by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 11th 2011 7:01pm
There was a lot of attention paid to Judge Beryl Howell's decision to allow some mass copyright infringement lawsuits to move forward with all the defendants lumped together (and her bizarre claim that this was to benefit the defendants). Soon after that, it came out that Howell had very recently been an RIAA lobbyist, which certainly called her objectivity on such cases into question. Even though neither of the cases she was working on involved the RIAA, the issues were clearly quite similar, and such a ruling would obviously benefit the RIAA should it decide to start suing people again. However, as many people submitted, Judge Howell appears to be backpedaling on those initial rulings and it may lead to the dismissal of most of the cases against the defendants listed. It's definitely speculation at this point, but people are wondering if the attention brought over her initial rulings may have resulted in these latest rulings. One key point is whether or not Howell recognized how these lawsuits really worked, and how they appeared to be more of a way to use the legal system to get people to pay up as part of a business model, rather than a real legal remedy. Perhaps drawing more attention to that resulted in her correcting her earlier ruling.
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