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RIAA Threatens Harvard Law Prof With Sanctions

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the those-lucky-artists-sure-have-a-zealous-benefactor dept.

The Courts 333

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Unhappy with Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson's motion to compel the deposition of the RIAA's head 'Enforcer', Matthew J. Oppenheim, in SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum, the RIAA threatened the good professor with sanctions (PDF) if he declined to withdraw his motion. Then the next day they filed papers opposing the motion, and indeed asked the Court to award monetary sanctions under Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."

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Who is this guy, & why does he not want to spe (5, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572937)

From the first link: 'Mr. Oppenheim is the person who has been identified by the RIAA lawyers sometimes as the "client", sometimes as the "industry representative", and sometimes as the "client representative", and on at least one occasion as "the only person who had settlement authority" for the RIAA members. He claims to be associated with an entity called "The Oppenheim Group", and has acted as attorney of record for the record companies in several proceedings in Washington, D.C.'

So, if he represents the interests of the artists, (ahem), why is he - or his legal team, taking such extraordinary steps to avoid testifying?

Re:Who is this guy, & why does he not want to (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573027)

He's a suit. 'nuff said.

Re:Who is this guy, & why does he not want to (5, Informative)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573243)

You mean THIS guy:

"was the Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for the RIAA."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Oppenheim [wikipedia.org]

"Mr. Oppenheim then became active as one of the lead litigators representing the record industry in the landmark "file-sharing" cases against peer-to-peer networks, including against Napster, Aimster, AudioGalaxy, Morpheus, Grokster and Kazaa."
http://www.spoke.com/info/p6QsSD8/MatthewOppenheim [spoke.com]

"It is not legal, ethical or cool to copy somebody else's CD for your own use."
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/june03/copyright2.html [pbs.org]

See, he doesn't even agree with himself. What the RIAA does is not legal, ethical or cool since they copy the artists CDs for their own use. Bad Bad RIAA ;)

Re:Who is this guy, & why does he not want to (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573533)

"It is not legal, ethical or cool to copy somebody else's CD for your own use."

Oh, come on. It is kind of cool.

You know it is.

And even cooler is copying DVDs. You can have like thousands of movies in perfect quality, and the best part is that Mr. Oppenheim (if that is his real name) and his Rothchild/Bavarian Illuminati/Reptilian/Council on Foreign Relations/Banking Cartel buddies don't get a single red cent.

And the fun with Blue-Ray is just starting.

Now that's really cool.

Seriously, who's doing the RIAA's public relations?

Re:Who is this guy, & why does he not want to (4, Insightful)

sukotto (122876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574433)

Even cooler is that you:
- don't have to worry about your kid scratching the DVD and making it unplayable
- can easily skip the fscking "no skip" crap that every DVD seems to have
- can FIND the movie when you want to watch it

In almost every way, the ripped copy of the DVD is better than the physical disc

Re:Who is this guy, & why does he not want to (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573445)

why is he - or his legal team, taking such extraordinary steps to avoid testifying?

Because he's so morbidly overweight that he's no longer able to leave his bed. That and the bad hair plugs keep him from going out in public. Oh, and he's got one of those crazy eyes where you can't tell where he's looking and he knows everybody on the internet will put his testimony on YouTube and laugh at him and leave mean comments. He's really a very sensitive soul and if you met him you'd like him, except for the horrible odor that comes from his unwillingness to bathe due to his persistent aquaphobia.

That, and if he showed his face he'd be in more danger than Barack Obama at a Klan meeting.

Re:Who is this guy, & why does he not want to (3, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574553)

why is he - or his legal team, taking such extraordinary steps to avoid testifying?

Uh... because (they say) that he wasn't actually subpoenead to testify, and so being "compelled" is Bad Juju. (They claim) Profession Nesson actually subpoenead someone other mysterious 3rd party, who is resident in Maryland and so can't be subpoenad to a Massachusetts District court anyway.

