First of all, who is TorrentLawyer, the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC, @houstonlawy3r, Rob Cashman.
My name is Rob Cashman, and I am the author of the articles posted on TorrentLawyer.
Although I have spent close to seven years on the “piracy” side of the debate, and on more than one occasion I have sided with ‘Anonymous’ and ‘hacktivist’ groups who advocate for the elimination of copyright protections, I do believe in protecting one’s ideas and one’s creative expressions for the purpose of advancing technology and stretching our imaginations, but that is where it stops (more on this in a second).
As an activist, Aaron Swartz was a hero of mine. [I took a really long time to get through this sentence because quite honestly, years later I still want to cry when I think about what happened.] I believe that Aaron had the right idea when it came to copyright rights, the free flow of information, and making proactively making changes when big organizations stifle the free flow of information. So while I do believe strongly in copyrights and ‘intellectual property’ rights as any attorney would, I become an activist when those rights are abused and are mishandled.
Politically, I’m an agnostic. I do not believe that either party represents the values of their party, and thus both sides dislike me. I don’t like the idea of party politics, especially because each side (if they voted authentically) would sometimes vote to the left, and sometimes vote to the right. I suppose that makes me an independent. However, I abhor lobbyists who distort the laws to favor their special interest group, I abhor pork barrel spending and all government spending where only a few cents of every dollar allocated to a project actually go to that project, and I abhor politicians. The reason that I do not believe in politicians because they can be and are too often corrupted, and quite frankly, I am jaded about politics in general because I believe authentic statesmen such as those we read about in the textbooks are few and far in between. In truth, I do not care if someone is a democrat or a republican, as long as he is authentic to his beliefs but when he votes, he votes according to the beliefs of the citizens who elected him into office. Otherwise, he should be thrown out of office.
To know me as a friend, I love science fiction novels and shows. I gobble books on hard sciences, literature, and I study religious texts with a fervor. Even more than books, I enjoy shows which put those hard-to-grasp-concepts on display in a palpable fashion where a viewer can sit back and absorb the atmosphere and the surroundings. My favorite TV series of all time was Battlestar Galactica, at times in my life I have been a competitive gamer, and my friends would often joke that “as long as there is a spaceship in the TV series, Rob will watch it.” I have even gone so far as to study books on advanced physics with a pen and paper (I’m an avid Richard Feynman fan and a Leonard Susskind fan, and I enjoy comparing the technologies I see on the sci-fi shows with real technology, as technology has advanced to meet and in some cases, surpass the tech we’ve see on the sci-fi shows from the 1950s.
Most notably, I spent quite a bit of time thinking up augmented innovations to advance the concept of a contact lens (or, content to be shown on the lens of a Google Glass or a pair of glasses) to allow the interaction with digital items not physically present (e.g., reading and turning the pages of digital books, or watching video through the lens projected on a wall), where those digital items are not seen to anyone not wearing a similar lens. This was a cool idea when I started hashing it out, but as technology advanced, it becomes less and less exciting. That being said, glasses today are woefully underutilized.
MY BELIEFS ABOUT COPYRIGHT LAW:
Where my staunch belief in intellectual property rights stops is that I simply do not believe that rights holders should offensively use those rights as a weapon to punish others. Copyright law was meant to be a shield to protect the innovator, not as a legal weapon to impoverish the end user and their families with endless legal threats, extortion-like tactics, uneven legal playing fields, and statutory damages that could force any family into bankruptcy.
WHY I DEFEND “JOHN DOE” DEFENDANTS IN COPYRIGHT TROLL LAWSUITS:
I defend those accused downloaders of copyrighted videos not because I believe in the free flow of information (meaning, “[fill in the blank] should be free!”), but simply because there is a grave injustice done when a movie entity or copyright holder mismanages the rights that have been bestowed upon it (I see a copyright as both a right to prevent unfair competition AND a responsibility to do good with that copyright).
When movie companies make garbage productions with recycled movie plots, when movie companies do not police their own copyrights when they are leaked onto the internet (with DMCA takedown notices to the bittorrent trackers), when groups of movie entities get together and form organizations such as the MPAA or the RIAA in order to wield power rather than do justice, and that power is used to manipulate the politicians to pass ever-increasing severe penalties and punishments for infringement of their movies, and… when parasite companies license rights to movies and file lawsuits masquerading as those movie companies (when in many cases they do not even have the right to sue because they have not properly secured the copyright rights), well, this all makes me angry.
For these reasons, I have taken the time to uncover the frauds and the schemes these so-called copyright holders use to empty the pockets of too many families. If you want to know what makes me ‘tick’ when I defend a “John Doe” defendant, now you know.