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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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  • Kettle/Pot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:04PM (#29734545)

    The RIAA claimed that Lindor, her family and Beckerman "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."

    In other words, the RIAA accuses an opposing attorney of doing the very things that the RIAA does all the time. Shocking.

  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:05PM (#29734571)

    I'm interesting in that statement because it suggests that their complaints had some merit. The comment about him being "less than forthcoming" also makes me wonder. I haven't actually read really anything about the case background, so I wonder what those complaints are and whether the magistrate's recognition is one of "bad but not bad enough" or just "true but nothing to feel admonished about."

    Anyone got some more info on their claims and the merits behind them?

  • Re:Keep it cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:14PM (#29734691)

    I disagree. This is not a single case, but rather a rash of cases that affects nearly everyone age 12-30, and many that are older as well. It's going to be changing laws and attitudes, and Ray is making sure the information is out there to everyone who will listen.

    He is going far beyond the duties of a simple lawyer and is actively working to make this a better country.

    Whether or not you believe he is making it a better country isn't the issue, either... -He- believes that (and so do many others) and he's working on his beliefs.

    That's an admirable thing.

  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:23PM (#29734827)

    In the US it's not, in the UK the truth can be libelous.

  • Re:Kettle/Pot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bughunter ( 10093 ) <bughunter&earthlink,net> on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:32PM (#29734909) Journal

    FTfA: New York Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy wrote, "Although defendant's counsel took an unusually aggressive stance and, at times, veered into hyperbole and gratuitous attacks on the recording industry as a whole, I do not find clear evidence of bad faith on counsel's part."

    But yet,

    Marie Lindor, Beckerman's client, ...was accused of making copyrighted music available on the Kazaa file sharing program. After five depositions and three years of legal maneuvering, the RIAA has dropped the case against the woman whom Beckerman said has "never turned on a computer.

    Let me get this straight. Who's providing "false information," "misdirecting... relevant facts and events," and concealing "critical information and evidence regarding the infringement at issue" again?

    JFC. The arrogance and hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:50PM (#29735103)

    In the UK if you said "liar, liar, pants on fire" to an RIAA like organisation they could sue you for libel unless you could prove that every single employee had burning pants. OK, I'm exaggerating but UK libel law absolutely sucks. It basically allows the rich and powerful to stop the poor and powerless from criticizing them. And of course that is exactly what it is designed for.

    In fact Singapore only need to take UK libel law and ignore the unwritten rule that the government won't sue the opposition for libel and that is enough for the Prime Minister to be able to silence criticism there. Now the UK government doesn't do that, but if you get screwed by some RIAA like company and mention it on your blog they will most likely threaten you with libel and try to intimidate you into shutting up. Your ISPs might yank the page at that point too.

  • Re:Keep it cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @02:54PM (#29735145) Journal

    I think the parents point was more along the lines of why a lawyer generally doesn't represent himself as well as he could others not that there is no place for passion.

    It's difficult to convey a complete thought when you are heavily invested in the outcome. What happens a lot of times is that key facts get over looked because emotions either already assume that others know it or you place emphasis on the effects without clearly demonstrating the causes.

    It happens quite often even here when people start getting passionately involved with what they are writing about. With a certain amount of disconnect, a more complete story can be told and the chances of the jury or judge or other people can understand the position being argued much better.

    This is often why even though a lawyer is capable of defending or prosecuting something for himself, they will often seek outside counsel to do it. They generally know their involvement jeopardizes their ability to do what they normally do.

  • Re:About Time (Score:4, Interesting)

    Ray Beck[er]man has been fighting an uphill battle against the recording industry for years, and it's past time he got a bit more recognition for his efforts. A lot of people don't appreciate that every time one of the RIAA's outrageous tactics receives even limited support in a court of law, that tactic will inevitably make its way into normal corporate practice. This struggle is about a lot more than alleged theft of music. It's about abuse of the legal system by corporations and individuals with deep pockets as they enforce their will on average people by threatening to bankrupt them in court if they dare to fight back against blatantly unfair practices. I have great respect for Ray Beck[er]man. We need a thousand more like him.

    Thank you, hyades1. Much appreciated. You are so right about this being an "abuse of the legal system by corporations... with deep pockets". I wrote an article for the ABA's Judges Journal, last year, about that very subject : "Large Recording Companies vs. The Defenseless : Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigations" [blogspot.com]. I am so grateful for the fine lawyers who have joined me in this struggle, fighting for principle.

  • by bane2571 ( 1024309 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2009 @05:59PM (#29737989)
    Wow, from reading that the "vexatious" actions Ray was taking was demanding that a court order be issued before the RIAA seized a private citizen's property and that a court appointed obseerver be present before the RIAA access said property. Curse him for forcing good manners upon the poor RIAA.
    Jeez, he also tried to exclude evidence that may have been false and get further information proving said evidence's falibility. Is there no end to Ray's depravity.

    Did this kind of BS from the RIAA even have a chance of working or were they just being vexatious themselves?

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