Judge lectures RIAA on their ethics (or lack thereof)

Judge lectures RIAA on their ethics (or lack thereof)

Summary: Judge admonishes RIAA lawyers: "Counsel representing the record companies have an ethical obligation to fully understand that they are fighting people without lawyers... to understand that the formalities of this are basically bankrupting people, and it's terribly critical that you stop it ..."

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Judge Nancy Gertner

In what may be news to RIAA lawyers, a federal judge has admonished the lawyers that they have ethical obligations. According to the transcript (PDF) of a motion hearing in a huge consolidated RIAA case provided to Ray Beckerman of Recording Industry v. the People, Judge Nancy Gertner said:

Counsel representing the record companies have an ethical obligation to fully understand that they are fighting people without lawyers... to understand that the formalities of this are basically bankrupting people, and it's terribly critical that you stop it ...

There was more:

There is a huge imbalance in these cases. The record companies are represented by large lawfirms with substantial resources. The law is also overwhelmingly on their side. They bring cases against individuals, individuals who don't have lawyers and don't have access to lawyers and who don't understand their legal rights.
But, Beckerman says, Judge Gertner needs to take a look at her own role in this inequality.
While it is heartening to see Judge Gertner show some recognition of the unfairness in the way these cases are being handled, it is unclear how she can say that the law is overwhelmingly on the side of the record companies when she recognizes that for the past 5 years she's only been hearing one side of the argument. It is also disheartening that she evidences no recognition of how she has herself contributed to the "imbalance" by consolidating all of the cases, thus (a) providing the record companies with massive economies of scale not available to the defendants, (b) providing virtually untrammeled ex parte access to the Court on all common legal issues, and (c) creating a one-sided atmosphere in the courthouse that causes all defendants to abandon hope.

How can Judge Gertner conclude that the settlements have come about because the law is on the record companies' side, when she knows full well that the reason the settlements have come about is that there is no economically viable way for defendants to defend themselves?

Topics: CXO, Enterprise Software, Legal

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38 comments
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  • RIAA lack of ethics

    The DMCA needs to be repealed. It is Fascist in
    intent and practice. Our country is now under
    control of a union of big private corporations and
    big government.
    gertruded
    • Hence why we have been

      for the last 40 years a Fascist nation. But people are in denial. If McCain gets in (which he won't...) we will have more Fascism. But if Obama gets in we will get Socialism. So either way we are screwed. Vote independent... make the stand to free our nation.
      Linux User 147560
      • Funny

        I was telling somebody this just the other day
        Wake up everybody
        this is like the Simpsons episode where the Aliens pretend to be Clinton and Bush.
        "Don't blame me, I voted for Crang!"
        zmud
    • Actually...(get your terminology right).

      Fascism (both Mussolini's and Hitler's, as well as Franco's and others) is a derivative of Marxism, and is as fully hostile to big-business owners as the Soviet Union was.

      See "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg.
      akulkis
      • Justice

        That hostility is justified when it is so clearly closed to but a few 'select and entitled' individuals who come from the 'right' families...don't yew know. *SiC*
        ZenaPrincess
      • So Hitler was a Commie?

        This is the purest distilled essence of bullshyte I've ever seen.

        I've seen some ultra-extremist right-wing insanity in my time, but your claim that Hitler was a commie pinko liberal suggests serious mental illness on your part. You are seriously, seriously, insane if you believe this.

        "is as fully hostile to big-business owners as the Soviet Union was."

        Patently false. Communism seeks to abolish private property, while Fascism merely seeks to ensure that private enterprise serves the state. Hitler had no problem with corporate profits, as long as they also served his interests. If Hitler's fascism was so clearly hostile to corporate interests, how do you explain the active support for Hitler displayed by US auto manufacturers prior to WWII? How do you explain Henry Ford's admiration for Hitler?

        "See "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg. "
        How about looking at real history instead of this ultra-right conservative's potpourri of logical fallacies, tenuous associations, and character assassination?

        Goldberg's claims are his personal opinion, based on his own particular mental illness, and have no basis in reality. Seriously, you need help if you believe this crap. Please seek counseling before you hurt someone.
        bmerc
  • RE: Judge lectures RIAA on their ethics (or lack thereof)

    Because so many have been sued by Directv and the RIAA who were innocent and the Justice system has done nothing to protect the innocent, I have elected to engage in Jury Nullification the next time I am a juror. Simply put, if justice assists in forcing innocent people to pay money and property to a private company they are not entitled to, then justice cannot be afforded any credibility until the practice stops.Directv took lawfully owned smart card programmers from people. This was private property. Also, where an innocent person is made to pay because they could not afford to defend becomes a crime victim. Victim of a fraudulent suit for the purposes of profiting from that suit. While a crime victim, the crime victim program ignores the victim. The next time I am a juror, justice will not be credible. This also includes events which I witness. This is the only way I know of which will bring our justice system back into compliance protecting innocent people.
    syber@...
    • Justice, isn't

      Interesting that you are one of the few people to know about jury nullification.

      Most people don't know about the conspiracy between judges and lawyers to not inform trial juries of this basic right.

      In every trial, there are two questions that have to be asked.

      1. Is the law a just law?
      and
      2. If the law is just, did the accused break it?

      Judges and lawyers never instruct trial juries that they have option 1, to decide that the law itself is flawed.

      There is a difference between a trial jury and a Grand Jury. A Grand Jury only looks at the evidence presented by the prosecutor (and witnesses for the prosecution) to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a felony (and some cases misdemeanors) trial in the first place.
      Dr_Zinj
    • There is no such thing as Jury nullification!

