"charlie nesson"

The Past and Future of The Internet: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow

The Duke Law and Technology Review has released a special edition dedicated to examining the legal and philosophical legacy of John Perry Barlow: co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead; biofuel entrepreneur; philosopher; poet; hacker Zelig; and driven, delightful weirdo. Read the rest

Law prof wants to webcast RIAA lawsuit

Campaigning law prof Charlie Nesson wants the whole world to see how the RIAA shakes down students, so he's asked for the proceedings to be webcast. The RIAA wants to hide under a rock:

A Harvard Law professor representing some students sued by the recording industry for illegally downloading music has filed a motion to broadcast online the proceedings of two cases being heard by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

The professor, Charles R. Nesson, argues in the motion that to stream the court proceedings over the Internet – or as the students put it in their request, 'admit the Internet into the courtroom' – would help the public understand the legal issues at play in the industry’s lawsuits against thousands of computer users, many of whom are college students.

The plaintiff, the Recording Industry Association of America, which announced last month that it would stop bringing new cases against students in favor of working with Internet Service Providers to take action against repeat offenders, has described its lawsuits as an educational effort focused on illuminating the consequences of illegally sharing music – something Mr. Nesson takes a jab at in the motion.

'Surely education is the purpose of the Digital Deterrence Act of 1999, the constitutionality of which we are challenging,' the motion reads. 'How can RIAA object? Yet they do, fear of sunlight shone upon them.'

Defendants in Music-Industry Lawsuit Ask for Trial to Be Broadcast Online

(Thanks, Michael!)


Legendary Harvard law prof fights constitutionality of RIAA ... Read the rest

Interview with Harvard law prof who's challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA suits

David Weinberger sez, "Charlie Nesson (of the Berkman Center and Harvard Law) and Joel Tennenbaum discuss (it's a podcast) their countersuit against the RIAA on Constitutional grounds. Charlie argues that the RIAA is a private agency enforcing a criminal statute...using the federal court as a collection agency, as he puts it. Charlie is also quite eloquent about the unfairness of the massive apparatus of state being trained on single, unrepresented individuals."

If this doesn't a) fill you with rage and b) fill you with hope, you are dead inside. What a great piece of audio.

Radio Berkman: The “Pay Us” Hotline - Fines and the RIAA

(Thanks, David!)


Legendary Harvard law prof fights constitutionality of RIAA ... Read the rest

Legendary Harvard law prof fights constitutionality of RIAA lawsuits

The formidable Charlie Nesson, founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and all-round good-guy law-prof, has taken up the defense of a Boston University student who's been sued for file-sharing. Nesson is arguing against the constitutionality of the record companies' lawsuits, in a winner-take-all suit that could force the RIAA to come up with a better answer than "sue your customers" (remember, the biggest file-sharers are also the biggest music-buyers, concert-goers, etc -- being a music superfan meansyou do more of everything to do with music).

Nesson argues that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is unconstitutional because it effectively lets a private group – the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA – carry out civil enforcement of a criminal law. He also says the music industry group abused the legal process by brandishing the prospects of lengthy and costly lawsuits in an effort to intimidate people into settling cases out of court.

Nesson, the founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said in an interview that his goal is to "turn the courts away from allowing themselves to be used like a low-grade collection agency."

Nesson is best known for defending the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and for consulting on the case against chemical companies that was depicted in the film "A Civil Action." His challenge against the music labels, made in U.S. District Court in Boston, is one of the most determined attempts to derail the industry's flurry of litigation.

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