Thanks to a friend of our blog, who sent me this transcript.
In the massive consolidated Boston case, termed London-Sire v. Does 1-4, where Judge Nancy Gertner has been presiding over 5 years worth of default judgments and forced settlements, we have learned that the Judge held a conference on June 17th covering a number of the cases.
The RIAA lawyers were present.
No lawyers were present for any of the defendants.
A few of the defendants were in the courtroom, but without lawyers representing them.
Among the remarks made by Judge Gertner:
-"There is a huge imbalance in these cases. The record companies are represented by large law firms with substantial resources." page 8
-"The law is ... overwhelmingly on their [the record companies'] side." page 8
-"Sometimes they answer and get counsel, and because the law is so overwhelmingly on the side of the record companies, there's a negotiated settlement..." page 9
-"It simply doesn't make sense to fight them as an individual, [pro] se..." page 9
-"...counsel representing the record companies have an ethical obligation to fully understand that they are fighting people without lawyers... to understand that the formalities of this are basically bankrupting people, and it's terribly critical that you stop it...." page 11
Transcript of June 17, 2008, conference attended by RIAA lawyers and pro se defendants
[Ed. Note. While it is heartening to see Judge Gertner show some recognition of the unfairness in the way these cases are being handled, it is unclear how she can say that the law is overwhelmingly on the side of the record companies when she recognizes that for the past 5 years she's only been hearing one side of the argument. It is also disheartening that she evidences no recognition of how she has herself contributed to the "imbalance" by consolidating all of the cases, thus (a) providing the record companies with massive economies of scale not available to the defendants, (b) providing virtually untrammeled ex parte access to the Court on all common legal issues, and (c) creating a one-sided atmosphere in the courthouse that causes all defendants to abandon hope. How can Judge Gertner conclude that the settlements have come about because the law is on the record companies' side, when she knows full well that the reason the settlements have come about is that there is no economically viable way for defendants to defend themselves? -R.B.]
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