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New Hampshire Law Students Take On RIAA

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the or-die-die-die dept.

The Courts 173

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "We have recently learned that another law school legal aid clinic has joined the fight against the RIAA. Student attorneys from the Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire, working under law school faculty supervision, are representing a lady targeted by the RIAA in UMG Recording v. Roy in New Hampshire. The case is scheduled for trial next Fall. That makes at least 4 law schools providing anti-RIAA defense services: University of Maine, University of San Francisco, Franklin Pierce, and, most recently, Harvard. Hopefully many more will follow. One commentator theorizes that this news 'will ... [encourage] professors and students at other law schools to take on hitherto defenseless people being pilloried by the corporate music industry.'"

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Awesome (2, Informative)

kno3 (1327725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992505)

We need more of this to happen! See, not all lawyers are bad.

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

musikit (716987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992543)

they didnt say the lawyer was working for free. wait for the bill to come. she might have been better off settling

Re:Awesome (1)

kno3 (1327725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992619)

Seemed to imply that, dunno maybe I read it wrong, we need a law student to clear things up.

Re:Awesome (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994095)

The clinics at law schools are virtually always free of charge. That is the entire point, to provide services to those who couldn't afford them.

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992549)

Wait till they graduate. Right now they're idealistic and assume they can change the world.

Re:Awesome (1)

kno3 (1327725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992581)

Ha, yeah but good has to start from somewhere.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993115)

yeah but from a law school?

Re:Awesome (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992585)

Wait till they graduate. Right now they're idealistic and assume they can change the world.

You meant to say: "Wait till they graduate. Right now they don't get paid either way."

Re:Awesome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25992611)

They can do anything, as long as they set their minds to it. Haven't you seen Legally Blond?

Re:Awesome (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993189)

I can feel your anger. It gives you focus. It makes you stronger...

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993273)

Yeah?

Well i can taste your anger.

Re:Awesome (2, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993351)

Yeah?

Well i can taste your anger.

Does it taste like chicken?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993453)

It always tastes like chicken.

Re:Awesome (2, Funny)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994023)

I always imagined it tastes like a slim jim.

Re:Awesome (1)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994109)

OH YEAH!

Re:Awesome (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994353)

I always thought that Kool-Aid should be drank with Slim Jims.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994247)

*sigh*

Listen, you can change the world. People do it all the time. The problem is, the wrong people do it. If you continue with this complacency of going with the flow, you'll never grow as a person, and you'll never contribute anything useful.

Yeah, sometimes, you can't change things, but if you give up, you've already lost.

Re:Awesome (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994443)

...says Anonymous Coward.

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992717)

See, not all lawyers are bad

Ray is my third favorite lawyer, right behind the lady who handled my divorce and the gentleman who handled my bankrupcy. When you need a lawyer, you NEED a lawyer!

The only "bad" lawyers (a) work for corporations or (b) are suing you. When you need a lawyer, one will save you far more than (s)he costs in fees. If you need to sue (say an uninsured drunk driver puts you in the hospital), one will tell you if you have a case or not. Here in Illlinois lawyers generally charge 1/3 of a settlement, or 50% of a judgement if it goes to court.

In an auto accident here, you get 3x the medical costs for "pain and suffering". If you have $10k in medical bills, the doctor(s) get(s) $10k, your lawyer gets $10k, and you get $10k. Without a lawyer you'll be lucky to get your bills paid.

Re:Awesome (4, Interesting)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993097)

When you need a lawyer, you NEED a lawyer!...

And when you DON'T need a lawyer, you still need to pay a lawyer! Because they write laws that ensure that they get paid even when you don't need them.

(I needed some work done reg. my immigration and I approached a friend of mine who works as a paralegal. Even though the work was trivial and she was more than capable of doing it, she told me that it was illegal for her to do that as she was not a lawyer.)

Re:Awesome (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993513)

Serves you right for immigrating to a shithole.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993937)

Funny: Immigration is one area where a credentialed paralegal *can* represent you instead of a lawyer.

