Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another copyright law blogger quits, this one citing, as a reason, the RIAA's lawsuits against ordinary people

Keith Henning, a Little Rock, Arkansas, attorney who has been publishing a copyright blog called "", wrote a post in October in which he announced the end of of his blog.

He gave four reasons for his decision, the first three of which echoed those given by Bill Patry when he closed his blog.

The fourth reason Keith gave was this one:

4. It is really depressing. The phone calls I get are the worst. On average, I receive about one phone call every other day from someone being sued for file-sharing music. I have my response memorized. There is no good news for (usually parents of) someone getting sued by RIAA, et, al. I believe that given the right case I could win. I have a dozen arguments against these suits and a complete plan of attack ready, starting with having the record company prove they are the rightful holder of rights, that each file contained both what it purported to be and that it was a enough to be infringing, that the sharing does not equal distribution, that the collection of information equaled unlicensed private investigation, that the collection of information was without permission and equals hacking, abuse of process, etc. However, no person with anything to lose would do anything but write the $4-5k check and go on with their lives. The sadness in their voices pains me. This is the reason I didn’t do criminal law or family law or even personal tax law. I love the law, I don’t like the messiness of peoples lives. I really love IP law. If someone would give me a full time IP law teaching gig, I would likely die in that job. However, I really can’t take anymore of these calls from people being hijacked by record companies for (what is usually) their life savings, or more.
Complete article.

Commentary & discussion:

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


Randy said...

I've always wondered if all of the people who have settled could establish a class action, claiming that they were strong-armed into settling. For that matter, since all of the pending suits are substansially the same (at least to me...a non-lawyer), couldn't *they* also create a class?

Just a thought,

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember somewhere on this blog that there was an argument about accusing the RIAA of extortion, but the counter-argument was that since there was no payment made yet, it wasn't extortion. Since the settled cases HAVE made the payment (for a rediculous amount of money totally disproportional of unprovably speculative losses), I suppose they can claim extortion at that point.

derivative said...

I feel for the guy (and for you, Ray). I am not a particularly religious person, but I sometimes find Reinhold Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer" helpful:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

You are certainly showing the courage, Ray. Your defense of Marie Lindor has been passionate, inspired, and gutsy. Your blog and articles informing both the lay public and other lawyers and judges about what is happening here must be having a profound effect on the great beast, judging from their legal filings and public pronouncements.

But I hope you get at least enough serenity in your life to avoid burnout -- the world needs you to be strong enough to keep fighting the good fight.

raybeckerman said...

Thanks derivative.

The way I'm constructed I get more serenity from doing what I can, than from walking away.

I don't take kindly to these schoolyard bullies pretending to be lawyers.

What Keith said really struck a resonance with me, though; it really is painful to talk to so many wonderful, decent, law-abiding Americans who are being caused so much pain by a handful of low lifes such as Timothy Reynolds, Matthew Oppenheim, and Richard Gabriel.

I am hopeful, though, that the low lifes are finally starting to crawl back to the rocks from under which they crawled out 5 1/2 years ago, looking for a way to make money off the pain of others.

Alter_Fritz said...

But unfortunately the "low lifes" seem to win. :-(

Remember what this "Mr." Ritter did for "Rich" Gabriel?!

raybeckerman said...

I rejected a comment which opined about Mr. Oppenheim's mental health. I do not think it fair to judge people on stuff like that.

I judge him on his deeds.

And his deeds are foul.

Scott said...

Since so much of this nation's wealth is tied up in intellectual property, we could easily justify a separate federal court system for IP issues, just as there is a separate tax court. The courts could then develop a bench with deep knowledge of IP -- and who couldn't be easily snowed by sharp practice. The IP courts could also develop their own rules and procedures that would shorten litigation so that more cases could go to trial.

Because of the way the RIAA manipulates the courts, only rich people can mount an adequate defense. Making justice unavailable to average people corrodes civil society. In effect, the RIAA isn't protecting its members' IP, it's attacking America by corrupting its court system.

The RIAA has to be stopped, and the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

We need to find a way to get Ray and President Obama or a high ranking aid in a meeting together. It is not fair that only the RIAA has our government’s ears.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that, I can definately relate that this fight can often feel like an uphill battle. From experience, I know that everyone who has anything to do with standing up for the RIAA victims is making a huge difference, even though at times, it may not feel like that. I'm very grateful to everyone who is and has worked very hard to stand up for people like me.

Never will I understand how the RIAA, and the people working with them, can feel good about what they are doing and/or have done. After all this time, it still amazes and sickens me. Maybe for them, it is simply a job; but, the impact they are having on people's lives is devastating. They took a lot away from me that I can never get back.

Thank you very much to everyone who is doing whatever they can to fight. Your ongoing work is very appreciated.