Now, maybe they're lying, but that would be pushing it even for the RIAA. It almost sounds as though they created some Fake Oppenheim, let Nesson serve him, and now they bitch-slap him for claiming that he served the Real Oppenheim.

So I guess those would be extraordinary steps too, but at least the reason for taking them is obvious: it'd be damn funny if that's what they've done. Evil Robot RIAA Doubles. It's all true.

FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26572941)

FP

Grasping at straws (1)

tanmanX (1275146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572947)

Someone either sounds nervous, or a poor loser.

You don't get it, do you? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26572967)

It's not about the law. It's about money! Stop interfering with our money-making!

Re:You don't get it, do you? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573935)

going one step up, er... down, money is about control.

That explains why RIAA heads seem not to care if their actions get them hated or boycotted. Their battle is making people accept Intellectual Property being enforced. Is it a primary objective or just a way to terrorize people and prevent them for doing other things, like, you know, looking at what other powerful people do to society, dunno.

Those who collected enough power to be able to influence how much money is printed have no interest in having more or less money. They want money to have maximum control over as much people as possible. This effort shaped the history of the latest centuries, somebody call it conspiracy, i call it a natural outcome of control freaks interacting with other people.

Dripping with Bias (3, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574627)

Their battle is to enforce (a certain subsection of) the law until it doesn't need to be enforced. Just like any honest law enforcement agency you care to name. That's no conspiracy; anyone in a functioning democracy can read up about their responsibilities regarding IP.

However, just like most dishonest law enforcement agencies, they are not above threatening people who aren't doing anything wrong.

There really isn't much more to read into it than that.

Re:You don't get it, do you? (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574747)

Their battle is making people accept Intellectual Property being enforced.

Umm, I'm all for certain types of IP being enforced (Copyright: good. Trademark: good. Software patents: terrible). You can be OK with copyright and still find their actions despicable.

modern version of sending pictures (5, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26572975)

"Stop this (perfectly legal thing) or our teams of lawyers will fuck up your life" seems to be the new iteration of having thugs beat up a family member or sending pictures of your kids playing outside.
The intent is merely to scare people.

Re:modern version of sending pictures (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573039)

Yes, but doing it to a harvard law professor is a little bit... Simple

Simple ? (3, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573279)

its legal suicide.

Re:Simple ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574625)

I believe in this case simple was being used as a synonym for very, very dumb. As in: "They know not what they do, because they are of simple mind."

Re:modern version of sending pictures (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573063)

"Stop this (perfectly legal thing) or our teams of lawyers will fuck up your life" seems to be the new iteration of having thugs beat up a family member or sending pictures of your kids playing outside.

I may consider stopping the kids from playing outside if they sent me those pictures of the lawyers beaten up by the thugs.

Re:modern version of sending pictures (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573223)

Never mind the lawyers, I hear there are bears out there!

Re:modern version of sending pictures (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573709)

Never mind the lawyers, I hear there are bears out there!

Don't be silly there's no such thing as bears and lawyers.

Re:modern version of sending pictures (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573945)

If it saves one lawyer! Er, hold on...

Re:modern version of sending pictures (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573385)

Does this constitute barratry? Whether you agree with the case or not, the defendant has a right to representation. The only way that can be atacked is by plaintiffs representative in court. That's what they're for. That's how the system is designed to work.

But any "off field" attempts to defeat the defence should be considered as contempt of court. What next, slashing his tires so he can't get to the court house?

Your Honor (5, Funny)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573041)

Your Honor, we would like you to impose sanction against him. He's not supposed to fight back. Please punish him for fighting back. Our strategy doesn't work when intelligent lawyers fight back. This must be put to an end right now.

Pathetic RIAA.

Re:Your Honor (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573693)

Well, the court can't impose sanctions under Rule 37 for fighting back.