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993195)

The only "bad" lawyers (a) work for corporations or (b) are suing you.

You've been fortunate.

Here's one anecdote in contradiction with your anecdotes: A friend of mine had a divorce lawyer that dropped him 6 months in and 1 week before court because they discovered that his wife had done one of those "free first appointments" with them 7 months prior (she apparently did that with all of the local divorce attorneys so that he would have a hard time finding representation). They kept his money and because of the "old boys club" of lawyers in his town he had to go out of town to even find an attorney who was willing to sue the first for his money back.

Which leads to the real problem with lawyers - the bar. Lawyers are "self-regulating" which we should all know by now is an inherent conflict of interest that inevitably leads to corruption, regardless of what industry does it.

In an auto accident here, you get 3x the medical costs for "pain and suffering". If you have $10k in medical bills, the doctor(s) get(s) $10k, your lawyer gets $10k, and you get $10k. Without a lawyer you'll be lucky to get your bills paid.

Your last sentence is telling. How much of that is because of the way the system works? The system that was setup by, is run by, and is regulated by lawyers?

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993839)

I'd take your point a step further. The problem with lawyers is not so much that they write the rules that they have to live by. But that lawyers write the rules that WE have to live by.

Re:Awesome (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994393)

Which is why a flat tax will NEVER pass. Wouldn't need tax attorneys.

Re:Awesome (3, Insightful)

barnackle (905200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993877)

Lawyers are "self-regulating" which we should all know by now is an inherent conflict of interest that inevitably leads to corruption, regardless of what industry does it.

Professional engineers are self-regulated. State boards of professional engineers, the exams, all that stuff is run by engineers and for engineers. In Florida, for example (which is typical of most states), the only government involvement is a few laws that give the Board its power. And medicine is not all that different.

You don't need an engineer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994065)

to sue the engineer who did a crap job.

You do need a lawyer to sue another lawyer.

Re:Awesome (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994005)

I think the real problem is people who run off to lawyers when they don't necessarily need them. I was fortunate enough to be able to make fair compromises with my ex-wife in regards to our kids and our stuff without the "services" of an attorney.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994219)

Your friend didn't get dropped because of any "old boys club". Your friend was dropped because it is against the Rules of Professional Conduct to represent someone in the situation you mentioned. That lawyer could have been disbarred if he had not withdrawn.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994239)

You're gonna fault him for that? The "conflict of interest" isn't that they're self-regulated, it's that he was trying to employ his wife's former attorney. The attorney absolutely cannot go to trial against a former client on the matter she was the former client on. Even if the lawyer hadn't tried to drop him, the judge wouldn't have allowed it.

As far as keeping the money, he HAD done work for you and you had paid him for it. What's fair is fair. Just because he can't go to court doesn't mean that the file you'd built up for your divorce was worthless.

Re:Awesome (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993223)

The only "bad" lawyers (a) work for corporations or (b) are suing you.

You forgot:

c) lose your perfectly valid case

When you need a lawyer, one will save you far more than (s)he costs in fees.

Very true.

In addition, if there weren't lawyers, we wouldn't be able to tell morbid jokes that people laugh at.

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994215)

c) lose your perfectly valid case

That's not a bad lawyer, it's an incompetent one. Lawyers are like programmers or doctors, though - some of them are excellent, some are mediocre. Like finding a mechanic, doctor, or barber, the trick is to find a competent one.

Re:Awesome (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993237)

"The only "bad" lawyers (a) work for corporations or (b) are suing you."

Oh man, you couldn't be more wrong. There are many, many lawyers out there just aiming to make a quick buck on someone who "NEEDS" a lawyer and doesn't know how to pick one.

My father hasn't had to deal with lawyers much, and he picked a bad one. It ended up costing him a LOT of money without actually fulfilling his 'need'. The lawyer was good at one thing: Convincing the client to stay with him instead of going elsewhere. No matter what I said, my father refused to leave and find a better lawyer, even after admitting that the guy wasn't doing the job.