      A fundamental tenant of our constitution is the check and balance that "We the people" enjoy from the excesses of the other 3 branches of government! Especially the tyranny of total dominance of all three branches, whether socialistic or fascistic.

      The jury constitutes the ALL POWERFUL Check & Balance against this always occurring degradation of organized societies now and throughout all history!

      The jury IS in effect, the forth and final branch of government!

      When societal mores degrade sufficiently (As is well underway in Amerika), not even this check & balance will suffice! It will simply fold into the despot melange of the other three branches.

      There is NO wisdom apart from God! The socialist psuedo religion of Robin-hood style Marxism is a degraded putrefication of a fallen morality and should be soundly rejected as state sponsored religion, as disgustingly juxtaposed to truth and righteousness as it is. The righteous jurist is all that appears to remain as the last hope of Marxist leaning Amerika.

      God have mercy on America if only for those that love him.
      RS9
      • A fundamental tenant of our constitution?

        The jury is in effect, the forth and final branch of government?

        RS9 - You may want to learn to write properly, and then go back to school to learn your history.
        PCcritic
      • So what neocon nutbag decided that MARXIST is the new trendy slur?

        I mean, do you guys have a newsletter where they announce what stupid simpleminded misuse of terminology will be the insult du jour? Is there a list of upcoming words that you plan to misuse in the future?

        The number of right-wing ranters and pundits who use the term "marxism" and have even the slightest idea what it means? Zero.

        Yes, I am stating clearly that you have no clue what you are saying. You are ignorant of the meaning of the words you use. And I have a hunch a dictionary won't help ya.
        bmerc
  • Fines speak louder than words

    Lectures are meaningless to them. All the RIAA will understand is monetary punishment.
    ejhonda
    • Even then,

      It would have to be enough to more than make up for the money gleaned through the practrices they are fined for. Obama or McCain, it doesn't matter. It's just not going to happen. Cheers.
      bernalillo
    • About the RIAA's motives

      You see, the RIAA WANTS people to steal. They can easily go after someone and charge almost a kidney in fines & etc for EACH song.

      If I knew I would win 99% of all law suits against people for stealing my works, and that I would normally get $2/song(taxable) if it were purchased legally, or $750/song(non-taxable) if I went to court, which way would you think I would want to go?

      If your neighbor 'borrowed' your rake, and you took them to court. How much would the judge levy against them? It's surely not $750
      Zolar
  • RE: Judge lectures RIAA on their ethics (or lack thereof)

    As of now my family does not buy music from CD's. And this is because of what has been done. And as more people hear and see what has been done ,more will quit also.
    This is how you bring them down. They can not fight with now funds and the Lawyers will not fight without pay from the big company's.
    Even the groups that write and make the music are starting to fight back. putting there music on offer online and some for free. They also see what this is, and will bring the RIAA to there knees.

    Some people seem to be afraid to fight back, well then all of us need to be in the fight in any way that we can, even if it is just not buying. All it would take is just a few weeks of not buying anything and it would be over, then they would be back like it should be, asking us to please buy there product. Instead of them saying you take what we give or else.
    I do not mind a company making money , they have to to survive . But when a group of company's start using the Law and Government to do there bidding then there is a real issue that needs to be dealt with in any way that we can.
    Daedalu
  • Perhaps this is unrelated but

    I am very angry with RIAA, DRM, etc. for what they have been doing with technology in order to "protect" themselves. My son owns two MP3 players that won't play most MP3's - one of them won't even play MP3s ripped from retail CD's that HE bought!

    We had a Yahoo subscription and purchased many tracks in WMA format. Now Yahoo has shut down, and with them, all the DRM rights. We can't burn the songs to CD with the song information showing, neither of the MP3 players will play them... and these are tracks which WE purchased with OUR money for the express purpose of OWNING them.

    I understand why they got mad at Napster 10 years ago - I was there, and quite guilty before the guidelines were established - but sometimes RIAA just takes things too far.

    I respect recording artists and their right to be paid for their work ... but if I, as a user, pay ONCE for a song, it is mine to keep and use any way I want forEVER. Technology put in place by all these MP3 builders, by MS, by various download/subscription services - this technology has taken "protection" to the point that I no longer have rights, whether or not I am charged with a crime.

    I'm "over it".
    Kasey156
    • Buy only DRM-free music

      If you had paid attention to DRM before you gave Yahoo money, you wouldnt be in this position.
      rkoman@...
      • DRM

        I already spent the money, and still don't understand DRM. I think the idea of not purchasing any more music suits me well - when I was a kid, I taped off the radio - perhaps my son should just do the same.
        Kasey156
        • Don't give up

          I know it's too late for you now, but if things ever change
          on DRM music, don't buy into a subscription service,
          because you never own the music you buy. What's more, if
          the service provider should stop the service - (as has
          happened with Yahooo) - or maybe change the format etc
          at any time, you possibly lose everything.

          I have had my iPod for 3 years and never downloaded any
          music from iTunes at all, just copied all my CD's onto it
          without any trouble, and all the music on it belongs to me.

          If your son likes music, buy him one of the cheaper iPod's
          such as a Nano, and use a download service like Amazon,
          who's music is DRM-free, and copy any CD's he may have
          onto it, and you will see that he will be able to play
          virtually everything, and own the music.

          Hope this helps.
          Deanbar
        • Buy DRM free

          I only buy music from Amazon's mp3 download service. The music is DRM free and you can use it as you wish.

          I downloaded a song from Itunes and it had DRM and their special format (not mp3 or wma). I used a converter program on it to make it an mp3 that I could play anywhere.
          joecool5