Rule 37 says the court can impose sanction, basically, if someone refuses or fails to appear, respond, answer etc. when so ordered by the court:

(A) Motion; Grounds for Sanctions. The court where the action is pending may, on motion, order sanctions if:

(i) a party or a party's officer, director, or managing agent â" or a person designated under Rule 30(b)(6) or 31(a)(4) â" fails, after being served with proper notice, to appear for that person's deposition; or

(ii) a party, after being properly served with interrogatories under Rule 33 or a request for inspection under Rule 34, fails to serve its answers, objections, or written response.

(B) Certification. A motion for sanctions for failing to answer or respond must include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the party failing to act in an effort to obtain the answer or response without court action.

Capitalism at it's best. (4, Insightful)

jbssm (961115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573055)

This is what capitalism is all about right?
You have money SO, you can hire good lawyers SO, you can prolong the process making the necessary appeals to higher courts for a long long time ... SO you bankrupt the other party SO, you win.

Nothing new to see here, move along.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573121)

No, this is what over-regulation is all about. The law has become so complex that the average person cannot easily represent themselves, SO they are forced to hire a lawyer, SO they are forced to shell out their hard-earned savings (taxed away by socialists), SO they end up being ground-up in the legal machine against corporations that have pooled resources -> your chain of issues.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (4, Informative)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573371)

The law has not "become" so complex; from day one, the entire reason for the legal profession was that the average citizen (then, in the European nations) couldn't possibly be expected to know all the procedures of the courts, not to mention all of the details of substantive law.

yeeaaa (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573665)

they are taxed away by socialists, but legal system is fucked up by capitalists. hmmmmm.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573411)

uhm... no.

capitalism is more about moving and redistributing money, not about some people oppressing others.

that's dictatorship -or something similar-.

just because money are involved it doesn't mean it's capitalism.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573419)

>This is what capitalism is all about right?
>You have money SO, you can hire good lawyers SO, you can prolong the process making the necessary appeals to higher courts for a long long time ... SO you bankrupt the other party SO, you win.

That's not capitalism, that poker

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (5, Interesting)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573439)

Not really. The RIAA is a perfect example of a cartel and what it can do. There's a reason they are usually illegal.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (1)

jbssm (961115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574003)

I beg to disagree on the motive of the problem.
This is not a problem that advices from cartelization but sorely from the fact that the money balance is seriously pending to one side of the parties involved.

This kind of issue is as possible to happen either if it's a corporation vs a middle class worker or if it's some overwhelmingly rich guy vs another middle class worker.

The problem seems to be that defending yourself in a court of law in certain countries, it's a very monetarily demanding activity, so if one party has much more money than the other that party can prolong the process for a long time and drive the other party to bankruptcy effectively denning the ability for the poorer part to defend itself.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573683)

Bullshit. I am tired of hearing people deride capitalism as a corrupt system. Capitalism is as susceptible to corruption as any other system. But that corruption is not the definition of the system.
Capitalism is as much about buying laws and manipulating the courts as socialism is about creating an elite inner circle cronies living lavishly at the expense of the proletariat.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573811)

I suppose we could run things like they did in the USSR. The state picked the lawyers for both sides and the verdict was known before hand.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574767)

If they sanction this guy under Rule 37, we should sanction the RIAA under Rule 34.

Re:Capitalism at it's best. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574823)

This is what capitalism is all about right?

No, this is clearly about oatmeal! I mean, as long as we're dragging in wholly irrelevant issues, let's go for broke.

True or false: they also have lawyers in socialist and communist economies.

Legal language and strength of case (4, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573057)

The PDF reminds me of something I have seen before with bad lawyers: the worse the case, the longer and more threatening the language. The RIAA seem to have spotted a new idea: if you want to be e.g. a bank robber or a burglar, become a lawyer. Then when you get caught, you can try to avoid testifying on the grounds of legal privilege.

On the other hand, when you have a strong case things are different. I'm reminded of a business acquaintance who had a case against a powerful US trade group some years ago. His lawyers said the case was unanswerable, spent a morning summarising it on one side of a letter, and sent it off. The other side promptly settled out of court. The other famous example was the UK satirical magazine Private Eye, which once received a long and very threatening letter from the lawyers of a notorious fraudster. Their reply was something on the lines of "We have had your interesting letter and we have taken legal advice. Our lawyers advise us to tell you to f**k off".

