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Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat 388

Posted by timothy
from the lawsuit-based-on-plot-of-the-producers dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Just when you think this case couldn't get any stranger, it now appears that the defendant's 'legal team' in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum is passing the hat, taking up a collection. Only the reason for the collection isn't to defray costs and expenses of further defending the action, but to pay the RIAA the amount of the judgment so that their client won't have to declare bankruptcy. I would suggest there might have been a much better way of avoiding bankruptcy. It's called 'handling the case competently.'"
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Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat

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  • by linzeal (197905) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:08AM (#28914373) Homepage Journal
    If you can't declare bankruptcy and escape the life-destroying debt it is time to go on the run. I would suggest Eastern Europe, it is not easy to make money doing TOEFL anymore but you can always sling hash and weed to the English-Speaking tourists. For some reason British/French/German tourists trust American tour guides/drug dealers more so than the average E. European.
  • Re:I have a question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:22AM (#28914421) Homepage Journal

    Why does it seem that everybody involved in these cases is an idiot? The RIAA lawyers, the defendants and their representation, the judges, the juries...they all sound like total stooges. How has everything gone so completely wrong?

    What's gone on in the 2 cases that have gone to trial is like one long, bad dream. The root problem is economics. The defendants can't afford to go out and hire a competent lawyer, and lawyers can't afford to do these cases without getting paid. A good lawyer would have either prevented the outlandish things that occurred, or developed an impervious record for an appeal.

  • Re:Another way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:37AM (#28914479)
    I know it's asking for a "troll" but another option to avoid the bankruptcy would have been to avoid downloading.

    Downloading isn't the problem. The defendant didn't receive any fines or punishment for downloading, and I don't believe that anybody ever has. The problems is sharing them (or downloading them with a protocol that automatically shares them, as bit torrent does... or putting them in a shared, publicly accessible folder). If you download songs from, say, a direct link on a website, my understanding is that you are not infringing copyright at all (at least in a legally actionable way). The person sharing them is.

    These news stories always talk about people being sued by the RIAA for downloading music, and that's exactly what the RIAA wants people to think, but if you examine the charges, they'll always be for distributing files.
  • Re:I have a question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aeternitas827 (1256210) * on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:00AM (#28914569)
    Wouldn't the defendant have been able to refuse to answer, or at least raise concerns, regarding that sort of questioning as well?
  • Re:I have a question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:21AM (#28914653) Homepage Journal

    Is there any scenario in which losing this case incompetently and ending up with an outlandish fine actually works against the RIAA?

    I'd like to think so, but in all honesty, no. When a case is mishandled this way, it will create problems for the competent lawyers representing innocent defendants all across the country. Because the RIAA lawyers will look for any way possible to capitalize on it.

    From a PR standpoint, who knows?

  • Re:$20 is too much (Score:4, Interesting)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:13AM (#28914813)

    That's a violation of international law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_convention [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:I have a question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:27AM (#28914855) Homepage

    Two words: public education. (The fact that you likely understand that statement is likely partially indicative of the total hold popular entertainment has had upon our minds - and the dearth of a literary backing to our psyche.)

    The sad fact is that since shortly after (during?) World War II, popular culture (Elvis, John Wayne, the Beatles, etc.) has been the prevailing form of culturing we've received as a society. Yes, some of it's good: intelligently performed, produced, and sometimes educational to boot. But for the most part, it's insipid and a complete waste of time - mental masturbation of the least constructive kind. Before such things, prevailing culture was disseminated through books, discourse (in person and through writing), and social gatherings. Now, we just "party".

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:56AM (#28914923) Journal

    Probably a drop in enrollments.

  • Re:I have a question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:16AM (#28914999) Journal

    I'm surprised they allowed the defendant on the stand. Maybe the rules for civil procedure are different than criminal.

    I still think they should appeal the case rather than pay the fine. His sentence is equivalent to a life sentence since that's how long it would take him to work & earn the money. A "life sentence" seems cruel-and-unusual punishment (and therefore unconstitutional) for the mere act of bittorrenting 30 dollars worth of songs.

  • Re:I have a question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:18AM (#28915009)

    There has to be more to this--if that's how the testimony went then this had to be intentional. No defense attorney would just let all that go through.

    Wasn't there a story some weeks ago about how the attorneys in this case wanted to invalidate the law on appeal anyway?

  • I have to wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Girtych (1345935) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:14AM (#28915451)
    Usually I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but what if he was bribed to essentially throw his own case in order to set some kind of legal precedent? I mean, it takes a special, special brand of stupid to plead guilty in circumstances like these. I honestly wouldn't put it past the RIAA to pull something like that, considering their track record (MediaSentry's constant flouting of the law comes to mind).
  • Re:I have a question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:28AM (#28915533) Journal

    P.S.

    I find it interesting that recordingindustryvspeople.com advises to donate money to ongoing trials, not Tennenbaum. That does make more sense if your goal is to defeat the MAFIAA. Although if I'm going to be spending money, then I'd rather just use it to buy the songs legally, which makes the whole issue moot.

  • NYCL, silent???? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mathinker (909784) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:14AM (#28916207) Journal

    Look, commodore64_love, NYCL maintains a fairly high-profile blog [blogspot.com] which includes a lot of "practice tips" for lawyers defending cases like this. I think it's silly that you're accusing him of being "silent", just because Joel's lawyer didn't feel like using the resources that NYCL is providing.

    I have noticed that NYCL isn't posting/making the front page of Slashdot as much recently, but that I believe was because of backlash complaints about the volume of articles he had previously, when he would post about various legal happenings which sprang up in the running of these trials. The last one I remember was when he informed us that RIAA's lawyers were threatened with being sanctioned, which for him, as a lawyer, is a big, big deal --- but the reaction of most of the Slashdot geeks was, "yawn --- what's so important? stop bothering us about every little thing".