Re:Awesome (2, Informative)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993925)

The only "bad" lawyers (a) work for corporations or (b) are suing you.

or (c), advertise heavily on tv, asking if you've been injured in an accident.

Re:Awesome (4, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994039)

My cousin is a bad lawyer under category (c) "Lawyers who you know are bad because you know them". The stories he proudly tells about using courtroom dirty tricks are astounding. One of my favorites is the "jar of marbles". He currently works for a large hotel chain defending them against suits brought by workers they've cheated. In one case, the suit alleged that the hotel would only promote white men to management. He argued that the fact that all management was white men could be pure chance. He produced a jar of marbles that were 10% black and 90% white and said "is it not possible to reach into this jar and, by chance, pull twenty marbles and not pull one black one, just by chance?" The plaintiff's attorney objeted at this bullshit and the objection was sustained, and the jury told to disregard that little bit of irrelevantr statistics; but (as he proudly related) "I kept that jar of marbles on the defense table, right where the jury could see it, for the whole trial--- and we won". Even if it was lack of evidence that caused him to prevail, the fact that he is proud of that marble shit just goes to show what kind of dickhead tends to become a lawyer--- or maybe, what kind of dickhead becoming a lawyer tends to turn you into.

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994171)

the fact that he is proud of that marble shit just goes to show what kind of dickhead tends to become a lawyer--- or maybe, what kind of dickhead becoming a lawyer tends to turn you into.

Isn't there a third possibility? Like that some lawyers are jerks? Just like there are some jerks everywhere else in the general population?

Re:Awesome (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994217)

Shady lawyers are there when you "need" them also. Summarized in this anecdote:

I had a friend who was in a pretty bad car accident with his best friend, who was driving at the time. They both went to the hospital and had bills to pay, etc. My friend (the non-driver) hired a lawyer to assist with the insurance companies. The first thing the lawyer did without consent was to sue the driver. As soon as the non-driver friend found out, he told the lawyer that he never had any intention of suing the driver. The lawyer said "Ok, but you have to pay for services already rendered on the matter." Which, once you saw the bill, basically was his way of saying "You're either going to sue him so I get my cut, or I'm just going to charge you my cut I would have gotten." Given the large amount of demanded money by the lawyer that he could not afford, he ended up suing his friend.

Luckily, there were no long term injuries from the accident, and the driver was understanding when the story was explained to him.

Re:Awesome (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25992833)

Agreed, but why just cases vs RIAA? Sure there are public defenders, but I'd love to see more law schools helping those who end up on the wrong side of a major corporation or corporate lobby group. Being part of a class or group that helped set a precedent through a landmark case would look good on your resume, as a lawyer-to-be.

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993005)

Why just cases vs RIAA? Now THAT is a pretty damned good question! It might just be that the tactics of the RIAA's legal team are so reprehensible that people are volunteering to fight them. If you are a judge or know one, you should perhaps help point this out to them.

It has always been my thinking that Harvard law school very rarely ever comes out on the wrong side of a legal issue. It is their business after all. That term Preponderance of evidence [thefreedictionary.com] would seem to apply here when so many law schools are weighing in on this issue, and doing so against the RIAA legal team.

It would seem to me that this should be seen as a very bad omen for the RIAA et al. When all the kids circle around and start picking on the class bully, things normally get sorted out, and the bully gets a black eye or two as needed. I think that is what we might be witnessing in the greater stage of legal theater.

Re:Awesome (2, Funny)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992945)

See, not all lawyers are bad.

Wash your mouth out!

New Hampshire! (3, Informative)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992579)

Don't Tread on Me! Baby!

Re:New Hampshire! (4, Informative)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992925)

NH is "Live Free or Die!", which is even better.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993155)

Truly the best state motto ever.

New Hampshire's state constitution is also the only one which recognizes the right of the people to rebel against their government.

Let's hear it for New Hampshire!

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993355)

Truly the best state motto ever.

New Hampshire's state constitution is also the only one which recognizes the right of the people to rebel against their government.

Let's hear it for New Hampshire!

Aside from fucking up their motto - I have to say that New Hampshire is a state that I may have to retire to. I'll have to check their gun laws though. New England has become quite negative towards the Second Amendment.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

HadouKen24 (989446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993875)

NH has very generous gun laws. The same restrictions apply to gun ownership that apply in every state--concealed carry only with a license, no felons buying guns, etc.--but nearly every gun restriction that can be removed, is. There is no gun registration, and open carry is legal for any legitimate gun owner without any sort of license.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992965)

Don't Tread on Me! Baby!

Good one. Hope you get modded to +5. Here's to the great state of New Hampshire, home of the Green Mountain Boys.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993103)

Re:New Hampshire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993271)

This is probably the important part - from your link:
 

With several hundred members, the Green Mountain Boys effectively controlled the area where New Hampshire grants had been issued.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993347)

Sorry for my misremembering of history! I may have gotten the facts wrong, but I got the spirit right.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

Toandeaf (1014715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994439)

Heh, the point was that while they were from NH they did not recognize it and wanted to be independent. This lead to the splitting of NH and the formation of Vermont.

Re:New Hampshire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993499)

Woosh!

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993231)

Almost, but the Green Mountain Boys are from our spooning partner to the west, Vermont. /Vermonter stuck in NH due to the job market

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992989)

New Hampshire's state motto is actually "Live free or die," (obviously adopted before the RIAA was around and contributing to campaigns.) I'm unclear as to the connection between "don't tread on me" and new hampshire. Did someone from NH say it first?

Re:New Hampshire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25994083)

We locals rather prefer "Live, freeze, and die", but we're usually not that cynical.

Re:New Hampshire! (1)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994451)

And here I thought it was "Live, Freeze and Cry"

Lady? That was no lady! (-1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992597)

From TFS: "representing a lady targeted by the RIAA"

Are you sure it was a lady? We are talking about the Internet, after all...

Re:Lady? That was no lady! (0)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992653)

Are you sure it was a lady? We are talking about the Internet, after all...

Yes, it's a lady named Roy. Wait a second...

Re:Lady? That was no lady! (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992953)

Could have been worse. She could have been named "Seigfried".

[yeah, I know Roy is her last name]

Re:Lady? That was no lady! (0)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992869)

I suppose it could be a printer...

Not mainstream yet. (2, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992609)

Until this hits the masses the RIAA will continue its mad dog attacks and back room deals. Get this out there for everyone to see. Run an RIAA case in front of Judge Judy and then we'll see the changes that really matter.

/tag this +1 sarcastic please.

Remember, kids! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25992633)

If you're spewing out copies of music, movies, or software, it's because information wants to be free and copyright infringement != theft... unless you're messing with open-source software. In that case you're a dirty fucking bastard who deserves to be strung up by the nuts. Social contracts only apply to the upstanding hippies who can't make a buck off their work. Pop artists who sell millions of copies of their songs and movies because people enjoy and value their work are clearly the soulless hacks here.

Re:Remember, kids! (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992943)

I swore off biting trolls but dammit, I guess I'm relapsing. Guess I need trollbiter rehab.

If you're spewing out copies of music, movies, or software, it's because information wants to be free and copyright infringement != theft...

If I'm spewing out copies of music, movies, or software, it's because the writers WANTED it to be "spewed out", like most file sharers. Like Lessig said in his book, of the three kinds of P2P, only one can possibly harm the artist, and the other three actually help. P2P is no more a threat to the entertainment industries than the VCR and cassette were. It's only a threat to the established but outmoded business practices. Everyone else from musicians to film makers are using P2P constructively.

Information doesn't want anything. I guess you could anthropomorphise and say "information wants to be free like compressed gas wants to escape", or you could just say "when information isn't free, neither are you."

However, copyright infringement is indeed not theift. Neither is smoking dope or jaywalking. Extortion IS theift, which is exactly what the RIAA is doing, Mr. Record Company Executive (you guys must get some killer cocaine to be such greedy, selfish, heartless bastards).

unless you're messing with open-source software

No, it's still not theift. It's copyright infringement.

