Judge In RIAA v. Mom Case Sees The Issues

from the proof? dept

Recently, the story of the woman fighting the RIAA over the lawsuit filed against her for file sharing has been getting plenty of attention. When we originally wrote about it, we pointed out many of the issues suggesting that anyone who fights the RIAA probably has a strong case, since the RIAA has to prove a lot to show that the person they filed the suit against is actually guilty. However, most people settle because it’s far cheaper than actually going to court (and risking a loss). The discussion about the case has grown a lot in the past few weeks and Copyfight points to Mike Godwin’s analysis where he wonders why the RIAA would ever sue in situations where the case wasn’t completely solid. It’s just going to make them look bad. He also points to the initial transcript from the first court appearance by the woman, Patricia Santangelo, pointing out how the judge snapped at the RIAA’s lawyer for suggesting that the case could just be “handled” by the RIAA’s “settlement” or “conference center.” Actually, the more interesting part of the transcript comes earlier, when the judge (after noting her fear that her kids would download something and get her sued) says: “Well, I think it would be a really good idea for you to get a lawyer, because I would love to see a mom fighting one of these.” Between all these quotes, it seems that the judge sees that the RIAA is simply bullying people into settling, rather than making sure they have real cases. As Copyfight implies, the judge is making it clear to the RIAA that this is a court case and not an education campaign, as the RIAA likes to think of it. While it would be great if this case does go to court, all this publicity is upping the ante for the RIAA to push for a settlement as quickly as possible. The cost of them losing this case would be tremendous — and they absolutely could lose. It wouldn’t be surprising if they cut and ran, and maybe gave the woman some free music to get her to quiet down. Hopefully, she won’t accept that.

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Comments on “Judge In RIAA v. Mom Case Sees The Issues”

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Pete Austin says:

Background Documents and Transcript

Santangelo’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it fails to properly state a claim. The record companies have responded that the suit makes out a valid claim against Santangelo. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon will decide the issue.Poughkeepsie Journal

Once the judge in the case suggested Santangelo hire a lawyer to help her case, she tapped New York’s Morlan Ty Rogers, who quickly suspected that the case might be the first one in which a defendant could fight the RIAA, and maybe even win… Rogers, who recently filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against Santangelo… U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon is expected to issue a judgement in the Santangelo case soon.VH1

Text transcript of a preliminary conference between a lawyerless Santangelo, the RIAA lawyer, and the judge. thedigitalmusicweblog

A blog devoted to the RIAA’s lawsuits of intimidation brought against ordinary working people… We are lawyers in New York City. Recording Industry vs The People

Nipsey Russell, Yo says:

No Subject Given

Why, oh why, do the news articles linked to here STILL insist on saying these lawsuits are for “downloading” music. They’ve been reporting on this for 2-3 years now and still seem to not have any clue what they’ve been reporting on. I’m starting to think the RIAA pays the press to consistently and incorrectly tell people that lawsuits are brought for “downloading” (its uploading or sharing) to create maximum fear…

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

The RIAA patching things up by giving you some free music is like McDonalds settling my salmonella poisoning case by giving me tubs of expired “special sauce”. “Here’s your free music. If you put it on an MP3 player, we will sue you. If you put it on a CD, we will sue you. If you put it on a computer other than this one (it lacks an audio player, speakers or a sound jack) we will sue you. If you somehow manage to hear a song, transcribe it note for note onto musical score sheets, and pay a poor busker $5 to hear it played on a street corner, we will sue you. If you sniff the IP packets as we upload you the song files, ascribe random notes to each of them, and train an African grey parrot to sing the appropriate notes when exposed to each packet, we will sue you. If we can come up with market share figures that suggest that piracy is ruining our business, we will sue you. If someone tailgates our CEO on the way home from work, we will sue you. The only term of this settlement is that we retain our right to sue you, and as soon as media furor dies down, we will sue you. If there’s anything we’ve forgotten to mention, we will sue you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not just the RIAA

Old news, but DTV is still doing the same thing. I work at a university, and had purchased a card reader to prototype a student logging system for a research project. I bought the reader from a pirate site. The reader didn’t have the correct firmware to work with generic cards, so I threw it in my parts box and bought the right one somewhere else. DTV raids the dealer that sold me the card, finds my name on the customer list, and sues me for 10k after being very nasty on the phone. I hired a lawyer for $$$, and fought it. They wanted then to settle for 2500, and wanted me to sign the most draconian settlement you could imagine. I kept going. 2 weeks before trial, they offered to settle for 500 and a “no-fault” agreement. Wanted to go to trial, but was told to sit down and shut up by my wife….whose amex I charged the part to.
Bottom line is to stick it out if you can- they will almost always fold.

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