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RIAA Victim Jammie Thomas Gets a New Lawyer 241

Posted by kdawson
from the whiz-kid dept.
newtley writes "Only days after Brian Toder, her previous legal representative, had decided discretion was the better part of valour, leaving her fend for herself against the RIAA, Jammie Thomas says another lawyer has come forward with an offer of pro bono help. He's K.A.D. Camara from Camara & Sibley in Houston, Texas, says Jammie. And, 'He's the youngest person in history to graduate from Harvard Law school with honors,' she points out. Nor will her retrial be delayed, as was expected. It'll now go forward in June 15, as slated. 'I'm so happy!' Jammie said."
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RIAA Victim Jammie Thomas Gets a New Lawyer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:17AM (#28023859)

    I'm happy for Jammie that she got a new, free lawyer. But haven't we learned already that free isn't always a good thing?! If I was going up against the RIAA I would like someone with large amounts of experience, who knows all the tricks of the trade, and who knows how the RIAA fights.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:20AM (#28023887)

      haven't we learned already that free isn't always a good thing?!

      That depends, is this lawyer free as in speech or free as in beer?

    • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:24AM (#28023903)

      From his Wikipedia article:

      "A gifted child, he wrote a medical paper on alternative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis at age eleven,[1] which was published in the Hawai'i Journal of Medicine.[2] At sixteen, having skipped high school, Camara earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Hawaii Pacific University.[2] He completed the program in two years and was singularly recognized by the university for outstanding academic performance."

      Yes, he's just 25 and perhaps could have more experience. But anyhow he seems a pretty smart guy. And note that he is the senior partner in his own law firm.

      • by tkrotchko (124118) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:48AM (#28024085) Homepage

        "Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill"
              -- Attributed to John Barrymore

      • by owlnation (858981)

        And note that he is the senior partner in his own law firm.

        Maybe he had to start his own law firm because no-one would hire him. Having his own firm isn't exactly an indication of anything other than he has the money to pay for an office and a phone line.

        Maybe he wrote his own Wikipedia article too, it's far from the first time that happened. Anyway, I hardly think Wikipedia is the best place to start looking for info on someone who could get you a long prison sentence if they screw up. It's probably t

      • And note that he is the senior partner in his own law firm.

        Taken by itself, that's really nothing exceptional. There are lots of lawyers who are senior partners at their own firm, primarily because they are the only lawyer at their law firm.

      • by Sockatume (732728)
        He sounds like fucking MacGuyver. What next, will Story Musgrave join the team as legal advisor/mission specialist/white-water shark tamer?
    • by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad,arnett&notforhire,org> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:24AM (#28023907)
      Well, I am no lawyer nor do I claim to have an extensive understanding of the legal system or law, but I'm willing to guess that free lawyer > no lawyer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rabbot81 (1557023)
      If I was going up against the RIAA I would like someone willing to stick his or her neck out for me.
    • Indeed. Getting 'free' stuff from Kazaa and sharing it back was definitely not in her best interest in past.

      I wonder if, once he heard details from her, he will too bail out. His free services look like visibility stunt where he expects to win based on RIAAs tendency to sue innocent people. Only thing he can chew on and pull a win is the fact that MediaSentry evidence is not valid for court.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Only thing he can chew on and pull a win is the fact that MediaSentry evidence is not valid for court.

        Maybe he has chosen this as the case that will make his name, and is planning to take it to the supremes [usatoday.com].

        I'm just speculating wildly; surely it can't be that the RIAA just pisses him off?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bothemeson (1416261)
      Not necessarily true; I won all my criminal court cases (breaking into US and UK military facilities in the UK) - with only 'A'-level law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Level_(UK)) and a bit of luck (which is essential when it comes to law).

      One of the more famous similarly fought cases was two individuals against the might of McDonald's (http://www.mcspotlight.org/case/) - this makes informative reading.