Given this history, the one liner back (in effect "bring it on") is surely instructive.

Re:Legal language and strength of case (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573093)

The RIAA seem to have spotted a new idea: if you want to be e.g. a bank robber or a burglar, become a lawyer.

That's not exactly a new idea!

Re:Legal language and strength of case (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573807)

A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more money than hundred men with guns

Unknown author. Tim S

The Glencoe massacre (0, Troll)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574037)

Indeed. Students of Scots history know that the villain in the Glencoe massacre was a Scots lawyer, who used the law to acquire the land.

Not at all like our own beloved Tony Blair, a Scots/Australian lawyer who used the law to suppress dissent while invading Iraq to try and gain control over the oil. Lawyers can steal more money because they can gain control over the hundren men with guns.

Re:Legal language and strength of case (1)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573129)

That was indeed a memorable moment and one I would like to see repeated often.

Re:Legal language and strength of case (5, Informative)

Tryfen (216209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573199)

The case to which you are referring is Arkell vs Pressdram.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkell_vs_Pressdram#Litigation [wikipedia.org]

The salient point is that Arkell's lawyers wrote to Private Eye saying "Our client's attitude to damages will depend on the nature of your reply". Private Eye's response was "We would be interested to know what your client's attitude to damages would be if the nature of our reply were as follows: Fuck off".

I recommend that people take this option more often. I *am* a lawyer - this is legal advice.

Re:Legal language and strength of case (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573469)

One reason I love somethingawful. I wonder if the examples they publish are their normal reaction but they do seem to get a lot of threats along the lines of "People are making fun of us....on the internet...make them stop or else!" and their responses always crack me up.

Re:Legal language and strength of case (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574541)

The RIAA seem to have spotted a new idea: if you want to be e.g. a bank robber or a burglar, become a lawyer. Then when you get caught, you can try to avoid testifying on the grounds of legal privilege.

Or in the alternative, just be a citizen or other person subject to the laws of the United States, and then you get the benefit of the 5th Amendment.

RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (4, Funny)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573069)

First they get the live online-coverage of one of these processes postponed. Now they try to legally blackmail the defense lawyer. What's next?

"That's an awfully nice courtroom you have here, your honor. Wouldn't it be terrible if something happened to it?"

Jeez, I hate these guys.

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573173)

MAFIAA

There, fixed it for ya.

Avoid buying from those [riaa.com] companies.

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (3, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573227)

I know... I know... but still, the word you may be seeking is "extort" as in extortion.

Blackmail is "we will tell your secret if you don't do what we say."

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (5, Funny)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573303)

Well you're right. English is not my primary language and even though my vocabulary is pretty good (I even knew extortion) sometimes I mix stuff up. So cut me some slack please?

If you don't I'll black-extort you.

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573421)

Black mail is such a dirty word, I prefer Extortion, the X makes it sound cool.

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573751)

I know... I know... but still, the word you may be seeking is "extort" as in extortion.

Blackmail is "we will tell your secret if you don't do what we say."

Exactly......also the x makes it sound cool.

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573441)

Is no one reminded of the Monty Python skit?

"Sure is a nice army base you have here, Colonel. It would be a shame is something....happened to it"

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573541)

I really wish someone would finally go the the RIAA headquarters and start a speech with "This is an awefully nice office you have here..."

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574941)

Now they try to legally blackmail the defense lawyer.

Oh, just be calm. He threw a punch. They threw a punch. Neither blow has landed yet.

Just let these guys duke it out. This is how it goes in the litigation ring.

Re:RIAA reaching new heights of credibility (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574961)

Or we could pull an Untouchables trick. Force the judge to switch juries with another one.

If RIAA got to one jury, they'll blow their tops if that happens.

