So, while we were preparing for the depositions to take place on May 6, 2010, Kramer was building up his legal blockade. I have to explain some things that were happening between April 4 and April 23. My attorney wanted to see whatever videos I had on YouTube. I attempted to use "private sharing" (a special hash-code is used to display the videos only to those with the unique hashed URL). My attorney, Mr. Monts, called and requested these hashed videos. I sent him the hashes. Keep in mind, YouTube was a buggy mess because they were rolling out their new design that few like.
As Google washed the windows, things kept breaking and on the day my attorney tried to view the private videos, he was unable to. I asked him to create an account and befriend me on YouTube so I could share them that way. He refused. So, begrudgingly, I released them as public for 1 week. During this week, Kramer was watching and now that he knew the videos existed, wanted them as evidence of my "delusions" - so, when I re-privated the videos Kramer began accusing us of spoliation (destruction of evidence). The videos, other than the "I Invented YouTube" video which iJustine spoofed, had never been made public for longer than a few days since I made them in 2007.
They were private videos and several times I thought I about taking them off before the case began, mainly because the content wasn't being watched by that many people in the few weeks I had them up in 2007. Despite numerous emails and calls by my attorneys to Mr. Kramer, he ignored our repeated assertions that the evidence wasn't destroyed at all. I even offered to re-public them. My attorney said I wasn't required, legally, to do that, so I didn't. He told Kramer that they were still on YouTube and if he wanted them he should get the keys to them himself. Britt (my attorney) said he was a "real jerk" for accusing him of that, and that Kramer basically talked over him calling me delusional and Britt a bad lawyer for representing me. Then, to get the videos to put them on the DVD, Kramer used YouTube's keychain to unlock them and copy them for his submission to the judge.
These were the first videos I'd ever made for YouTube. It's not like they were that embarrassing, but I just "spilled my guts" about YouTube on them, including revealing evidence particular to our case. I also complained about the government, Scientology, YouTube founders, Google and monopolies - all of the things that make you unpopular in the face of media scrutiny. I even said during one of the videos that I "meant no one any harm" and that "they're gonna probably say I'm crazy, but I'm not" - I mean, how much of this is evidence that I am crazy? I think I even addressed "the Judge" at one point, saying that I would need his help. I was sitting there, in my bathrobe, late at night, just talking to who-ever would listen. Anyway, after a few weeks in 2007, I made them private. Why bother random people with claims that they can't do anything about? Why egg on big organizations like Scientology and Google and the U.S. Government? I figured I might need them to show my attorneys, or at least to keep a record of the facts since there was no telling, in 2007, if I would ever find an attorney who would take the case (on contingency).
Anyway, those claims of my insanity were followed by the ongoing claims that Chad had nothing to do with PayPal after eBay bought it. I believe the switchboard operator who connected me to Chad told me she was able to connect me to his cellphone, so he may not have known how or why I called him at first. I think we talked briefly when we spoke in 2004 about how I got his number. Big surprise, he's lying.
Here's what Kramer sent the judge along with the DVDs:
I was surprised it didn't include the "I Invented YouTube" video, which got 23,000 views in the first month it was featured in "The Fourth YouTuber" article. It also didn't include other videos like "The Gift of YouTube", which were far more out there (if you wanted to find stuff that made me look "crazy", why not pick those?). Attorney Monts explained that those videos would eventually be shown as the case progressed -- if it progressed -- but as was decided by the six attorneys on my team, they withdrew their counsel (they had voted multiple times to end it, I guess that's the process, but having no experience with the process, how could I know what to expect).
Attorney Monts assured me that if they withdrew as counsel, I would have difficulty finding another attorney to take the case on contingency. This was the case, as this was what happened, due to a variety of factors (Rule 11 filing threats from Kramer, arguments with the "impartial" attorneys, nit-picking over testimonial content deemed "controversial" . . . including a speculative recounting of the conversation content, which I still attest as being fairly accurate - I had repeated the pitch multiple times, certainly my encounter with Chad influenced what I was pitching and how, but I was taking the chance with the hopes that YouTube would emerge as a phenomenon).
The worst part was dealing with my own legal team after the Rule 11 filing threats from Kramer. I suddenly was put on the defensive, being screened and re-screened by myself, the team, the polygraph examiner. During our final face-to-face lunch meeting the day that Kramer managed to convince the judge to give them special circumstances, I could only describe it as "brutal" and "final", though they played their attorney game a little more and made it appear like I had a chance. They wanted control, since it had been taken from them. They wanted to control me, since I was the source of their anxiety. I was as brutal to them as they were to me. It all seemed a horrible wash.