The rest of your incredibly stupid rant is beneath discussion. Go back under your bridge.

Oops... correction (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993063)

Four kinds of P2P, not 3. That was a typo, sorry

Re:Remember, kids! (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993227)

If I'm spewing out copies of music, movies, or software, it's because the writers WANTED it to be "spewed out", like most file sharers.

If content producers WANTED their content freely distributed to anyone and everyone with no restrictions, they wouldn't band together into associations like the RIAA, MPAA or FSF to protect their rights. Yes, the tactics of the RIAA in particular are reprehensible and ill-conceived. Yes, they will never be able to put the P2P genii back in the bottle. But, for now, that's the way the system works.

The laws that protect Metallica are the ones that also protect GPL'd software.

Re:Remember, kids! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994425)

For every band that is on an RIAA label there are 100 that are not. Copyright law doen't protect the musicians like it protects GPL programmers, it protects the GPL while not protecting the RIAA musician whatever; musicians' labor is "works for hire" under US copyright law; they work for the label, like a cook works for McDonald's or a programmer works for Microsoft. Like a Microsoft programmer, an RIAA musician does not own the "intellectual property" he creates.

For every RIAA song recorded in the 21st century there are a hundred indie songs, and over 99 of those indie songs can be freely copied with the blessing of the copyright holder, just like GPL software can be freely copied. In short, the RIAA is NOT the industry; it is just the noisiest, most selfish, evil part of it. Most "content producers" WANT their work shared. For reasons why see the introduction to Cory Doctorow's Little Brother or read Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons. Both are freely available on the internet with the authors' blessing, and can be bought in any bookstore.

Metallica is Microsoft Office, The Station is Star Office. The BSA == the RIAA. GPL software doesn't need or want the BSA any more than indie musicians need or want the RIAA.

And BTW, the RIAA wan't established "to protect their rights". It was established to standardize records' equalization [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Remember, kids! (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993417)

Like Lessig said in his book, of the three kinds of P2P, only one can possibly harm the artist, and the other three actually help. P2P is no more a threat to the entertainment industries than the VCR and cassette were.

Indeed P2P is a great threat to all creators that use a digital medium. It is simple - I and everyone else on the Internet has a choice now. We can consume for free, or we can consume and pay. It is a simple and obvious choice.

I can choose to pay for what I download. I can use many different "stores" to make purchases. But at the same time, perhaps with even greater breadth of products to choose from, I can just take for free. Most of the people I know that are Internet-savvy are taking without paying. There doesn't seem to be any clear consequence to them why they would choose to pay.

There is no "download for free and pay later" option. How many times does the average person read a book or watch a movie? Once? Twice? OK, so now you have read it or seen it. Why would you ever, ever in your entire lifetime pay for the opportunity to do so again.

So I would say P2P is clearly harmful to content creators. If content is available in digital form, it is available today on the Internet for free. Sure, there may be greater familiarity with some content creators and it might mean that I would seek out there other works in the future. But if it is available for free, why would I ever pay for it?

Now this looks like a perfect world, as long as you aren't hoping for revenue from digital content. I do not see this going back to a "pay" model anytime soon, if ever.

Re:Remember, kids! (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994483)

care to explain why Cory Doctorow's Little Brother sells well despite being on the internet? Look it up and read the introduction for his excellent reasons for doing so.

Everyone is listening to the RIAA's bullshit, good thing we dodn't listen to the MPAA when Heston said "the VCR is to movies like Jack the Ripper is to women." Logical, reasonable, but dead wrong.

No artist has ever starved from having his works given away, but many have starved from obscurity.

Re:Remember, kids! (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994121)

P2P is great for the creators of art. It's bad for the distributors and producers who control the industry, and want to stay in control. I'm most saddened when I see artists give in to the brainwashing the music executives do to them and come out against it.

Re:Remember, kids! (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994293)

I'm most saddened when I see artists give in to the brainwashing the music executives do to them and come out against it.

Most performers today totally get it... and can't wait for their recording agreement commitments to be over.