  • Re:NYCL, silent???? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:34AM (#28917315) Homepage Journal

    Look, commodore64_love, NYCL maintains a fairly high-profile blog which includes a lot of "practice tips" for lawyers defending cases like this. I think it's silly that you're accusing him of being "silent", just because Joel's lawyer didn't feel like using the resources that NYCL is providing.

    Thank you for noticing. I don't think the "joelfightsback" team paid as close attention.

    I have noticed that NYCL isn't posting/making the front page of Slashdot as much recently

    True

    but that I believe was because of backlash complaints about the volume of articles he had previously

    Not really. It's because I haven't been submitting as many. I just haven't had that many stories come to my attention which I feel are Slashdot-worthy. E.g., Prof. Nesson being denied the right to interpose a defense because he's about 8 months late in pleading it, or Prof. Nesson being denied the right to offer an expert witness because he missed the deadline by 3 months, are not -- in my opinion -- newsworthy events.

  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:39AM (#28917357) Homepage Journal

    Usually I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but what if he was bribed to essentially throw his own case in order to set some kind of legal precedent? I mean, it takes a special, special brand of stupid to plead guilty in circumstances like these. I honestly wouldn't put it past the RIAA to pull something like that, considering their track record (MediaSentry's constant flouting of the law comes to mind).

    While I don't really in my heart of hearts believe that there was some kind of dastardly collusion like that, if you asked me to put together an argument to that effect I would have an overabundance of source material with which to make my case.

    I would go back to early 2008, when Judge Gertner decided that out of the hundreds of RIAA cases over which she's presided, this one -- the one where the defendant actually admitted to having done the file sharing he's accused of -- is the one that was worthy of having pro bono counsel appointed.

  • Re:I have a question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:52AM (#28917467) Homepage Journal

    I don't know how Louis Nizer could have kept Mr. Tennenbaum from being found liable for copyright violation! Do you? Seriously . . . Te[...]nenbaum admitted to the copyright violation. A good lawyer can't undo that!

    I worked for Louis Nizer for 6 years. Were he handling the case, the RIAA would have won, but probably would have recovered $1.65, or another much smaller sum. The reason is not because of Mr. Nizer's incredible courtroom presence, which was indeed incredible, but because he was very very thorough, and he would have had me or someone like me, who is a solid, grounded, responsible legal researcher, and who is NOT a bullshit artist, doing the research and laying the groundwork. No issues would have been overlooked. Here all of the issues were overlooked.

  • There are 2 RIAA trolls who are 'up each other's a**es' agreeing with each other about how unkind I have been to criticize the work of the defendant's "legal team" in SONY v. Tenenbaum on my blog and on Slashdot. They're not attacking any of the other 25,000 or so Slashdotters who have also criticized the work of defendant's legal team.

    Will someone please get them off my back?

    Hello, any moderators out there by any chance?
  • Re:NYCL, silent???? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:04PM (#28921477) Homepage Journal
    When I'm practicing law, my appraisal of the mistakes of my adversary is not something I would discuss; I am there to point out the law and the facts and to advocate on the basis of the law and the facts. If my adversary has made a mistake, so be it, but there is not much to be gained in pointing out to the Court that the other side has inferior representation.

    When, on the other hand, I am a blogger or other commentator writing about legal events, it comes up from time to time -- more so in this case than in any other case upon which I have reported -- to mention omissions or mistakes by counsel and/or by judges. Were I to exercise a "professional courtesy" and refrain from pointing them out, I would be betraying the trust of my readers.

    If you really care to understand, you need to separate the practice of law from the practice of journalism.

    I have one frequent critic who loves to disingenuously cross the line between the two in mounting his attacks; I hope you are not he.
  • Re:$20 is too much (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rohan972 (880586) on Monday August 03, 2009 @03:32AM (#28924235)

    Like you're free to make your own sandwich, you're free to make your own music.

    Which I do.

    If you want to listen to what the RIAA is peddling

    Which, for the most part, I don't.

    you pay their price.

    Which, for the ones I want, I do.

    Why is that so hard to understand ? What you think is a fair value for the music doesn't matter and isn't justification for infringing on the RIAA's copyright.

    Here's where you've entered a world of error. First, you've assumed I infringe copyright just because I made a tongue in cheek comment about copying a sandwich. This assumption of guilt on very scant evidence is exactly what many people object to about the *AAs. The attitude you have, which the *AAs share, is a major part of the problem regarding implementing copyright law right now. Second, your assertion that what people think is a fair price doesn't matter reveals you lack any sort of understanding about how a market works. Saying it isn't justification for downloading is very similar to saying if alcohol is made illegal then people shouldn't drink it. That type of thinking is perhaps interesting in theory, but implementing public policy based on it is disastrous in practice.

    As for "justification for infringing on the RIAA's copyright", since unrestrained copying is the natural state and copyright law institutes a state granted monopoly, it is copyright itself, rather than infringement, that requires justification. Indeed, that has already been done long ago, the justification is the work passing into the public domain. That's why the US constitution requires that the exclusive right is for a limited time. The current terms of life + 70 years, from the perspective of a currently living person, is not limited, stupid court rulings notwithstanding. As such, it is very difficult to persuade people to comply with copyright law out of a sense of morality or justice. All that is left is to threaten them or brainwash them into compliance. Bring back truly limited terms, I suggest no more than half the average life span, and I am squarely in the pro-copyright camp. I haven't heard a complete and compelling argument in favour of copyright in the absence of doing that.

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