Justice Department Increasingly Looking Like The RIAA/MPAA's Legal Team

from the change-the-riaa-can-believe-in dept

It seems that the Obama administration is basically hiring the entire RIAA/MPAA/BSA legal team these days. It started off with the RIAA’s favorite lawyer, then it hired the BSA’s antipiracy enforcer, and now it’s brought on two more of the entertainment industry’s favorite lawyers, including Don Verrilli, who was one of the main guys arguing the entertainment industry’s side in the infamous (and terribly decided) Grokster case. He also was the guy who argued the RIAA’s case that the Jammie Thomas verdict shouldn’t be thrown out (on that one, he lost, thankfully). Of course, if you’re thinking things would have been any better had McCain won, just note that one of his legal advisors is gleefully cheering on these appointments. Still, as Ray Beckerman notes, Obama’s own rules should preclude these guys working on issues related to those they used to represent. We’ll see if that actually happens, though.

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Companies: mpaa, riaa

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Comments on “Justice Department Increasingly Looking Like The RIAA/MPAA's Legal Team”

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34 Comments
Evil Mike says:

"Justice"

Usually, any building/organization which has the word “Justice” in the title does so in order to explain to people what it is for; as anybody looking to discover the purpose of said building/organization would likely never equate the concept of “Justice” with what goes on there.

In short: If it’s got the word “Justice” in the title, there’s none to be had there.

Perhaps, if they spelled it “Just us” it would be true, though.

Jon says:

A bit of optimism

In trying to keep optimist about a situation that is not very appealing to the average citizen. Is it possible that these people who’s profession is Lawyer and is paid to litigate for their client, would litigate as their boss, Pres. Obama and Co., directs?

It is pretty common for people to perform their trade in the manner requested by their employer. Yes there is a bit of moral ambiguity in there, but who said lawyers, or anyone for that matter, are for all that is good, just and right?

In other words, it is possible that Obama is selecting the best lawyers for his staff and that staff is expected to forward his agenda, not their own. Obama doesn’t appear to be blind to the consumer’s side of the issues so far and he is not a pushover, so why would you expect him to take legal advise without consideration of his own position?

Hulser says:

Re: A bit of optimism

Jon, I was thinking along the same lines. If there’s any room for optimism it’s in the fact that lawyers are basically hired guns for their clients. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t say from first hand experience, but I’m sure that there’s a tendency for lawyers to gravitate towards causes in which they believe. But in theory anyway, they’re paid to work on and win the case given to them by their clients, regardless of their personal beliefs.

It could be that the very people who came up with the ridiculous legal arguments used by the RIAA are the best choices for countering those arguments. Sure, I think it would have been a much better sign if Obama had put in place more pro-consumer advocates, but time will tell if it’s really as bad as we think now.

jonnyq says:

Re: A bit of optimism

In general the president doesn’t micromanage the AG or the AG’s staff. They generally go out and *do*, not just give advice to the president.

Obama could be a micromanager, but it would be more logical to just hire people he trusts. I seriously doubt Obama will be guiding the justice department in a direction that contradicts the people in charge of it. That’s just not what Presdients do.

deadzone (profile) says:

This is stupid

This has the appearance of being a bad thing but the fact is that we don’t really know what will happen or what they are going to do until they start to actually do the job they have been appointed to do.

It seems too obvious and brazen for them to use the Justice Department to push for the RIAA/MPAA agendas. Do I think they aren’t going to use the Justice Department in some way to forward their agenda? NO, I do not. It’s all about pushing agendas in politics and in Washington, how is this any different?

Anonymous Coward says:

Observations

Government must be competent and reliable. Those are the basic requirements that our social compact is made on.

Mike noted that the Justice Department is being filled with IP protectionists, and have an odd set of previous experience. Taking into consideration that people generally receive appointments on the basis of their previous successes, which can dramatically skew direction of the department as a whole.

But I’m not worried.
Remember this is Government, and Government’s larger role is focused on service delivery to the people. In my mind this is what education, security, health care, infrastructure are all about. These remain services that can’t be facilitated by private interests, and only government can deliver.

