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RIAA Fights Tooth and Nail to Prevent iTV Telecast of Legal Proceeding

A modicum of good news from the Troll Wars with the broadcasting of Thursday’s trial where the Muzak Biz, via RIAA, is suing a college kid Joel Tenenbaum for allegedly downloading a few mp3s!

The Muzak Biz bullies had been fighting tooth and nail to keep their random victimisations and ridiculous cases kept totally in private and also maintain a monopoly on information about these cases.

For once though, the victim has some very strong support in the form of of Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson and his staff!

We wish Joel and Professor Nesson all the best in their commendable stand against these greedy bullies!

All detailed below in a very interesting piece from Ray Beckerman, a lawyer who makes available information on the countless, and often spurious, cases being taken by the Muzak Biz and who maintains the wonderful blog “Recording Industry vs. The People“.

Thanks to iptvevangelist

Special to ipTVe, By Ray Beckerman


I have been representing defendants in cases brought by the RIAA for 4 years now. The RIAA has consistently done everything it can to try to keep all of the proceedings “confidential”, even when there is no legal basis for doing so.

In my opinion, their primary reason for that tactic has been to keep as much of a monopoly as possible on information about the cases. The public availability of transcripts, legal documents, exhibits, and other information about the cases would have driven the defense costs down for other defendants and their attorneys, which is anathema to the RIAA lawyers.

My blog, “Recording Industry vs. The People“, was established for the purpose of partially countering that monopoly. Additionally, another “Web 2.0” idea I’ve had was to reach out to the Slashdot and Groklaw online communities for input into the deposition of the RIAA’s expert witness.

The legal team which has recently begun representing a 24-year old graduate student in Boston, Joel Tenenbaum, has taken it a step further, and is really taking the RIAA on, over the secrecy issue. The team, which consists of Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson and some of his CyberLaw and Evidence students, has set up a website about the case, sends out press releases, ‘tweets’ the depositions and court appearances on Twitter, and now has requested – and been granted – permission to stream a January 22nd hearing over ITV. (See “January 22nd oral arguments in SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum will be televised over the internet”, Recording Industry vs. The People, January 14, 2009.)

In her January 14th order granting permission for the proceeding to be streamed, District Judge Nancy Gertner termed the RIAA’s opposition to the televising “curious”, since the RIAA’s lawyers had persistently represented to her that the aim of the litigation campaign was to “educate the public”. She ruled that Courtroom View Network (CVN) would be the sole entity authorized to televise using the Court’s own previously installed cameras, the proceeding would be “narrowcast” to Harvard Law School’s “Berkman Center for Internet and Society” which would in turn make the broadcast available for all noncommercial uses over its website, and that the broadcast would be “gavel to gavel” with no editing permitted. A copy of the actual order (PDF) is available online.

The RIAA is so vehemently opposed to the televising, that it has gone so far as to file an “extraordinary writ” of prohibition with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, trying to get the order overturned and to block the televising. (See ” RIAA Files Writ of “Mandamus or Prohibition” with 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum”, Recording Industry vs. The People, January 17, 2009).

As of this writing, the outcome of that proceeding is unknown.


*Ray Beckerman is a veteran New York City-based business lawyer, with Ray Beckerman, P.C., whose practice includes internet, copyright, software, and other commercial law subjects. He began his career with the well known commercial and entertainment law firm, Phillips Nizer. He has represented defendants targeted by the RIAA and by the MPAA, and is the author of the popular digital online copyright law blog, “Recording Industry vs. The People”.

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January 20, 2009 Posted by | InternetNazis, Ray Beckerman, _TECH STUFF | 2 Comments