      Not US law, I know, but 'the tricks of the trade' aren't that different from 'cunning' and some

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        OT: Ugh, I read the story and got all excited, I read the leaflet and groaned. What an amateurish pile of crap. They obviously don't have any talented graphic artists at greenpeace. And they have it in seven languages, but none of them are US english, where we eat the most McD's. (They use plurals with singular company names, which might be correct in England, but which we sensibly avoid here in the states, and which will make the half-apt reader of US-EN think you're a retard. I can't possibly hand these o

    • Age and experience has it's place. Generally, I will opt for that experienced older guy. But, here we are dealing with technologies that a lot of older people didn't grow up with. We are dealing with cultural values that didn't exist when some of the older people were growing up. Assuming this young guy to be tech savvy, he may be the best thing to happen to Jammie. I wonder why, exactly, he is taking the case. Maybe he is about to start a crusade against the oppressive laws being brought into existen

    • There have been PLENTY of experienced lawyers out there working against RIAA with mixed reviews. At this time, I agree with her; Take the best and brightest and pray that he figures out a different and interesting way out of all this. In the end, we need more cases to be won against RIAA so that this stops.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        This should be very interesting.

        K.A.D. Camara is not only a very bright young lawyer, he also has credentials in computer science and would probably be accepted by the Court as an expert witness on the technology (except for the conflict of roles). Not that he would do that. Just that he could do that.

        There is no question that he is going to be more knowledgeable about the technology than any other lawyer or judge involved in the RIAA cases. If Camara wants to rapidly establish himself as THE expert on

        • This should be very interesting. K.A.D. Camara is not only a very bright young lawyer, he also has credentials in computer science and would probably be accepted by the Court as an expert witness on the technology (except for the conflict of roles). Not that he would do that. Just that he could do that. There is no question that he is going to be more knowledgeable about the technology than any other lawyer or judge involved in the RIAA cases. If Camara wants to rapidly establish himself as THE expert on IT law, this pro bono work is an excellent start. The RIAA lawyers should be afraid. Very afraid. For whatever his reason might be, they are now facing a crusader who knows the landscape better than they do.

          Also, unlike the first trial, this time he will have an expert witness, thanks to the grant Jammie received from the Free Software Foundation enabling her to hire an expert. See Expert Witness Report of Prof. Yongdae Kim [blogspot.com].

    • by scorp1us (235526)

      That's why you need the Cirroc, the Unfrozen Caveman Laywer. He's old as dirt itself, and he's damn good. The one thing he does know is sharing music files is not a crime...

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      But haven't we learned already that free isn't always a good thing?

      Quite. They will be trying to collect for her on behalf of all the poor penniless lawyers. People need to learn that pro-bono work threatens their livelihood, the economy and the whole of world civilisation.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:34AM (#28023987) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like he has a bone to pick. This guy's smack dab in the middle of the age range most concerned about and most knowledgeable about the issues at hand. He's obviously smart. The RIAA has been flailing left and right, so there's even hope.

  • Bias... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pHus10n (1443071)
    Look, I hate the RIAA as much as anyone else on this forum, but did we honestly need to resort to that type of summary in order to grab readers? "leaving her fend for herself" -- The lawyer that left was helpful for quite sometime, but has to feed himself (and family?) as well. You're throwing this guy away like he's part of the prosecution or something. He needs to make money like anyone, and she obviously can't pay those kinds of fees. Time for another crusader to shoulder some of the burden.
    • by gsslay (807818)

      I hate the RIAA as much as anyone else on this forum,

      I hadn't realised that the group think had become compulsory. Good job too. Now we can all post happy in the knowledge that no-one will question what we say. Bring on the hours of stimulating agreement.

      • "I hate the RIAA as much as anyone else on this forum" doesn't imply "everyone hates the RIAA on this forum". It means that nobody here hates the RIAA more than he does. There's no group think here; some people disagree with the obvious majority opinion, as you probably know, but I think they're mostly trolling. Even people who dislike the RIAA here disagree as to why and how much. Personally I dislike them because I enjoy free music and don't want to get sued.
      • by blueZ3 (744446)

        Not hours of agreement.

        Here in Oceania, we've always been at war with East RIAA and we just need a Two Minutes Hate.

  • by Jonas Buyl (1425319) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:47AM (#28024077)
    Pro bono basically means the lawyer is free. This doesn't mean the lawyer doesn't get anything out of the deal though. If I were a young, smart, talented lawyer like him I would try and get some experience and boost my career with a hard high-profile case like this too. Even if it means I don't get a penny out of it right now, the reward will be large in the long run.
    • by KillerBob (217953)

      Pro bono basically means the lawyer is free. This doesn't mean the lawyer doesn't get anything out of the deal though. If I were a young, smart, talented lawyer like him I would try and get some experience and boost my career with a hard high-profile case like this too. Even if it means I don't get a penny out of it right now, the reward will be large in the long run.

      Pro Bono doesn't necessarily mean the lawyer is free. It might also mean that the lawyer will only get paid if he wins the case... often when

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jackbird (721605)
        That's taking a case on contingency, not pro bono.
      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        And how many $10m settlements have you seen lately? Most contingency work do not end up with multi millor $$ settlements.

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      If I were a young, smart, talented lawyer like him I would try and get some experience and boost my career with a hard high-profile case like this too

      What makes you think this is a high-profile case in any circle besides slashdot?

      • What makes you think this is a high-profile case in any circle besides slashdot?

        This particular case received a great deal of national, mainstream media, press coverage. Reports were sent out daily by the Associated Press, and it was covered in all of the major news outlets.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          I stand corrected. That's surprising because it seems like most of the RIAA nonsense has flown under the radar of the major media outlets. Maybe something good will come out of this?

    • by cenc (1310167)

      Probono does mean he takes on the case, and gets the tax deductions from it. It also likly means he gets to collect the big money from turning around and suing them in a civil claim afterwords.

      The press alone on this will likly mean millions of dollars more a year to his firm forever regardless if he wins or looses.

      I know a lot of attorneys that started out doing pro-bono type stuff, that have directly translated in to millions over the years for them and their firm (most built their firms that way).

      I know

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:30AM (#28024459)

    "With Professor Charles Nesson of the Harvard Law School, we are defending Brittany English, a junior and cheerleader at Case Western Reserve University in a prosecution brought by the recording industry under the Copyright Act for allegedly illegal music downloading and sharing. Brittany is counter-suing the Recording Industry Association of America, its members, and the individuals who organized its litigation campaign.

    Armed with the threat of $150,000 in statutory damages per illegal download (a $1.5M judgment in a small, 10-song case, where the actual damages are about $10, the price of 10 songs on iTunes), the recording industry has obtained more than $100M in settlements from individuals like Brittany. We are asking the courts to declare that statutory damages like these â" 150,000:1 â" are unconstitutional and that the RIAAâ(TM)s campaign to extract settlements from individuals by the threat of such unconstitutional damages is itself unlawful, enjoin the RIAAâ(TM)s unlawful campaign, and order the RIAA to return the $100M+ that it obtained as a result of its unlawful campaign."

  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:36AM (#28024515) Homepage
    may i introduce my new lawyer...crafted from pure win. you will refer to him as "Mr. Busdriver man," because today he's taking you to school.
  • Pro Bono (Score:5, Funny)

    by itschy (992394) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:36AM (#28024519)

    I, too, am pro Bono.

    But those glasses? Come on...

  • Liberté,égalité (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:44AM (#28024617)
    I couldn't get the third one in. But, and this is not trolling, something is very wrong in the US legal system when an overbearing plaintiff can arbitrarily claim enormous damages and rachet up a case to the point that the defendant cannot afford to contest it. The old French revolutionary slogan meant "equality before the Law".

    Here in the UK the majority suddenly seem to have woken up to what their "elected representatives" have done in their name, and unexpected people we know are pretty cross about it. In the US, the RIAA affair is, quite literally, a slide into Fascism - a state in which corporations enjoy special privileges and are part of the Government. Here is a 25 year old lawyer actually saying this on his website, that the behaviour of the RIAA is unConstitutional. Either he's hoping to be bought off after the case (cynical) or he has ambitions for a career in politics (much less cynical).

    • in addition to a) cynicism, and b) ambition, is c) a genuine dislike for the might-makes-right tactics of the RIAA, coupled with the ability (being a licensed attorney) to actually do something about it.

      Unlikely as it may sound, there are quite a few lawyers out there who actually have principles and respect for the rule of law. It's entirely reasonable to think that they would dislike seeing the system gamed by the RIAA in this way. Time and events will be the ultimate proof, but don't discount the possibi

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