A person would believe that good Government doesn’t permit or stand for windfalls which will distort long term plans and create bigger problems down the road. What this requires is private interests own and solve their own problems, and focus more upon innovating their business to satisfy the customer needs, absent of government or legalistic intervention.

Sure, Business crisis are at the forefront right now. But they’re all experiencing the same birthing pains. It’s just that ours is such a visible and noisy one, and thanks to people like Mike, it seems to be the only one. DoJ is going to have a lot to mop up after the past 8 years of Bush.

Whether it’s a local medical/fire emergency or a national economic crisis; we want a “firehouse” whether a real brick and mortar one, or a virtual one like the US Treasury or Justice Department to be able to intervene in the emergency and hopefully mitigate the damage, while also gauging social impact. That’s the reality that has been brought home for everyone.

Hopefully these folks realize this, and will focus on their service to The Country, not their previous employers. If not, it will be a short 4 years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Observations

“Government’s larger role is focused on service delivery to the people. In my mind this is what education, security, health care, infrastructure are all about. These remain services that can’t be facilitated by private interests, and only government can deliver.”

National Security, and Interstate Infrastructure, and Federal Law are the business of Federal Government… local security, education, health care, financial security, and local/state infrastructure are NOT the business of federal government. The federal government should protect the interests of the states and citizens, it should not be a service provider.

No government can give (service) anything to anyone without first taking it from someone else. It is very alarming to hear you/people say something so in error as ‘education and health care cannot be provided by private interests’.

bowerbird (profile) says:

these are not good signs. i’ll be paying attention to developments.

i would have had some _hope_ — does that word sound familiar? —
that all the people associated with the r.i.a.a. would have such a bad
stink around them that obama would have declined to hire them on
_symbolic_ grounds, if nothing more. so this is very disappointing…
and, as i said, i’ll be very attentive to how this plays out down the line.

David says:

Can't win

This is why I had a problem with “Joe B” when Obama chose him. But then I did some research and even if mcCain had won we would be facing the same thing. So I went with Obama for other reasons. I did send them a nasty letter concerning the RIAA. seeing the RIAA was the first party they went to after swearing him in, I’m guessing it didn’t phase them much…

Ray Beckerman (profile) says:

Re: Can't win

David said:

the RIAA was the first party they went to after swearing him in

That was an incorrect report on my part. My daughter had called to let me know that the RIAA was hosting one of the “inaugural balls”. I assumed that the Obamas were present at the “inaugural balls”. I later learned that it wasn’t really an “inaugural ball” at all, it was just a party, and that the Obamas did NOT attend. They only attended the official “inaugural balls”.

I corrected the report on my blog but of course couldn’t send the correction to everybody who’d heard my incorrect report. Sorry about that.

Ray Beckerman (profile) says:

Optimism and patriotism

AC said:

“But I’m not worried.
Remember this is Government, and Government’s larger role is focused on service delivery to the people. In my mind this is what education, security, health care, infrastructure are all about. These remain services that can’t be facilitated by private interests, and only government can deliver.

A person would believe that good Government doesn’t permit or stand for windfalls which will distort long term plans and create bigger problems down the road. What this requires is private interests own and solve their own problems, and focus more upon innovating their business to satisfy the customer needs, absent of government or legalistic intervention.

Sure, Business crisis are at the forefront right now. But they’re all experiencing the same birthing pains. It’s just that ours is such a visible and noisy one, and thanks to people like Mike, it seems to be the only one. DoJ is going to have a lot to mop up after the past 8 years of Bush.

Whether it’s a local medical/fire emergency or a national economic crisis; we want a “firehouse” whether a real brick and mortar one, or a virtual one like the US Treasury or Justice Department to be able to intervene in the emergency and hopefully mitigate the damage, while also gauging social impact. That’s the reality that has been brought home for everyone.

Hopefully these folks realize this, and will focus on their service to The Country, not their previous employers. If not, it will be a short 4 years.

I have one thing to say.

I sure hope you’re right.

Based on everything I learned in grade school, high school, college, and law school… you are.

Based on what I read in the papers… I’m not so sure.

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