Uhg (1, Interesting)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573079)

Sometimes I wonder if the RIAA (and for that matter the MPAA) will ever change.

Must we wait for the old fogies currently running the joint to die of old age before younger people, who've grown up with modern tech and know how futile the legal threats/proceedings are, finally get in charge?

Re:Uhg (3, Interesting)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573171)

Well, the old fogies as you call them are really quite young the biggest of them being Edgar Bronfman, Jr son of a booze smuggler in prohibition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Bronfman,_Jr [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Uhg (-1, Flamebait)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573353)

Hmm, in that case I revise my question?

How long until JEWS are no longer running these companies?

Re:Uhg (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573641)

"How long until JEWS are no longer running these companies?"

Probably about as long as bigoted assholes are allowed to flap their gums.

Re:Uhg (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573415)

It is not because they are clueless. Music business just revolves around seedy people. I know. I am starting up agent myself. I have a history of 15 years of tech development and know my local law quite well. I am sought up by young bands around me because I can tell them gazillion seedy practises of how to actually get a licing out of their music.
These discussions always take a place in some smoky studio with booze flowing. If my client and moral quibles, he will do by himself. I have one of these. He has honestly tried to break out for 10 years and is a very talented vocalist and guitarist. I can't help him because he finds my methods unsavory.
I do not collect by success. I have a fixed price which I take from the first album or by selling them to a bigger label. I have very little investement in myself, but they know I can help and are willing to sign my contract because they are only obliged to work with me until they get to bigger stages.

Anyway. Music is dog-eat-dog on business side. Those who try to make a living out of it, are quite heartless cynic people. But brilliant, talented cynic people.

Have fun supporting your local artist. Your pennies will never feed him. Do the math and calculate how much an ethical unknown artist would have to sell and tour to make ends meet. Don't forget to calculate expense of light techicians, sound technicians, roudies the bus driver, etc. Those salaries usually go untaxed and the venues pay grey. Try to work in proper taxation, insurances and what the heck not. A gig should cost $100/person and CD another $100 for the poor sods.

Music is not a business of scarce resources. It is of scarce customers. That's why the biggest front of the business looks so brutal.

Re:Uhg (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574311)

"Those who try to make a living out of it, are quite heartless cynic people. But brilliant, talented cynic people."

And, apparently, totally lacking in skills at grammar and spelling.

Re:Uhg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574721)

Sorry, not a natural English speaker, and a bit drunk ;)

Re:Uhg (2, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574893)

And, apparently, totally lacking in skills at grammar and spelling.

Actually I thought it was great. Read it with "A Russian Accent", like it's Boris Badanov speaking - "Muzt get Mooose end Sqvurel" and it all makes perfect sense!

""Thoss who try tu mek a leeving out of it, are quite heartless cynic pipple. But breeelliant, talented cynic pipple."

See? :-)

RS

Re:Uhg (2, Informative)

dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574825)

What the fuck? I nominate the parent post for "most incomprehensible 5-scored gibberish on Slashdot". I sure hope it's just pure bullshittery that there are any musicians signing contracts with this individual.

Re:Uhg (3, Interesting)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574967)

You can make it, you just might not make it big.

My dad's been self-employed as a musician for fifteen years now and gets by. It's enough for him to support himself and help support the family. The trick was his business experience and not being too caught up in his art to not find new markets. He does a fair number of kids programs, but also a bunch of festivals, concerts in small venues, and a few big openers. It's about living within your means, selling your name and music at every opportunity, and not spending $50 on gas for a $40 show.

Attorney-Client Privelidge (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573091)

If Mr. Oppenheimer has been the RIAA's attorney, aren't they corrent in asserting privelidge?

Re:Attorney-Client Privelidge (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573163)

Only the conversations between the MAFIAA and their lawyers are subject to that privilege. Dispositions made in court are always on the public record (except when stricken from the record, of course)

Re:Attorney-Client Privelidge (2, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573169)

Depends on the court, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attorney-client_privilege [wikipedia.org]

Plus, he can still tesify on actions or decisions he took on behalf of his client, and why, without revealing any conversations and/or communications with the client. After all, he was representing them...

