Monday, August 10, 2009

More on Tenenbaum's Trial

Here are a couple or recent articles on the Tenenbaum case from publications that would tend very much to be sympathetic to Joel's side.

Here's Andrew Orlowski in The Register:

Nesson has achieved something I thought was completely impossible in 2009, and that's to allow the US recording industry's lobby group to paint itself in a sympathetic light. No longer must the RIAA explain why their biggest members are not using technology to make money for the people they represent. The Boston case allowed the four major labels to justify an enforcement policy against opponents who appeared compulsively dishonest, irrational, paranoid, and with an abnormal sense of entitlement.

Nice work, Charlie.

And here's Nate Anderson in Ars Technica, (Debbie Rosenbaum is one of the HLS students and the frequent PR spokesperson for Joel):

Nesson's arguments so far haven't found much success in court. One famous example was the appellate court brief he submitted which cited no case law and referenced only a Bible verse about Solomon. It's an example that Rosenbaum brings up when we talk about the case, since it appears to reflect so badly on the Harvard Law students doing much of the work. Law students at one of the top schools in the country thought this was an appropriate appellate brief to file? Did they not even know how to cite precedent?

Rosenbaum stresses just how much work the students did on these briefs, and she says the initial drafts of this one in particular were stuffed full of case law and traditional legal reasoning. But Nesson had the final say before submission and apparently preferred the wisdom of I Kings to the past wisdom of the American court system.

"I think it's fun to test the limits of legal norms," says Rosenbaum, though she admits to being "absolutely petrified" about being disbarred over some of Nesson's actions.

(emphasis added)

Well, one thing seems clear. If Joel and his counsel wanted publicity, they sure got it. As I often tell the recording industry on the Canadian side, "be careful what you wish for."



The NY Times has an article dated Auguest 11, 2009 entitled Tilting at Internet Barrier, a Stalwart Is Upended:

The $675,000 result could have been avoided by paying $4,000, the amount the industry demanded before trial. The 30 songs can be bought for less than $30.

For his part, Mr. Tenenbaum said he felt Professor Nesson did an “absolutely brilliant” job in a difficult case, and got a far smaller penalty than the maximum of $4.5 million. But, he added, “this is a bankrupting judgment, even if it’s reduced to $200,000 or increased to $2 million.”

These days, Mr. Tenenbaum said, he buys his music on iTunes.

Professor Nesson said he was counting on winning on appeal, and was preparing for a hearing to ask for a reduced penalty. While he said his filings might have lacked the formal structure of the industry lawyers’ work — he described his side as “me and my laptop” and some student helpers — they cogently argued the issues, which were “teed up beautifully for higher courts.”

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