Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tenenbaum re-writes history: RIAA now not such 'rotten bastards'; 'lies' no longer a 'myth'

In a Q & A posted August 2, the Sunday after last Friday's verdict, Joel Tenenbaum had this to say about his victorious opponents:
Q: The RIAA are a bunch of rotten bastards.
A: I know.
Today, where that couplet once appeared, we now have this:
Also on August 2, Tenenbaum published a post purporting to correct various "myths" in the media coverage of his case. Among the alleged "myths" was that Tenenbaum "lied" in his written discovery responses and at his first deposition. This, despite the fact that the following exchange occurred while Tenenbaum was on the witness stand at trial, under oath:
Nesson: Why did you lie at that point?

Tenenbaum: It was kind of something I rushed through.
Well, today, that Tenenbaum lied is no longer a "myth," but merely a statement meriting a "clarification":

And so we asymptotically approach the truth...


  1. Ben, background for you. I was getting inundated on facebook with questions about the trial so I posted an FAQ. The "rotten bastards" was meant as a joke, because it was a frequently asked "question" I'd been getting.

  2. Ben,

    You *are* a lawyer aren't you? It seems to me that you might relate to Joel's statement of "I was trying to be as minimalist as possible."

    I don't know if he had representation at that time or not.

    Just sayin,

  3. I'm sure the RIAA and its lawyers have similarly colorful language to describe Mr. Tenenbaum.

    But they've bitten their tongues. Nice to see that one side has acted with class.

    Shame on the law students (who seem to be running this website)and Mr. Nesson for engaging in such behavior.

    Do you think Mr. Tenenbaum realizes that he has demonstrated what a spoiled rotten brat he is and how horribly he has acted, and continues to act? That he simply doesn't think any rules apply to him and can do whatever he chooses, without consequence? For anyone who might have felt sorry for him, thanks for clarifying that this is a bed he and his legal team made and deserve to be lying in.

  4. If I'm not mistaken, the RIAA hasn't been a party to any of these cases, right? If I'm not mistaken, the only one that they were actually party to was the Rio case. I know it's easier to insult a trade association than it is all the labels that are party to these lawsuits, but what happens is that even the venerated CNN speaks of payments to four labels like the only plaintiffs are the majors.

    Why don't they use "additur" as a CAPTCHA word?

  5. Ben:

    Be gracious in victory - which isn't your victory anyway.

  6. @Randy: If Tenenbaum had "minimalist" but truthful, there would have been no problem. But his own counsel said that Tenenbaum "lie[d]." There's no dispute that he did.

  7. @Chris: You are basically right, with a few minor exceptions. The plaintiffs in these cases have been the actual copyright owners: the record labels.

    Tenenbaum did try to add the RIAA as a counterclaim defendant, but the court ruled that his claims (for abuse of process and related torts) failed as a matter of law. Also, there have been a small number of cases where the labels won judgments, and then assigned their claims to the RIAA for collection purposes.

  8. @Anonymous 4:13:

    Of course it's not "my" victory, and I've never suggested otherwise. I've merely been highlighting what I think is the inexplicable and self-destructive actions of Tenenbaum post-verdict. I think a little contrition would go a long way in convincing Judge Gertner that he has already learned his lesson, and does not need a huge judgment to deter him from future bad acts. Instead, he has been defiant and unrepentant. I think that attitude could cost him dearly.

    Were I advising Tenenbaum (and I'm obviously not), I'd tell him to be contrite, or be quiet. He's done neither.

  9. Ben:

    What is Joel's exposure to attorney's fees for the plaintiffs, given that everything was registered and that there was a finding of willful" infringement? Is this in Judge Gertner's discretion? Does the RIAA have to ask? Have they?

  10. @Anonymous 5:11:

    Yes, Tenenbaum is potentially liable for attorneys' fees, which I would guess are at least several hundred thousand dollars. The plaintiffs have not yet filed a motion for attorneys' fees. Right after the verdict, there was a brief discussion between plaintiffs' counsel and the judge about when such a motion would be due, which indicates that the plaintiffs are at least considering filing such a motion.

    Here's the relevant section of the Copyright Act:

    § 505. Remedies for infringement: Costs and attorney's fees

    In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this title, the court may also award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.

  11. I say let him dig himself into a deeper hole. RIAA can sue him again.


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.