Re:Remember, kids! (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994129)

P2P is no more a threat to the entertainment industries than the VCR and cassette were.

But the "VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone"!!! Jack Valenti told us that, and he wouldn't lie, would he?

Re:Remember, kids! (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994287)

t's only a threat to the established but outmoded business practices. Everyone else from musicians to film makers are using P2P constructively.

Didn't you know the RIAA is the bailout for the failing of the entertainment industry to creatively work their way into the digital age? Why not preserve an antiquated model of doing business? Then entertainment executives don't have to work hard and earn their pay.

Why?... (5, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992639)

Why did it take this long for schools to fight against the RIAA? Ignoring the possibility that the RIAA might have been right * (which the majority of us would be arguing against, surely...), it just seems to be a perfect opportunity for any law students to actually practice law and earn some valuable experience on high profile cases. Were I a law student, I would salivate at the chance to be involved with something like this in the defense of fellow students. I'm surprised it took this long for law departments to get involved.

*And, really, it doesn't matter if the students being targeted were guilty. In our society, everyone deserves legal representation, even the guilty. Right or wrong, it's just how our system works. The law departments view shouldn't have been "this person is obviously innocent - we should get involved and help them". It should have been "these cases are high profile cases that will involve a lot of complex legal issues and will teach our law students a lot of valuable lessons that will make them better lawyers in the future. We should be involved." In my opinion, of course...

Re:Why?... (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993119)

They took this long because despite what most believe, universities are exceptionally political. They have been targeted by RIAA in the past and did not want to lose potentially millions in legal fees at a time when enrollment is dropping due to rising costs. Ethical discourse is a luxury that few universities can afford right now; As you might notice, all of the universities to date have been financially well-off.

As to the position the law departments' take, I would point out that they are under no ethical obligation to represent a person based on presumed guilt or innocence. Most practitioners of law are doing so to make money, and pick and choose who they represent based on how much income can be derived from a case. The issue of innocence or guilt has no bearing on the decision to (or not to) represent someone. And besides, you don't want a lawyer who presumes one way or another, you want a lawyer who will argue your side to the best of his/her abilities.

Re:Why?... (4, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993151)

Part of the problem is stigma. Let's say there was a high-profile child pornography ring in the city where the university is. Under the concept of "everyone deserves representation", shouldn't the law school assemble an army of lawyers to help out in the defense of the accused?

No, they wouldn't because the local (and maybe national) press would utterly crucify the school, the professors and the students.

Now, the RIAA is interesting because the battle is clearly over the University's rights to shield their students, no matter what the students do. In a lot of ways, the University may be right that they can shield the students and are not required to expend any resources on the behalf of the RIAA attempting to track down the students. It might even be that all the students were doing is covered by fair use. However, it is highly likely that the student's activities are in fact infringing on copyrights and shielding them isn't a great policy.

The one problem is that no matter how "wrong" the students may be, forcing the University to do anything at all in support of a lawsuit against the students would seem to be an unpopular move.

And besides, everyone that knows how is downloading stuff today. Free has won the day and paying for digital stuff is unlikely to ever come back into favor.

Re:Why?... (1)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993251)

it just seems to be a perfect opportunity for any law students to actually practice law and earn some valuable experience on high profile cases.

This might actually be part of the problem. It would interfere with the long-standing internship/apprenticeship period which most law school students/graduates have to go through. Tradition, exploitation of cheap work, and a feeling of "this is what I had to do, so you do too" that all to many of us foist upon younger generations out of spite.

Althoug, really, I suspect more of it is the law school being hampered by overly cautious and spineless administrations.

Re:Why?... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993471)

And, really, it doesn't matter if the students being targeted were guilty.

Nitpick: in our society, no one is guilty until a court has found them so. The students (and speeders and murderers and pedophiles) are innocent until that instant, which is why every deserves good representation.

Re:Why?... (2, Informative)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993953)

Nitpick: in our society nobody is legally guilty until proven so in a court of law for criminal matters. In reality someone can still be guilty as sin even if they aren't convicted. If you are going to harp on someone's choice of words make sure that the word doesn't have different meaning in different contexts. In the context he used its clear that "guilty" is not refering to "legally guilty of a criminal offense."

