Judge Who Said Lumping Together Unrelated Copyright Cases Is Fine... Is A Former RIAA Lobbyist

from the aren't-you-supposed-to-recuse-yourself? dept

Last week, we noted that judge Beryl Howell seemed to go against numerous other rulings by mass copyright lawsuit filers in saying that it was just fine to lump all the defendants together, despite the fact that each one was totally unrelated to the others. She even went so far as to claim that this benefited the defendants. She also pointed out that this made it easier for the plaintiffs, and seemed particularly concerned that things be as easy as possible for those plaintiffs. As we noted, our legal system isn't supposed to work that way. The point was making sure that actual due process was allowed, and joining together totally unrelated cases went against that principle.

Of course, perhaps there's a reason why Howell wanted to make things easier for plaintiffs in mass copyright lawsuits. You see, as TorrentFreak points out, Judge Beryl Howell is a recent appointment to the bench, and prior to that worked as a lawyer for a law firm that did plenty of work for the RIAA, and Howell herself was a lobbyist for the RIAA. It also notes that she helped write the DMCA among other copyright expansion laws from the last decade and a half.

As TorrentFreak notes, this certainly seems like a conflict of interest.
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Filed Under: beryl howell, copyright, judge, lobbying
Companies: riaa


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  1. identicon
    jim bank, 6 Apr 2011 @ 4:45pm

    Judge Howell didn't check the copyright owner

    In this case, Maverick Entertainment is suing for copyright infringement for the movie "the clique".

    Maverick doesn't even own the rights to the movie, its owned by © 2008 Warner Home Entertainment. All rights reserved.

    The way most bit torrents work they are configurable for various settings on duplicate named files. Last in first out is common so in this case if multiple downloads happened simultaneously in the "swarm" chances are NONE of the data from the Maverick Entertainment movie of the same name was even downloaded, and even more likely the "swarm" side of the upload would have been confused.

    Anyway, five minutes and an understanding of bittorrent configurations could have saved thousands of lawsuits. The way it goes now however is that Maverick Entertainment is going to be collecting settlements enabled by a DC Judge Howell that is on the edge of conflict of interest, for copyright infringement of a movie they don't even own.

    CRAZY...I wonder if Warner Home Entertainment can sue Maverick Entertainment for gains $$$ that were knowingly obtained under a false and clearly confusible bit torrent file.

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