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RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Federal Judge, Rules On File-Sharing Cases 333

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Last week, Washington, DC federal judge Beryl Howell ruled on three mass file-sharing lawsuits. Judges in Texas, West Virginia, and Illinois had all ruled recently that such lawsuits were defective in various ways, but Howell gave her cases the green light; attorneys could use the federal courts to sue thousands of people at once and then issue mass subpoenas to Internet providers. Beryl Howell isn't the only judge to believe this, but her important ruling is especially interesting because of Howell's previous work: lobbying for the recording industry during the time period when the RIAA was engaged in its own campaign of mass lawsuits against individuals. The news, first reported in a piece at TorrentFreak, nicely illustrates the revolving door between government and industry."
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RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Federal Judge, Rules On File-Sharing Cases

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  • by snspdaarf ( 1314399 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @05:46PM (#35659094)
    Yes, I am pretty sure it would be grounds for appeal.
  • by undercanopy ( 565001 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @06:31PM (#35659704)

    You know, I think the judge recruitment pool would be rather low if you didn't allow those that have either stood as plaintiffs or defendants as lawyers. Because if they're biased then so is the EFF lawyer too, right? Or is that just the lawyers on the side you don't like.

    we're not talking about a lawyer being biased, we're talking about a judge being biased. Judes recusing themselves from cases where there is, or even could be, a conflict of interest is not unusual. Her having been a RIAA lawyer creates a worthy argument for recusal, but i could argue the other way as you have. Being a lobbyist, though? That's a lot more conflict-y than just a lawyer trying to properly represent their client.

  • by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @06:43PM (#35659898) Homepage Journal

    I agree with you, but there is still upward mobility. I came from a poor family, spent 5 years in the military working on network gear, and now make 6 figures as a network engineer and I still dont have a college degree. While I do not have a business card that says I'm CEO Bitch, I did bring myself out of the small pissant town I grew up in oklahoma and live outside denver with a great view of the mountains.

    Though on the flip side, I do not have it as good as in other foreign countries where my masters degree is paid for by the government, and I can get a job for a song anywhere in the US vs I had to pull myself up and get to where I am today.

  • Re:Raise a Child (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @07:12PM (#35660264) Journal

    "My mommy is a porn company and my daddy is 4chan".

    Think of the children!

  • by Gutboy ( 587531 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @07:18PM (#35660348)
    How are the thousands of defendants supposed to do anything when they don't know who they are yet? Who was the opposing lawyer? Was there even one at all?
  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @08:13PM (#35660886)

    Hmm, how about Obama? He certainly wasn't raised in an upper class environment and yet he's got the top job. He had all the wrong stuff in his upbringing to be president anyway - raised by single mom and grandparents, moving around a lot, not a lot of money, etc. Similar story with Clinton, raised by poor single mom as well. There are similar cases if you look around, it's easy to point to lawyers and judges like this.

    Of course they didn't go to Generic State University, but you can get into prestigious universities without being a member of the prestigious classes, and you can get into prestigious post-graduate programs (law school, med school, grad school) even if you did not go to prestigious undergraduate universities.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama