Ray Beckerman Picks Apart RIAA Lawsuits For Judges' Benefit

from the nice-work dept

Ray Beckerman, as you may already know, is a lawyer in New York who not only has defended numerous people against RIAA lawsuits, but also runs the Recording Industry vs. The People blog, where he chronicles what's going on in these cases. While I believe he sometimes pushes the envelope too far in his claims about what the RIAA is doing, there's no denying that he's been a tremendous force in shining some much needed light on some of the RIAA's more questionable activities, while also helping those who are severely outgunned in various lawsuits.

As numerous folks have sent in, Beckerman has now also written up something of a primer for judges in The Judge's Journal, a publication of the American Bar Association targeted at judges. It basically explains the many problems with the way the RIAA conducts its lawsuits, noting how it often uses questionable means, weak evidence and general bullying tactics in filing its cases. It also relies on the fact that it comes off as more credible than an individual (often defending themselves -- sometimes in jurisdictions far from home). Beckerman highlights all of the problems with the way the RIAA runs its cases, and makes a series of quite reasonable suggestions for judges in how to handle such cases should they show up in court. It's a good guide, that also highlights many of the underhanded tactics that the RIAA uses in filing its cases. It's well worth a read if you haven't seen it elsewhere.

If I have one complaint, it's the same one I leveled against John Duffy recently. While the article does mention Beckerman's website, it does not mention that he represents many clients against the RIAA (including in ongoing trials). That would appear to be something of a conflict of interest, in that he's making a bunch of suggestions for how judges should basically side with his arguments in those cases. I guess I'm learning that such "disclosures" are generally not considered necessary in the legal community.

Filed Under: judges, lawsuits, ray beckerman, riaa

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 31 Jul 2008 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Yes you are confused

    The fact that I have represented defendants in RIAA cases was fully disclosed to the editors

    I need to apologize. I never meant to imply that you, personally, did not disclose stuff. I'm sure it was disclosed to the editors. My fault is not with you, but with them for not including that more clearly in the article.

    What they chose to print was their decision based on their usual format.

    Right. That's the part that I find odd, and different than in other formats. As I noted in my post, that there appears to be a different standard with lawyers, as you and MLS appear to suggest.

    Eric Goldman, on the other hand, appears to disagree.

    So, I'm left in a state of confusion as to what is proper disclosure in the legal profession when writing an article regarding situations in which you currently are involved in cases.

    In this case, considering the link to my blog in the bio, the very title of my blog "Recording Industry vs. The People", the fact that my blog specifically discloses the fact that I have represented defendants in RIAA cases, the very title of the article "Large Recording Companies vs. The Defenseless", and the super-sophistication of the audience -- 5000 judges who spend their entire working day every day sifting through advocacy -- I do not think the editors needed to make any fuller disclosure than they did. If you think there is a single subscriber to the Judges Journal who needed fuller disclosure than that, I think you are wrong.

    Fair enough. I did, in fact, point out that it mentioned your blog. However, I just remain somewhat surprised at the standards for disclosure in legal publications. They're just different than I am used to.

    And, again, at least *some* lawyers seem to agree with me.

    Meanwhile, what I wrote was not advocacy for the 4 litigants I happen to represent who are defendants in RIAA iltigations, it was a white paper about the 'unequal access to justice' problems which the RIAA litigations have created for our profession. If you disagree with me on a statement of fact, or an argument of law, please do so

    Yes, I agree. I don't disagree with you on statement of fact or argument of law at all. In fact, I thought I had made that clear in the post.

    My complaint was merely with the question of disclosure. And, even though you say it has nothing to do with those 4 cases, you have to admit that if judges support your arguments in this article, that it will help at least some of those cases.

    You know full well that I support your position in these cases, and I think this is an excellent article. I'm just confused about the level of disclosure that's apparently normally used in the legal profession.

    but I wish you would stop these unjustified attacks on my integrity.

    Again, my apologies. I regret that you viewed it as an attack on your integrity. I was just curious as to why the disclosure was not more complete.

    And, apparently, the answer from both you and MLS (though, with disagreement from Eric Goldman) is that in such legal publications, the audience is sufficiently knowledgeable.

    That's a unique situation in my experience.

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