Re:Why?... (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994275)

In addition, you can still be "guilty in the eyes of the public" long before you've even had a trial and even long after your innocence has been proven in a court of law. Suppose a teacher was arrested for possession of child pornography and had a high-profile trial. Even if the teacher was cleared of all charges, the public would still see the teacher as a threat to their children and would force the school to fire him/her. The public wouldn't care that all of the evidence proved that he/she was innocent, they would only care that the nightly news told them that a scary child pornographer was in their childrens' classroom.

Re:Why?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993943)

These law schools aren't necessarily representing their own students -- more than likely, they're representing average people who don't have the means to defend themselves. This is what law clinics do. So unless someone comes to them for help, they won't get involved. Sort of like the Supreme Court. They won't rule on stuff for the fun of it, they have to wait for a case to come to them.

So don't fault the law schools who are helping RIAA victims for free.

Re:Why?... (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994339)

These law schools aren't necessarily representing their own students -- more than likely, they're representing average people who don't have the means to defend themselves.

Correct. In this case, the defendant is just an average person who doesn't have the means to defend herself. (By the way, almost nobody has "the means to defend themselves" in a federal copyright infringement litigation, let alone one brought by the unscrupulous vipers the RIAA uses.)

Re:Why?... (1)

barnackle (905200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994055)

In our society, everyone deserves legal representation, even the guilty. Right or wrong, it's just how our system works.

By the way, I think that's part of the reason everyone hates lawyers so much: Half of all lawyers are on the wrong side. And it's their job to game the law for their client. If the law allows them to do something evil, then that was the fault of the legislators who wrote the law.

"Free" as in beer High profile Trainning! (2, Interesting)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992667)

Great, now this law schools are really delivering what they promise. High profile, real case of study against mayor law firms.

Lots of legal battles to teach their students the ways of the corporate warfare...
They students not only will have Harvard Law Student in their resume, also RIAA legal case.

For the fee this universities collect, they have found a new way to train legal sharks...

I should patent this "field training from school active model" :D

Ok. Where do i donate ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992759)

dont these people have a site they take donations for the effort, or we just donate to eff.org ?

granted, im gonna donate 10 bucks, but i do this frequently.

Re:Ok. Where do i donate ? (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993021)

dont these people have a site they take donations for the effort, or we just donate to eff.org ?

Yes you can! Go here [piercelaw.edu] to donate to the Franklin Pierce Law Center. Let them know why you're doing it, too, because you appreciate the courageous work that their law clinic is doing on behalf of Mavis Roy.

Re:Ok. Where do i donate ? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993451)

--
Hilarious IT footage [thewebsiteisdown.com]

Awesome :)

All the so called evidence is circustantial: (5, Informative)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992769)

BUT: "Circumstantial" does not mean any of the following, about evidence: (1) inadmissible; (2) insufficient to prove a fact in court; or (3) unreliable. You can be convicted of murder based on nothing but circumstantial evidence, if it is strong enough. Otherwise, murderers who hide their victims' bodies the best could not be convicted. And the RIAA only has to prove infringement by a preponderance of the evidence, a much lower standard of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt as required for a criminal conviction.

This is about the RIAA's abuse of the discovery process and, in particular, its filing lawsuits for the sole purpose of collecting evidence through discovery. You personally can't just send me interrogatories without having a pending lawsuit against me, and you also can't file a lawsuit whose only purpose is to allow you to send me interrogatories. And that's what the RIAA is apparently doing...

=Smidge=

Re:All the so called evidence is circustantial: (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994289)

All the so called evidence is circustantial

I often find my case is helped when cross examination is delivered from the trapeze. Though I find the judge is not amused when I use the clown car to approach the bench.

