Harvard Team Asks Court To Allow Live Broadcast Of Tenenbaum Case Against RIAA

from the should-be-fun dept

A bunch of folks have sent in the story that Charles Nesson of Harvard, who is challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA’s lawsuits against file sharers, has filed a motion asking that the trial be broadcast live over the internet, amusingly using the RIAA’s own words to support his request. From the beginning, the RIAA has always insisted that its lawsuits were part of a broad “educational campaign” to teach people about the evils of file sharing. Nesson notes that, if this is true, the RIAA should obviously have no objection to such a trial being broadcast online. Somehow, it seems likely that there will be an objection.

Given that the RIAA has supposedly given up its legal strategy — while still moving forward with existing cases — is anyone taking bets on how long it will be until the RIAA actively tries to back out of the Tenenbaum lawsuit altogether? This case is pretty much the last thing the RIAA actually wants to go to court — whether broadcast or not. Even if it wins the case in the end, this lawsuit is going to involve a lot of dirty laundry airing that the RIAA probably doesn’t want out there.

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Comments on “Harvard Team Asks Court To Allow Live Broadcast Of Tenenbaum Case Against RIAA”

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29 Comments
Hulser says:

Hoisted

From the beginning, the RIAA has always insisted that its lawsuits were part of a broad “educational campaign” to teach people about the evils of file sharing. Nesson notes that, if this is true, the RIAA should obviously have no objection to such a trial being broadcast online.

To the RIAA: Your petard, you’ve been hoisted by it!

To the Harvard team: Pure genius!

Anonymous Coward says:

Charles Nesson…who is challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA’s lawsuits against file sharers

What Mr. Nesson is not challenging the constitutionality of lawsuits, but a much narrower issue directed solely to the statutory damages provision of copyright law. He is pressing the argument that the statutory damages provision should be treated as a quasi-criminal provision for which the full panoply of rights afforded criminal defendants should apply.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

By the way, back in 1997 the Supreme Court heard argument in the case of Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television, Inc.
Mr. Feltner was upset that he was not given a jury trial to determine what statutory damages should be awarded. At the district court he had been dinged by the Judge to the tune of about $9M. The Supreme Court gave him his wish, and the case went back to the district court so that a jury could make the determination. It did…about $39M that held up on appeals all the way to the Supreme Court.

It is a well known maxim, “Be careful what you ask for because you might get it.” Mr. Feltner got it, but certainly not in the way he anticipated.

Mark Regan says:

Oh, Goody

Will that include the part where the RIAA attorney makes a “campaign contribution” to the judge? Or gives the judge’s wife a “stock tip” at a cocktail party at the country club? Or sells a house to the judge’s brother in law for ten percent of the value because the housing market is down a bit.

That is the video I want to see streamed out over the internet. Because that is the way our good old American court system REALLY works.

Glad you’re oblivious to all that, Mike, because your ethics would require you to report it if YOU saw that kind of stuff going on. Hey, maybe that’s why you are relegated to blogging instead of representing all those corporate clients before the Supreme Court.

TDR says:

*cue Rocky theme music*

While it’s good that Harvard’s doing something about this, they could still do more, like filing criminal charges against the RIAA’s upper management, seeking disbarment of their lawyers, and challenging the constitutionality of their new 3-strikes policy they want to implement. The RIAA should also be forced to pay back everyone they’ve sued the amount they were originally sued for, and then be shut down if they’re still somehow afloat after that. The participating labels should also be penalized as they’re fully involved in the RIAA by backing their suits and tactics.

Simply do to the RIAA and labels what they’ve been doing to everyone else for years. And force the execs to listen to their own crappy girly-pop “music” over and over until they realize just how bad it really is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t think you can really dispute the constitutionality of an agreement between two parties (RIAA and ISPs), since the constitution applies to the government, not private entities. You can dispute the legality and try to show that such an agreement violates some law, but that’s not the same thing, and I think you’d lose.

