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The Courts

Judge Won't Punish Lawyer For Anti-RIAA Blogging 160

xander_zone_xxx writes with news that Ray Beckerman, known around here as NewYorkCountryLawyer, was not a "vexatious" litigant, as the RIAA claimed. In the same ruling the judge dismissed Beckerman's counter-claims against the RIAA. (We discussed the claims and counters a year back.) "An attorney defending against a music-piracy lawsuit didn't cross ethical bounds by filing motions broadly attacking the recording industry and posting them on his blog, a magistrate judge has ruled, rejecting demands from the RIAA for monetary sanctions. Attorney Ray Beckerman was 'less than forthcoming at times' in defending a client against an RIAA lawsuit, but the music industry's concerns were 'largely overstated,' New York Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy wrote Friday."
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Judge Won't Punish Lawyer For Anti-RIAA Blogging

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  • Yay for Ray (Score:3, Informative)

    by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @01:59PM (#29734465)
    He knows his stuff. In the long run truth will prevail!

    Way To Go Ray!


  • who's vexatious? (Score:4, Informative)

    by quercus.aeternam ( 1174283 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:04PM (#29734533) Homepage

    Levy also ruled that the RIAA, which has sued 30,000 individuals, was not a vexatious litigant, shooting down Beckerman’s counter-complaint against his courtroom opponents.

    As is not unusual, the editors seem to have missed the fact that NewYorkCountryLawyer is not a litigant - though they are correct in stating that the complaints against him have been dropped.

  • Re:who's vexatious? (Score:4, Informative)

    by quercus.aeternam ( 1174283 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:08PM (#29734601) Homepage

    For those who dared not taint their eyes with a quote from TFA, I will further clarify: NewYorkCountryLawyer was not accused of being vexatious.

    Also, my statement that the complaints against him were dropped is not entirely accurate, as the judge dismissed both sides' complaints.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:09PM (#29734619) Journal

    Mind you, I do wonder if outing NewYorkCountryLawyer's identity here might be a bad idea.

    He outed himself a long time ago as I recall. All of his posts have his webpage in his signature line. His webpage has his name on it.

  • Re:who's vexatious? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RIAAShill ( 1599481 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:22PM (#29734799)

    For those who dared not taint their eyes with a quote from TFA, I will further clarify: NewYorkCountryLawyer was not accused of being vexatious.

    The decision [] said that, "[a]ccording to plaintiffs . . . counsel 'intentionally provided false information, attempted to misdirect Plaintiffs as to relevant facts and events, and concealed critical information and evidence regarding the infringement at issue,' unreasonably and vexatiously multiplying this litigation and severely prejudicing plaintiffs' ability to learn the critical facts." The complaint sought monetary sanctions under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1927 [], which only allows for sanctions if the accused attorney "multiplies the proceedings in any case unreasonably and vexatiously ."

  • by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:22PM (#29734801) Journal
    It's even in his description about himself in his user page [] (right side).
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:44PM (#29735031) Journal

    So I'm guessing what Ray did was vexatious but apparently being vexatious isn't illegal (maybe being 'overly vexatious' is?).

    If I remember right, vexatious means intending to harass. I think the proper interpretation of what the judge meant was that the effects of actions do not indicate the purpose or intent of the actions. RIAA's lawyers attempted to make the connection from what some would consider due diligence and the blog as harassment and then attempted to infer the intention. If the judge saw the connections as informative sort of like news reporting or as you mentioned posturing for political campaigns, then while the effect of the actions could have been harassment, no "intent to harass" was found and the extent of harassment was exaggerated.

    That would clear up the distinctions between "vexatious" and 'overly vexatious' because without the intent, it doesn't really exist.

  • I don't understand the statement that some "counterclaim" was dismissed. The defendant did not have any counterclaims. She did make a Rule 11 motion for sanctions against the RIAA's attorneys. That motion is still pending.
  • the judge dismissed both sides' complaints

    Not so. The Magistrate Judge recommended denial of the RIAA's motion for "discovery sanctions". He did not rule on Ms. Lindor's Rule 11 motion for sanctions against the RIAA lawyers. That motion is still pending.

  • He outed himself a long time ago as I recall. All of his posts have his webpage in his signature line. His webpage has his name on it.

    Correct. I have never been anonymous on Slashdot.

  • For a more accurate and detailed article on the Magistrate Judge's decision I recommend my own Slashdot submission from last Friday, which Slashdot rejected: "RIAA's "Sanctions" Motion in Lindor Denied" []
  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @05:37PM (#29737637) Journal

    Essentially they seem to be upset with him discussing this case on his blog

    I don't think that was necessarily their primary source of upset.