Its Standardized Education (4, Insightful)

thtrgremlin (1158085) | more than 5 years ago | (#25992897)

Taking the humanitarianism out of the equation (as wonderful as it is) this is the perfect opportunity for hands on experience. Lawyers usually only get to look at the same old cases that have been reviewed to death, but here is the opportunity go up against the same prosecutor in the same case over and over again. These are nearly scripted debate speeches. Sure, in a way you could say that is what a lawyer does, but this is uniquely different in that there are just sooo many cases, all with the same prosecutor fighting the same fight.

A class where students get into groups and provide legal council in different cases that almost all look the same? Computer science students can get identical computers, biologists can dissect many of the same species, but I don' think before the RIAA started going sue happy across the country was there such an opportunity to standardize a law class year after year fighting the same case in a real courtroom over and over again.

This is going to help real people, but realistically I hope it doesn't last long. I can just see it now: RIAA gets bailout from congress to save law school curriculum across country. HA!

Good law schools should really take advantage of this opportunity. I think schools could be judged by this for how up to date they are and how much they really care about their lawyers getting real experience in the classroom.

Re:Its Standardized Education (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993065)

Good law schools should really take advantage of this opportunity. I think schools could be judged by this for how up to date they are and how much they really care about their lawyers getting real experience in the classroom.

I agree, and Franklin Pierce happens to be one of those institutions that really cares about getting its students real-world, law-practice, experience [piercelaw.edu] .

Re:Its Standardized Education (2, Insightful)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993569)

Hear hear. When I was studying Engineering, the most interesting case studies were the real life cases - actual original research and current theories.

Similarly here, these students seem to have a deparment which values them enough to give them something interesting AND useful to work on.

Good on them all.

=Smidge=

Re:Its Standardized Education (2)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994385)

I can attest to that, having graduated from FPLC. They had extensive externship opportunities (actually working for an entire semester in lieu of classes), clinics, competitions. They are best known as being an IP school so they are particularly well suited for this sort of work in fighting the RIAA.

Let's not stop just here (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25992923)

We need the IT students to be the expert witnesses too :)

Give credit where credit is due (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25993193)

FTA:

We have recently learned that student attorneys* at the Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire, have joined the fight against the RIAA, [...]
*Student attorneys are law students working under the supervision of law school faculty members.

We should all stand up and thank the lawyers of the RIAA and MPAA for providing their wonderful volunteer work to train the lawyers of tomorrow.

Did the lady infringe? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993561)

Did the lady being defended by valiant students and faculty actually infringe on RIAA's intellectual property?

Welcome to the Real World (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993575)

Real world cases are the best kind to learn from. Especially those on the emerging cusp of new legal theories.

Now how long before the RIAA starts filing protests on how public money is financing the cases against them (and the need for Congressional action to Stop That Now), or targeting those schools providing such assistance for "enhanced enforcement" actions?

Boston Legal (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993617)

This won't be a serious public issue until it shows up on an episode of Boston Legal. And they better hurry since that show is in it its final, truncated, season.

Re:Boston Legal (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994091)

It was already covered in The Paper Chase...oh wait, I'm giving away my age again.

Agreed (2, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25993751)

The Righteous Inquisition Army of America will know the full extent of public scrutiny once the whole of North America sees Denny Crane get sued for a million dollars because his next door neighbour uses his unencrypted wifi to use his limewire to download Metallica's latest!

WTF (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25994225)

It is great that universities are waking up to the abuse, but why did it take so long to figure out that RIAA dragnets are bad? Universities, as entities of their communities, funded by the public, should be stewards and protectors of the public when this type of crap happens. Don't universities gather great amounts of intellect? If so, how come they couldn't see that the RIAA was abusing the US legal system and others around the world? What a bunch of cowards! It must be safer to wait and see instead of influence. WTF do we fund research in universities except to create new theories, modify old ones, and throw away those that are irrelevant. Isn't this referred to as progressive? I am curious as to what is encouraging them. This would have been, and still is, an excellent exercise for law departments and budding new lawyers. The similarity in corporate entrenched culture that becomes stodgy and universities failing to be decisive and lacking of leadership seems oddly similar. Take a risk and be leaders in our communities.
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