Pulse: Down-Loathed

That Geoffrey Beauchamp is hated should come as no surprise. He’s a lawyer. But Beauchamp commands an especially reviled place in the hearts of many locals: He represents members of the Recording Industry Association of America, which recently sued scores of area residents for illegally downloading music via the Internet. People like 24-year-old Elizabeth Muschelli of Aston, who, according to the suit, just couldn’t resist a little Lonestar, Spice Girls and Celine Dion. Muschelli’s father says the RIAA demanded $3,500 to settle the case, threatening her with the alternative of paying as much as $25,000 per song if the matter goes to trial, even though “she doesn’t have a dime.” (Beauchamp won’t comment on specific cases but cautions that these numbers are unreliable.)

Montco resident Beauchamp, 54, doesn’t seem to mind being despised, and he evinces little sympathy for the lawsuits’ defendants, saying that record companies “have a right and obligation to their shareholders and musicians to protect their property.” As for his own musical tastes, Beauchamp enjoys jazz and blues but says he’s never downloaded a song on the Internet. “I’m computer-primitive,” he says. “I just go out and buy the album.”