    It's worth reading some of Ray's discussions on RIAA strategy - you'll pick up just how the RIAA was bundling up dozens of John Doe discovery sessions in a fishing expedition, then throwing them at the court in a lump and engineering things such that individual defendants didn't have time to respond in court. Kind of like a class action suit in reverse, I think. Anyway you can't do that, and should't be allowed to get away with that. They're upset because Ray effectively put a marlinspike in their wheels by dismantling RIAA's attempts to judge a large group people as a group, and I think they were rather stung by his article in one of the well-read journals of the legal profession.

    And when you have rule of law, you can't judge people as groups - you can only pin infractions or grievances on individuals. "Group Justice" went out of favour as a legal principle in WWII.

  • Glad to hear NYCL. Whenever I want to find out what is up with the RIAA, I go to you first. You do a great job and please keep it up :)

    Thank you, Tigersmind. Much appreciated. I notice that some of the readers are still believing what is in the article, instead of believing my report. The Rule 11 motion has not been ruled upon by Magistrate Levy.

  • Oh, man... corrected by the expert himself... [] [] So, a Rule 11 motion simply means that the opponent may be sanctioned for breaking any other rule, if deemed appropriate, correct? If so, what exactly was the sanction for, and if it goes through, what implications might it have outside of this case?

    The Rule 11 motion was based on the deliberate false statements of fact contained in the RIAA's motion. My Declaration of Ray Beckerman in opposition [] enumerates, in detail, the false statements, and the true facts.

  • Did this kind of BS from the RIAA even have a chance of working


    or were they just being vexatious themselves?

    Absolutely, which is why I made a Rule 11 motion. I can only remember 1 other time, in 30+ years of practicing law, that I have filed a Rule 11 motion against a fellow attorney.

  • by bruceslog ( 1368385 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @01:32AM (#29741371)

    Wouldn't matter. You could shoot him and abuse his body, guillotine him, or drive him to suicide with his letter opener, and the next RIAA CEO would continue in the same vein (only with better security). It's the organization which needs to be destroyed, not any individual head of it.

    It's not just one CEO.
    That "RIAA Organization" is owned, or paid for, and representing, and suing people, at the behest of the record labels you buy your CD"s from.
    These include;

    Big Machine Records
    BMG Entertainment
    EMI ( Capitol, Capitol Nashville, Virgin Records, and others )
    MTV ( including Nick at Nite, Nickelodeon, VH-1 and others )
    Sony BMG ( Columbia, Epic, RCA, Arista, and others )[ all part of the same family ]
    Universal Music Group ( Universal Records )
    Warner Music Group
    There are hundreds of them.
    If you haven't seen it before, here's a good list []
    That is your RIAA. It isn't just one CEO. It's the group of companies in that list on that website.
    Want to hurt them ? Stop buying their stuff and feeding their lawyers, till they fly right.
    I haven't purchased a CD from any of these 'companies', or any Sony product in almost 4 years. And Counting. And I hear plenty of music all day long on the radio. It ain't killing me.
    I don't want my money going to their lawyers to twist the laws the way they do. It's a matter of principle. And now, maybe even pride.
    I'm not out to sink the RIAA. The record labels need that group to protect their interests. It's the way they are Going About protecting that interest that I am opposed to. And I don't want the record labels to disappear either. I like music.
    But I won't give my money to any group that abuses peoples rights and the laws as they were Intended.
    I'm not hurting them much, they seem to have made it through this last recession without having to ask for a handout from the feds.
    Even if they do claim they are in such poor financial condition from the abundant volumes of piracy they say is going on, they seem to be in good financial shape. So Somebody is still buying their products and supporting their RIAA "lawyers".
    Which leads me to a parting question. Don't lawyers have to take some kind of oath to uphold the spirit of our Constitution and obey the laws that protect the people ?

  • Re:Believe it. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quothz ( 683368 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @09:14AM (#29743517) Journal
    I see; thanks. As I suspected, the story given here was pretty much wrong in every detail. The ACLU didn't represent the guy (Friend Citizen did so; the ACLU filed a friend of the court brief). The case never reached SCOTUS. And his costs judgment was paid:

    Curiously enough, we now find ourselves at the satisfying point where Taubman has paid us a grand total of $1,349.98 – which not only is $84.25 more than the amount that we originally requested, it's also $349.98 more than they could have paid me to settle this entire matter nearly two years ago!

If I set here and stare at nothing long enough, people might think I'm an engineer working on something. -- S.R. McElroy