say it to my face, you certainly expect me to react and remember it. What's good enough for ME ought to be good enough for others.

    • FYI, only 12 out of 50 states forbid recording a conversation you have without the other party knowing. From URL http://www.callcorder.com/phone-recording-law-america.htm [callcorder.com] :

      The U.S. federal law allows recording of phone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party to the call. A majority of the states and territories have adopted wiretapping statutes based on the federal law, although most have also extended the law to cover in-person conversations. 38 states and the D.C.

  • I've been bitten in a judicial process, where the other party said one thing in one court and another thing in another. It would have worked greatly to our advantage if we'd been able to use this lying. Also, in one of the courts the judge acted like he was a member of the other party. With audio tapes .

    I hope there is a lawyer here (and sticks around for a few rounds of discussion). Why do laws prohibit to make recordings in court? I think it would help to keep parties (and judges) honest. Any pointers to

  • Several commenters have made arguments based on the assumption that the recordings in question were made in a federal courtroom. That is not the case. If you RTFA, you will discover that what is at issue are recordings of depositions, which are normally taken in the offices of law or sometimes in a hotel room, and of telephone calls between the parties and the judge, where only the latter may have been in the courtroom. The argument that Massachusetts law governing recordings does not apply because the rec

  • They had screenshots of his shareza folder MAJOR invasion of privacy...case closed?

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