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RIAA Lead Lawyer Named to Bench

Richard L. Gabriel, the Denver lawyer who has led the recording industry's litigation battles against file sharing and music downloading, will soon be singing a different song. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Gabriel this week to a newly created seat on the Colorado Court of Appeals, effective July 1. A partner with the law firm Holme Roberts & Owen, Gabriel has been national lead counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America in its lawsuits to put an end to what it contends is illegal music distribution. He has personally appeared as lead counsel in most of the best known of these cases, including the only one that has gone to trial.

Not surprisingly, the peer-to-peer fans at p2pnet are not happy about the news, not because they'll miss going up against him, but because they question his ability to be impartial. The p2pnet post on his appointment describes him as an "attack lawyer" who RIAA used "to terrorize scores of innocent American men, women and even children." Another person not likely to be thrilled about the appointment: Gabriel's frequent adversary, Ray Beckerman, author of the blog Recording Industry vs. The People.

Gabriel is a 1987 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania law school and received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1984. After law school, he was a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz in Maryland and was city prosecutor for Lafayette, Colo., before joining his current firm in 1990. The appointment to the bench is for a provisional two-year term, after which it will be for Colorado voters to decide whether to retain him. He will earn a salary of $124,092.

We interviewed Gabriel in November 2007 for our Lawyer2Lawyer podcast. You can hear that interview from this page.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 7, 2008 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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