Bribery, gay porn, and copyright trolls: The rise and fall of lawyer Marc Randazza

arstechnica.com
6 min read
fairly difficult
Arbiter says Randazza "negotiated" a bribe, lied to employer, and must pay $600k.
The way attorney Marc Randazza tells it, his relationship with Jason Gibson started breaking down in the spring of 2012. Gibson, the CEO of gay porn studio Liberty Media, had hired Randazza as general counsel three years earlier. The two became the closest of friends; their families socialized together, and Randazza's kids even called Gibson "uncle."

But that April, Gibson arranged to use Randazza's office for a porn video shoot.

Randazza would later describe the scene as a humiliating bacchanal, calling it "harassment." An arbitration claim he later made against Liberty said that Gibson had forced Randazza, "who is a heterosexual family man with two young children, to witness homosexual activities" and that Gibson filmed "such activities in Mr. Randazza's private office... on his desk and on top of photos of his wife and toddler children." Later, Randazza said the shoot included a woman urinating on his desk.

"No matter what the industry," the complaint read, "there is a line over which conduct becomes extreme and outrageous."

During his time at Liberty, Randazza had become famous in the tight circles of First Amendment lawyers and their admirers. Most notably, he had taken down Righthaven, a "copyright troll" that became notorious for suing hundreds of small-time bloggers.

But he also became a lightning rod for controversy when he spoke up for Liberty's own copyright lawsuits against tens of thousands of Internet users accused of downloading porn illegally. Company executives now claim that the Liberty lawsuit campaign was actually a smokescreen for Randazza's own misbehavior.

Liberty COO Brian Dunlap admitted to Ars that the video shoot in Randazza's office did happen, but he said that shooting in offices was standard—everyone knew it, and Randazza even encouraged it. According to Dunlap, Randazza's personal items weren't even touched, and there was no urination. Instead, he claimed that the relationship between Liberty and its lawyer actually fell apart…
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