Re:Attorney-Client Privelidge (5, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573175)

If Mr. Oppenheimer has been the RIAA's attorney (meaning agent only) then there has to have been someone at the RIAA giving him directions and telling him what to do. Basically the RIAA is trying to hold both ends of the stick: when you ask the RIAA: "who's the person who can speak for the corporation about this litigation", they say it's Mr. Oppenheimer. When you then say "Ok, can I ask Mr. Oppenheimer some questions?" they say: no, he's actually our lawyer so he can't tell you anything.

Say the RIAA sues someone. This means they gathered evidence etc. But the RIAA is not an actual human, just a "legal person". So some human employee of the RIAA must be able to testify to things like "we told our investigators to look for X" or "this is how much money we lost due to this alleged infringement". The RIAA is trying to claim that the employee who knows all this stuff is at the same time the RIAA's lawyer, so he only knows this stuff as their attorney and can't testify to it. It's a clever way to avoid having to present their case.

Re:Attorney-Client Privelidge (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573573)

Well, IANAL, but it kinda sounds illogical. When you can't present your case, how can you have one? Isn't that like saying "I sue you, but I won't tell you why, I only want you to be convicted and forced to pay me a sum that springs from my imagination"?

Thinking about it again... that's pretty much how they do it, ain't it?

Re:Attorney-Client Privelidge (1)

Casualposter (572489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573761)

It is not supposed to be fair, reasonable, or logical. It is supposed to be frightening, frustrating, and impossible so that you will pay the money they demand, sign the Admission of Eternal Guilt, the Waiver of Salvation, and commit yourself to the eternal damnation of Hell as a minion of the RIAA in the afterlife, as well as this one.

Re:Attorney-Client Privelidge (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573875)

I'm in the antivirus industry. I'm used to unwinable wars and fighting them. Bring it on.

When the client is a lawyer ... (5, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573111)

If I sue you, I can't hide my claims against you on the theory that my thoughts about these claims are part of my legal representation. This is the case even if I'm a lawyer. The RIAA is trying to do just that by employing a lawyer intermediary between the RIAA itself and the legal team representing them: First, the RIAA generates "evidence". Then the RIAA gives the evidence to the intermediary lawyer, and also charges him with making all the decisions for the corporation. Finally, the intermediary becomes the "client" for the actual legal team. This way the real client is shielded from discovery: all their contributions to the lawsuit were done through their "client-attorney" relationship with the intermediary. It's a thing of beauty, but I suspect it's not legal.

Re:When the client is a lawyer ... (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573145)

It's a thing of beauty, but I suspect it's not legal.

As always.

Wait, this isn't the britsh pedophiles topic.

Re:When the client is a lawyer ... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574165)

I am a lawyer - and therefore not technically (heh) or morally inclined to post other than anonymously. But what Oppenheimer is doing is using the attorney-client privilege to create a legal "black hole" whereby some substantive operations of the company (the RIAA) that businessmen commonly have control over are instead controlled by the lawyer, creating a situation where documents that would otherwise not be privileged magically are. Most companies would rather pay someone in lower management a lesser salary than the relatively high salary of a lawyer to do everyday tasks, but on a strategic level it sometimes makes sense for a company to pay a relatively astronomical fee to a lawyer for the lawyer to act as an employee in lower or middle management.
While highly unethical, it's not illegal. Oppenheimer MIGHT be subject to sanctions for doing it, but might not be. Probably depends on the judge and the jurisdiction.

Re:When the client is a lawyer ... (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574623)

But what Oppenheimer is doing is using the attorney-client privilege to create a legal "black hole" whereby some substantive operations of the company (the RIAA) that businessmen commonly have control over are instead controlled by the lawyer, creating a situation where documents that would otherwise not be privileged magically are.

