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.