From Your Good Buddies at the Neutral RIAA
Lately, we haven't heard of any egregious sucking the tears of crying children, while copyright schemer Righthaven, trolling the interwebz in search of people using indefinite pronouns to which it claimed ownership, has turned the RIAA's righteous witch hunt into a travesty.
Righthaven, you may recall, got slammed with legal fees owed to Marc Randazza, and when it failed to pony up for a bond to stay execution, the cavalry was called in to seize its assets. If you happen to notice the excessive use of adjectives at The Legal Satyricon, now you know why.
Who was this upstart, this troll without so much as a tin badge from Congress, making a mockery of fair use litigation, the RIAA demanded to know? Aarrgghh. They're going to screw it all up, and now they're so broke they can't afford a mocha frappucino. This will never do, so into the breach rides the Saviors of the Song to defend the right to suck blood from babies on the internet, as Congress meant them to do.
A demure request was sent off to Randazza from an unassuming young lawyer out of the Washington, Matthew Williams, who honed his skills editing the 2006 American University gender journal, where nary a stray masculine word appeared. In dulcet tones, he politely inquired whether Randazza would have any problem if his client, the RIAA, just happened to slide some papers under the appellate court's door as a friend of the court.
Not a partisan amicus, mind you. No, no. Nothing so aggressive. Just a neutral amicus. You know, friend to all, just the voice of fairness, of justice.
You see, the RIAA couldn't care less whether Randazza bankrupted Righthaven and sucked the marrow from its bones. Good riddance, interloper. But the crushing decision, where the court not only held Righthaven to have no standing, but held the use of its false-claimed copyright to be fair. "Fair use," two words that sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to the RIAA, like curses of the harshest tone. Oh no, something so important cannot be left to a troll like Righthaven to screw up. And so the neutral RIAA has come to clean up the mess, let Randazza get his money but undo the damage left in Righthaven's wake.
Randazza was not fooled by Williams' baby face and kindly offer. In a letter, he said so.
Once you elaborated, you shared that your clients intend to argue that Righthaven’s lack of standing precluded the District of Nevada from making a finding of fair use. This is precisely the sum and substance of Righthaven’s argument, and thus I consider any claims of this being “neutral” or “not in support of either party,” to be untruthful. I don’t like being bullshitted. I especially don’t like being bullshitted on behalf of someone trying to do Righthaven’s bidding.
Pro tip: If you're going to try to spin your client as if it's everybody's neutral pal when everybody knows about the big ax it wields, smile while you do so. Williams didn't smile. Instead he responded:
Your letter otherwise does not deserve a response.
This is definitely not the way for a self-proclaimed neutral to make friends. After all, Randazza's letter, subtly pointing out that there isn't likely to be any appeal in which the RIAA can submit an amicus brief once Righthaven's last few pennies are handed out to its judgment creditors and the issue is moot. And that will mean Williams' amicus efforts, all that thoughtful neutralness, will be for naught, aside from being paid for by money glommed from the recording industry's protection racket.
While it might have been a bit more lawyerly for Williams to go back to his client, hiding in its neutral lair, and suggest that this wasn't going to go as smoothly as they hoped, and there wasn't likely to be any chance whatsoever to sneak in as amicus curiae with everyone's blessing. But most important, they would be throwing money into a hole from which no benefit would emerge.
But hey, it's their money and their lawyer. If the RIAA wants to throw it away, who is Randazza to disagree? Of course, he offered them a better idea, to fund Righthaven's debt in legal fees if they wanted a shot to pretend they're all pals and neutrally defend the honor of copyright trolls in the face of fair use. But that, obviously, didn't deserve an answer. With love from your good buddies at the RIAA.