Privilege extends to legal work alone. If someone happens to be a properly licensed attorney and you hire them to be your accountant, they can still be called on in court to testify as to accounting things. Using a lawyer for contractor management (even if the contractors are lawyers) is *not* legal work, and thus isn't related to priviledge. The only "magic" that appears is when you are willing to lie and say things are legal work when they are not.

Re:When the client is a lawyer ... mod up (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574921)

The anon coward is anon for good reason and is Informative.

Perhaps you should read the RIAA's notice. (-1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573203)

It would seem that Professor Nesson actually has pooched his deposition, in several ways. I guess if he was any good at this lawerying stuff, he'd be doing it rather than teaching it.

Re:Perhaps you should read the RIAA's notice. (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573323)

Yes, I saw that, but that's why they would claim, right? We'll see what the court decides...

Do we have an "oh boy, oh boy, oh boy !" tag ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573251)

If not, we need it to tag this story on riaa's behalf.

More info on Matt Oppenheim (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573273)

If, like me, you couldn't remember who this guy is, try:

http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Oppenheim_Matt_14844608.aspx

sanctions ???? (1)

mr_musan (1075927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573397)

could some one fill me in on exactly what the RIAA would sanction ?? are they going to tell all the record shops not to trade with him ??? I always thought sanctions where something countries did....

What a fantastic response (1)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573425)

From: Charles Nesson

the motion stands
we welcome your opposition

-=-=-=-

He's become my new personal hero.

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573473)

claim that BSD is a clean for the next

A Spent Bolt (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573527)

Their most powerful weapon was intimidation. It isn't working anymore. Time to pull down their pants and give them what they so richly deserve. Something with thorns and sharp edges would be appropriate.

What is Rule 37? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573547)

I'd be thankful if NYCL, or another /. regular legal eagle, would explain Rule 37 in normal English, or if possible in engineering English.

I tried reading the rule myself, and it was so chock full of legal terms that I fear I summoned a succubus.

Re:What is Rule 37? (3, Informative)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573775)

From the pdf, it sounds like rule 37 is saying "You haven't asked us nicely for this information outside of court first and you should"

Re:What is Rule 37? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573955)

Clearly, in this day and age, the easiest way to summon a succubus is to share some music files. It may take the demon a little while to find you, but that is understandable since the head demon is spending most of his time currently trying to stay OUT of court rooms.

Seriously, these legal tactics get used now and then. What is needed is some public information, you know, a coordinated Streisand effect making story. Something that will cause the RIAA to feel a need to explain what would have been answered in the deposition. Anyone got any ideas?

I dislike reading anything from (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573763)

http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com as I am not a lawyer and everything relayed there might as well be in wingdings.

The guy behind the blog needs to do as groklaw did with the SCO stuff. At least her notes on the matter gave me a slight idea what was going on.

So can someone please explain all that gibberish in plain english for me.

I understood up to "RIAA threatens Prof. Nesson with" after that I have no idea what they are on about

Re:I dislike reading anything from (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574461)

I second this! Ray, please translate a bit for us poor unfortunates. A little color commentary would be nice, too!

Mumbo Jumbo (1)

countach (534280) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573891)

What a bunch of Legal Mumbo Jumbo. It seems like this is all now a gigantic chess game, and we are at least 4 or 5 levels of stupidity removed from anything vaguely resembling anything like justice or serving the purpose of a legal system necessary for society.

Re:Mumbo Jumbo (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574145)

It's not that we are any levels of stupidity away from understanding it. Consider it a form of encryption (DRM, even) and we don't have the key. It's not stupidity that means people with the key can access the information more readily than those without it (although with sufficient time and intelligence it should be possible to crack the key -- expect that to be made illegal sometime soon. Ha ha, only serious.)

NYCL, please start annotating your submissions! (5, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574051)

Most people are still not understanding what this means, its implications, and its likelihood for success.

It's important to translate things out of legalese and analyze it in the context of the proceedings.

