updated 12:00 pm EDT, Thu September 18, 2008
RIAA Punishing Defense
The RIAA has filed a motion (PDF) in an attempt to silence an outspoken lawyer defending the targets of its anti-piracy lawsuits. Calling many of his actions "overzealous," the American music industry group accuses New York attorney Ray Beckerman of frustrating its attempts to sue Marie Lindor and other defendants for allegedly sharing music online and violating individual music labels' copyrights.
The RIAA particularly asks for sanctions against Beckerman for having engaged in what the group perceives as a "bad faith" PR campaign through his blog, which has developed a reputation for exposing questionable RIAA legal tactics that include using unlicensed investigators to find data or using the threat of expensive litigation to earn no-contest settlements from the accused. The defense lawyer's postings of official legal rulings and others' articles are meant to "embarass" the RIAA, according to the motion.
The representatives for the RIAA also argue that Beckerman's in-court motions, such as efforts exclude questionable evidence, avoid deposing children, and produce information on a contract deal with controversial investigation firm MediaSentry, have all unnecessarily delayed the legal process. Lindor also figures prominently in the sanction request and is accused of having lied about certain facts in her case, up to and including an assertion that she didn't have Internet access of her own at the time of the supposed file sharing.
Beckman has said only that the RIAA move is "frivolous and irresponsible," though a lawyer currently engaged in a counter-suit against the music organization describes the approach as hypocritical. Attorney Lory Lybeck of Washington state charges the RIAA itself with running its own PR campaign that attempts to intimidate file sharers by sending "threatening" letters that in some cases have targeted known innocents. [via Wired]