“Vexatious” to post motions on anti-RIAA blog?

by Walter Olson on September 19, 2008

Attorney Ray Beckerman is “one of the nation’s few attorneys who defends accused file sharers” and runs a blog called Recording Industry vs The People that is often cited in coverage critical of Recording Industry Association of America and its massive litigation campaign. Now RIAA is seeking sanctions against Beckerman in a case in which he is defending Marie Lindor. Among its allegations (PDF): Beckerman “has consistently posted virtually every one of his baseless motions on his blog seeking to bolster his public relations campaign and embarrass plaintiffs.” And: “Such vexatious conduct demeans the integrity of these judicial proceedings and warrants this imposition of sanctions.” Although RIAA is seeking to voluntarily dismiss its case against Lindor, it wants sanctions against her too, saying that she obstructed its attempts to ascertain whether she was responsible for file-sharing. (David Kravets, Wired/Threat Level, Sept. 17).

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1 Mike 09.19.08 at 10:01 am

“posted virtually every one of his baseless motions on his blog seeking to bolster his public relations campaign and embarrass plaintiffs”

Wow. The horror! They should be suing pacer too. *rolls eyes*

2 E-Bell 09.19.08 at 10:08 am

Wait, so publishing your motions – which are usually public record anyway – is subject to sanction now? The RIAA is demonstrating exactly the kind of tactics that Beckerman wants to expose.

Also, I note that the RIAA is accusing the defendant of lying and that it had to investigate her claims in order to disprove them. If I could get sanctions every time a party lied and I had to investigate the lies, I’d could’ve retired by now!

Nevertheless, if their allegations in the motion are to be taken as the gospel truth, maybe they have a good claim that the defendants destroyed and covered up evidence. Why, then, do they seek voluntary dismissal instead of moving for a default based on spoliation of evidence? Didn’t a similar case have that result when the defendant destroyed his hard drive?

3 thufir_hawat 09.19.08 at 10:14 am

“[H]as consistently posted virtually every one of his baseless motions on his blog seeking to bolster his public relations campaign and embarrass plaintiffs.”

Either the motions are groundless and subject to Rule 11 sanctions (that such sanctions are not forthcoming is telling) or they are not pleadings/motions and Rule 11 (much less 28 U.S.C. § 1927) is inapposite. Either way, the Plaintiff has remedies that they are not pursuing, choosing instead to go after a blog using rules of procedure. Untenable.

And, as Mike points out, they are going to be on Pacer for the world to see anyway.

What idiocy.

4 Joe 09.19.08 at 10:45 am

The RIAA will stop at nothing to further its agenda and blame 14-year-olds for their lagging sales over the last decade. It’s deplorable that “business people” on such a high level would resort to this kind of intimidation.

5 KAT 09.19.08 at 12:33 pm

I’m no fan of this litigation. However, the motion provides multiple examples of stonewalling and dishonesty far beyond the basic “I never had back pain before” type of thing we often see. Given the context it may be a completely inaccurate representation of what occurred. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any coverage discussing whether or not the allegations are true.

6 Ravensfire 09.19.08 at 12:37 pm

Ray’s also an active contributor and poster on Slashdot on articles related to the RIAA lawsuits. Here’s a link to some of his comments, most recently about this suit. Should be interesting to follow.

http://slashdot.org/~NewYorkCountryLawyer

— Ravensfire

7 Scote 09.19.08 at 5:29 pm

“Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any coverage discussing whether or not the allegations are true.”

Well, KAT, seeing as how the RIAA is famous for suing children and dead people, and for filing 30,000 plus sham lawsuits, I’d say one should take self-serving and manifestly hypocritical allegations by the RIAA with far more than a grain of salt.

The RIAA has admitted that its campaign of tens of thousands of lawsuits is a publicity campaign for it’s fight against piracy, so it’s allegations that the web publication of few motions by Ray Beckerman, that are public record anyways, is vexatious gives the lie to their claims. The rest of their allegations should be considered in that light.

8 Bill Poser 09.19.08 at 9:22 pm

I am struck by the poor quality of the plaintiff’s memorandum. It is absolutely full of errors of reasoning. For example, it asserts that the defendant’s adult son avoided service, but fails to explain how the defendant can be held responsible for this. It claims that the defendant’s daughter made a false statement in a deposition. Even if true, in the absence of evidence of subornation, how is this the defendant’s responsibility, especially in view of the fact that, as plaintiff explicitly acknowledges, the defendant herself testified differently from her daughter? In response to defendant’s claim that she did not know how to contact her son, it adduces the fact that the day of his scheduled deposition, counsel for the defendant contacted plaintiff’s counsel and stated that he had spoken with the defendant’s son that day, claiming that this shows that the defendant knew how to contact her son all along. This is nonsense: for all we know it was the defendant’s son who initiated contact that day. What a load of drivel!

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