Slashdot is a tech site, not a legal one, so while the general community can see "aha", "touche'", and "gotcha" moments in, say, the realm of computer science or electrical engineering, we don't see it in legal context without some actual analysis. Feel free to qualify things with "this is my opinion" or whatever, but analysis and translation is essential.

Re:NYCL, please start annotating your submissions! (1)

Big Bill the Conjure (644483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574209)

This is good advice. I find NYCL's posts quite interesting and informative as it is, but it being the case that IANAL, there is little doubt but that a bit of elucidation on his part would be very helpful.

RICO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574127)

Hasn't the RIAA long ago crossed into the realm of racketeering with their antics? I mean, sure - it's not like the old-school mob, whose thugs would shake down the local businesses for "protection money."

But it's the same quack. Same walk. It's just replacing the thugs with lawyers, local businesses with college students, and "protection money" with "settlement money".

Either way, they're not entitled to the money.

the legal system (2, Interesting)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574221)

We've all seen the legal system (in the US and elsewhere) make honest mistakes, but to see a group of people wielding it like a club so consistently is sad. You can't even compare it to something like the Inquisition because at least in that case the people in whose interest it was to see injustice done were doing their own dirty work. The public went along with it too, but set that aside for now. Who is benefitting here? Groups like the RIAA. Who is being used as a weapon? The US court system. Are the courts really so collectively stupid that they can't see that? I would think more court officials would have enough self respect to say, "enough is enough, we're tired of being degraded like this."

Wasting resources (5, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574243)

RIAA's lawyers actually wrote this in the threat: "Defendent's repeated failures to follow basic rules of procedure is making this case far more expensive and time consuming than it should be." hmm... I'd almost say something like, Plaintiff's repeated contortions of basic rules of procedure is making multiple cases far more expensive and time consuming than it should be.

fIAgorz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574423)

This is going to turn Nesson on (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574831)

Nesson loves this stuff. He represented Ellsberg (the guy that stole and released the pentagon papers) against the us government. In classes he loves telling stories of how he stood against government intimidation to protect Ellsberg's location (e.g., being followed everywhere, never using phones in his home or office, taking elaborate trips arranged through fantastic means to have in person meetings away from the watching eyes of the us government). The government was breaking law after law to find Ellsberg and put him away, but Nesson managed to hide him long enough to prepare for defense and turned the government's own illegal actions back at them to get the case thrown out.

This is just the type of action the RIAA can be sure will get Nesson even more excited about this stuff. He'll just wear it a badge of honor.

Not news (1)

rssrss (686344) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574863)

This is bog standard litigation tactics. It is done in many cases. One side, sensing a tactical advantage, demands a deposition (out of court, but sworn and recorded testimony) from a person on the other side who thinks he has better things to do. The other side file papers accusing the the party of the first part of having sisters and being lawyers. This will go on and on, until the case ends when one or both parties decide they no longer want to waste time and money like this.

Questions for NYCL.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574909)

So reading the text of the complaint made by the plantiff, it would seem that they have a strong case: there are rules and regulations which the defendants have failed to properly follow. It matters not whether it is the plantiff or defendant who is at fault, proper procedure should always be followed - else why have them. The law is there to protect everyone.

However the counsel acting on behalf of the defendants have seemingly ignored this "warning".

So questions...
1) can I venture to ask what is your opinion on this matters such as this? for example, if a similar circumstance were to occur in another case, what view would you take on it? (if answering this puts you at risk, please don't.)

2) to the layman, reading the plantiff's motion seems to imply that the law is on their side. Are we missing anything important here?

3) if the plantiffs win this motion (arguably because it seems like counsel for the defendant was negligent), would the defendant be expected to pay for their counsel's "mistake"? And would counsel normally request go ahead from the defendant before proceeding further after receiving such a letter?

4) how do courts normally treat this type of interaction between defendant and plantiff? It would seem that the plantiff's communication was rather hostile, perhaps needlessly so.

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