October 30, 2012
Use the battlefield to your advantage. Do not simply charge the English heavy cavalry head on.
100 years ago this July, Marc Randazza gained some attention for defending a bittorrent case a little differently. What was different? Randazza opposed severing all of the defendants. It was the first time anyone had opposed severance, as common knowledge dictated that one should always try and sever defendants in a mass bittorrent action.
The “anti-severance strategy” caused Randazza to get flack from Fightcopyrighttrolls and Ray Beckerman. Beckerman stated:
Said attorney has sued hundreds of BitTorrent users in the last year on behalf of copyright holder plaintiffs which raises the question of how and why he came to be making a motion, purportedly on behalf of a Doe defendant in that case, that clearly goes against the interests of the defendants in that case.
I mean, the ONLY way to defend one of these cases is to file a motion to sever, and a motion to quash, right? Right? That’s what the EFF said!!
Errrr… not so much. It looks like a few people owe Randazza an apology, because it’s becoming more and more apparent that severance may not be in the best interests of the Doe defendants in the current climate. In my opinion, it’s probably not in a Doe defendant’s best interest to sever a case in today’s climate.
Here is why.
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October 22, 2012
Great advice from Eric D. Anderson in a comment on Lawyerist. Young lawyers take heed:
Finally, for those younger/newer attorneys riling against the old guard, just do not do it. No matter how smart or talented you may be, there is no substitute for experience. Yes, they can be rude and condescending, but keep in mind how many rude comments or emails they may have already read by the time they get to you. Do a Greenfield or Tannenbaum have all of the answers right for you? No. But they, and those like them,have seen all of the questions. Even if an older attorney’s answers do not work for you, respectfully ask how they came to those answers. There is a value in learning that process and taking that knowledge. Had I done so, I would have realized my time spent in my local pub was more important than the time I spent listening to the opinions of others on my firm logo and letterhead (The former produced 5 paying clients. The latter produced 50 opinions and no money.) So show a little respect, please.
October 20, 2012
There is a lot of bad information out there about bittorrent lawsuits.
The call normally goes like this:
“Hey man, I found your name
on the internet from someone who says you are a good lawyer. Well, I got a letter a couple of months ago about some lawsuit where apparently I’m a John Doe defendant. They’re saying I downloaded copyrighted stuff off the internet from bittorrent, and [I did it so now what?] [I definitely did NOT do it] [I pirate so much stuff off the internet that I have no idea if I did it or not] [what are these internets you speak of?]. When I first found out about the lawsuit, I went onto internet forums and everyone told me I should just ignore the paperwork, so that’s what I did. Well, today I got some stupid letter saying something about default. What does all this mean?”
“Well, right now it means there is a good chance you are quite screwed.”
I get this type call more than I like to. Someone got caught up in a bittorrent lawsuit, they consulted the internet, and the internet gave them bad advice.
Right off the bat, the best advice I can give anyone who is caught up in a bittorrent lawsuit is to consult with an attorney. I know, I’m an attorney so that sounds self-serving, but it’s true. The second you get notice from your ISP that someone is seeking your identity, the best thing you can do is consult with an attorney. If you can’t afford one, you might be able to find one pro bono. But if you care at all about your assets and your reputation, you should trust those things to a good lawyer – not to an internet forum. I know, it could cost you money. Sorry, but that’s life.
That said, I am going to try and set the record straight on a few common myths and truths about bittorrent lawsuits.
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