“I read with interest your report that Vandenberg & Feliu, a company of New York lawyers, are now being supplemented by unpaid students at the the University of San Francisco.”
It goes on:
I find it truly disturbing that students are being used in this way against legitimate enterprises as they try to protect themselves against the rampant theft of their work.
It is indeed a sad state of affairs when this kind of thing is not only encouraged, but promoted by heavily biased media such as your site.
However, it is only a matter of time until the legitimate music industry succeeds in its fight against those who would see it deprived of its rightful earnings based on sale of product it has created, and artists it has nurtured.
Feel free to publish this so that you have at least one accurate report in your ‘blog’.
Thanks, HCH. As always, it’s a pleasure to hear from the other side.
Yes, I’m biased, and as I say here, “I’m as biased as they come, I’ve explicitly said so on a number of occasions, and I’ve never pretended to be otherwise.
“I’m biased against any and all efforts to kill free speech, online or off. I’m biased against the entertainment cartels as they pretend to be honest businesses trying to earn an honest living. I’m biased against their efforts to penetrate school classrooms to spread their poisonous ‘educational’ programs, claiming they represent decent standards for children to follow. I’m biased against the one-sided reporting by many, if not most, elements of the mainstream media who DO pretend to be fair, balanced and unbiased. I’m biased against attempts to flood us with tricky Net advertisements designed to force themselves past our natural barriers of free choice. And I could go on ”
HCH, I find it more than just a little ironic that you zero in on law students working with lawyers such as Beckerman.
Why shouldn’t they? It’s on-the-job training of the best kind. Law students need to know how to deal with the legal parasites who feed off the labels as they attack their own customers.
For years the Big 4 have been laughing all the way to the bank at the continuing gullibility of the people who run the schools.
Now the wheel is turning.
“The RIAA’s litigation campaign has met resistance from the academic community before, but now its been taken to a whole new level,” says Beckerman, “the defense of RIAA victims who are not part of the college community at all.
“But now the University of San Francisco School of Law has taken the fight a giant step further. Its Intellectual Property Law Clinic’s attorneys-in-training, working under the supervision of law professors, are going to bat against the RIAA by helping outside lawyers to defend their clients, pro bono.
“The energy and talent of the thousands of honor students attending our nation’s law schools is a huge and powerful resource.
“For the poor and middle class people hanging on trying to defend these cases, to receive the assistance of that army of talented, eager, brilliant legal minds, most of them digital natives who actually understand the legal fallacies and technological missteps the RIAA is taking, and who can’t wait to expose them, could be an immense development.”
‘Border on extortion …’
The pic on the right shows professor Robert Talbot and students at the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Project.
“The U.S. recording industry sends hundreds of letters each month to college students across the country accusing them of illegally downloading music from the Internet,” says the clinic, going on >>>
The letters offer a simple option: settle for $3,000 or $4,000 or be sued for hundreds of thousands.
Professor Robert Talbot and students in the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Project are providing research, writing, and counseling assistance in cases involving the Recording Industry Association of America’s letters to college students concerning music piracy.
While many – if not most – of the students targeted by the Recording Industry Association of America’s “pre-litigation settlement letters” may have in fact illegally downloaded music, not all are guilty. But frightened by the threatening letters and lacking the resources to obtain legal advice, most students opt to hand over their credit cards and settle.
A new undertaking by the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Project at the USF School of Law aims to provide college students with the legal counseling they need to make an informed decision on how to respond to the RIAA letters. Law students in the class, led by Professor Robert Talbot, are available to counsel students accused of music piracy.
They are also researching complex legal issues for attorneys including Ray Beckerman, a key player who represents individuals targeted by the RIAA.
“The RIAA is using heavy-handed tactics that some of the law students feel border on extortion,” Talbot said. “The cases involve complex legal and technical issues. We can review a students’ case, explain their rights, and determine whether they have a good defense or not.”
There are many scenarios that can lead the RIAA to target the wrong person, said Jonathan Jaffe, a law student who also works in the technology industry.
“Many may not be guilty,” Jaffe said. “Their roommates could be using their computer, or they could be connecting over a wireless network where it is hard to determine which user is downloading the files. The RIAA tactics seem like a racket.”
In addition, a student could have made a simple mistake, it could be sabotage, or the RIAA could simply have the wrong person, Talbot said.
The class is currently assisting Beckerman on the case of a 60-year-old Haitian woman who speaks broken English, works six days a week for $8.50 an hour, and has never used a computer who is defending herself against charges that she is an “online media distributor.”
“There are a great number of important legal issues of first impression being decided in these cases, the resolution of which will have enormous implications for the Internet, for our society,” Beckerman said. “The opportunity for the law students to be a part of real world cases of first impression, working side-by-side with experienced practitioners motivated by principle rather than by money, on behalf of real life, suffering clients, is a priceless asset for the law school.”
The Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic was established by the USF School of Law to provide legal services to individuals who need assistance with a variety of intellectual property matters. The clinic is a partner of the Electric Frontier Foundation (EFF), assisting in domain name disputes. The Project is also a partner in “Chilling Effects,” a joint project of the EFF and law school clinics at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and Maine. Chilling effects helps the public understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws provide for online activities.
For information on the USF School of Law’s Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic, call (415) 422-6752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
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