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 @ 10:42pm

    Re: I'm usually on your side Mike...

    ...but this time, I can't see it. If Ray didn't have clients right now defending themselves against the RIAA, then he most certainly would in the future. Would you make the same argument that he's setting himself up for future cases also? I mean, where's the line in your argument? When, according to your beliefs, would it be an OK time for him to write the article?

    I have absolutely *no* problem with him having written this article at all -- at any time. It's a fantastic article that makes a ton of great points.

    My issue is merely that it seems like there should be a disclosure line, noting that he currently has cases pending on this topic. That's all. Just to make it clear.

    But Ray and MLS (and clearly the ABA) felt that such information would already be common knowledge among the judiciary.

    Though, if Ray's client list is already such common knowledge, it does make you wonder why such an article is so needed. I would think that the ABA asked Ray to write the article to inform them on a topic they knew little about -- meaning that they might not be aware of Ray's efforts in this field. Again, though, it appears that some believe that there is more than enough disclosure. And, perhaps in this field, that's all that's needed. I just find it to be different than in other fields.

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