Will Matt (profile) says:

RIAA Shakedowns.

The shakedown methodology being used by the RIAA has been exploited for years. The RIAA has always used calculated extortion to shake down those businesses targeted for such transgressions as playing copyrighted music without paying a fee to the RIAA. In such a case RIAA Lawyers would figure out how much it would cost the defendant to pay an attorney to defend the business against a frivolous RIAA Lawsuit. The RIAA would immediately demand a payment for significant damages. The defendant was never given the option of agreeing to cease and desist before paying the damages. The dollar amount demanded would usually be less than it would cost for the business to defend itself against the lawsuit. In most cases, management would roll over and write a check to avoid wasting the time and money to defend the business against the lawsuit. Since the defendant was a business, management could pay up and simply write off the cost as a business expense. On the other hand if the business management took a strong position on the matter and threatened to strongly defend themselves, the RIAA lawyers would simply go away. Individuals do not have the luxury of writing off such a settlement as a business expense. The best way to stick it to copyright control agencies such as the RIAA is to require them to give a person or persons accused of copyright infringement the opportunity to cease and desist. In the event of the accused copyright infringement is over a broadband connection the ISP’s abuse department which most ISP’s already have in place could act as a referee between the two parties. The only way an infringer could be assessed damages would be for them to be caught continuing infringing.

gene (profile) says:

Bring Justice back

Both Directv and the RIAA have sued many people now. Both Directv and the RIAA knew not all were guilty though and still accepted settlement money and a gag settlement. Where people were innocent, the US Department of Justice should have protected them from such a suit. People can access your home wireless network from on the street outside but you will pay the RIAA. People may buy legal and legitimate smart card programmers but Directv would sue and collect money none the less. So because justice permits such lawsuits and when they were innocent, that court complaint had to be untruthful and as such a fraud. Victims then became crime victims of the crime of fraud. The victim witness program ignored these crime victims in spite of the crime victims statute. For those who were innocent, they need to do just what justice has done. The next time they are a juror or a witness, ignore justice by jury nullification. Ignore justice by not being a state witness. This is the only thing which will send a strong enough message to put justice back to protecting the innocent from fraudulent lawsuits designed to collect money and silence the victims.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bring Justice back

A lawsuit is meant to determine innocencs or guilt. Criminal cases require guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt, where civil cases only require ‘probable’ guilt. Regardless, without hearing a case innocence can not be ascertained. Settlements are made to keep a case from going before a judge. So how can the Justice Department protect people who’s innocence is still disputed when the accused agrees to a settlement? The problem is not that the DoJ is doing something wrong but that defending oneself is prohibitively expensive, and that I’ll blame on the lawyers.

anymouse says:

Shakedown, Breakdown, Takedown, You're Busted....

People supporting the **AA working with ISP’s to ‘prevent copyright infringement’ seem to overlook the issue of false accusation. Everyone seems to assume that if the RIAA tells your ISP that you violated their IP rights and that you need to be sent a warning letter (or kicked off the internet, depending on which step of the ‘graduated response’ you are on), then you have in fact committed copyright infringement and you should stop or be removed from the net.

What happens when the RIAA falsely accuses someone three times and gets them kicked off the internet? What recourse does the individual have? Are they given any chance to defend themselves or even see the ‘proof’ (yeah right, like there is any of that) that the RIAA has on them? This is nothing more than giving police powers to a private corporation, which I think most people would agree is a bad idea. This is actually beyond police powers, as they would be the judge, jury, and executioner so to speak (and for many people these days, getting cut off from the internet could be very close to execution as many people depend on the internet for their jobs, lives, contacts.

Oh well, I for one will welcome our jackbooted goosestepping overlords from the **AA, and all you sheeple (TM pending) should as well, because if you haven’t been accused of doing anything wrong, then you don’t have anything to worry about, right? The **AA would never make false accusations or work from bad information, right?

If you believe any of that crap, then I got a bridge for you as well, it’s a steal at only 5 million.

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