It proved to me that it was about popularity, not about science or logic or even rationality. It's that manufactured "rightness" that the government+media+corporate machination rams down our throat. It's all just a ruse anyway: Rule 11 is there to block lawsuits from happening - effectively negating your right to sue. It demands lawyers make the call on their own case, and risk exposure to hefty sanctions. I was the victim, but Google painted me as a threat (to their bottom line, perhaps), and then manipulated that story into "he is threatening and out to hurt the famous founders" - what can you say in defense of yourself? I found myself saying things like "I wouldn't do that" or "I'm a Buddhist" (I do practice Buddhism and have the beads to prove it) - or "Give me a break, they aren't that famous." Attorney Monts agreed.
You are no longer allowed to make a planned speech when you approach the courtroom. Testimony cannot be prepared in advance, so they question you in such a way that you are really being interrogated. That culture of interrogation and, essentially, psychological torture is not over. The beast is merely sleeping, it has not been slain. In fact, it worsens as the years go by - as U.S. law begins to micromanage speech that was once considered "free". Everything is fair game. You cannot anticipate the outcome before the day; it just isn't possible. It's the notion of "Pre-Crime" slipping out of fantastic science fiction blockbuster and into a blundering, corrupt oil-guzzling nation of fast cars, fast women and hard corners.
No matter what I said, the other lawyers on my team didn't agree. They were being paid - by Attorney Monts - and they were local Pittsburgh lawyers. The country club folks that I rarely hang out with because I'm not invited. I remember being treated as if I wasn't there when we met for lunch. It's like the lawyers were hanging out and I was just a task for later in the day.
The two impartial lawyers made fun of me for writing this. They complained that I would bias it. They wanted to know what I'd write. They wanted to insert their own thoughts into my diatribe and edit it. They said that was the problem with my case: that I was writing "reality" and they didn't like that. I was just trying to show people "reality" - that I'd been wronged by three PayPal employees who, after years of working for Peter Thiel, in a culture of greed and ignorance, took the cake and ate it too. Trust me: I hate that all I have to show for this is a blog, but I never could capitalize off a person like that. YouTube helps video artists, but it hurts writers. It helps you express, but it detaches you from socialization (as does writing, or "blogging" as the soulless put it).
I considered so many other options than letting the idea go. I wanted to bury it but people took advantage of me, even before I talked to Chad. They wouldn't help me start it but they wouldn't let me end it, either. It became a tug-of-war between the pros and cons of even picking up the phone and calling for Hurley.
At this lunch, because of Rule 11, my attorneys wanted to hurt me - to catch me in something. That's unfair. I spoke the truth to get into the situation - I told Attorney Monts way too much about myself, perhaps - but I couldn't rectify the situation and in the end they accused me of lying. The last thing Attorney Bridgers' said to me was "I got kids!" as if I was there to hurt them and waste their money. Not the case. Google shouldn't have done that, but I cannot see what will be there to stop them in the near future.
I'm not the sort of person who wants to hear about how great things are going; I take pleasure in complaining about everything - the government, the state of the world, the class divide, consumer culture - you name it. Aside from that, I was stressed out about the whole ordeal. My father was sick and losing his hair, my grandmother was being admitted to a nursing home at 92 - much to her chagrin and mine - it was depressing. On top of all that, Chad and Steve were defending their ill-gotten psuedo-fame and what amounts to just a sliver of their wealth as though it was the most important thing on Earth. Far from it.
In today's world, the word "I" doesn't really matter anymore. Your opinion is only worth what others are going to say about your opinion. That's sad. "I" is almost as extinct as the word "local" - almost everything you see on the global TV/Web is advertising, it is merely packaged in such a way as to appear it isn't. Read this post about my feelings on modern identity and advertising. I want "I" to matter - that's why YouTube is there. But as soon as you offer a place for one-self, it becomes a popularity contest. I hope people can come back to the basics - the simple things - people knowing and caring about people. Atrocity is too close to our minds today. Perhaps I'm wandering down the path of the Luddite, but there is a peaceful way to approach life. If you don't faster-faster-kill-kill, then you're really opening your mind and experiencing consciousness for what it is. You can observe people, like in European coffee houses before Starbucks ruined the world - I feel bad for the young who have never experienced that. The diversity of culture has suffered due to big corporations and their political connections.
I remember a world where we didn't send one-line zingers to each other as a form of communication. I remember a culture that didn't "like that" or "thumbs down" that or "comment" ... real, distinct and deep communication can't occur when it's a push-button world of social memes. You need to spend time looking at real people in real situations, and talking civilly. Revive that old, lost art of conversation - that's the ticket.
Here's the letter my attorney sent in response: