RIAA Dirty Tricks: Gathering Private Info On Kids Of Accused File Sharer

from the how-nice dept

The recording industry certainly has a history of dirty tricks when it comes to the various lawsuits they’re involved in. Last year, for example, it came out that they had stalked the CEO of Sharman Networks (makers of Kazaa) with a 24-hour surveillance program that lasted several months. The latest is that they’re apparently trying to intimidated Patricia Santangelo by investigating her kids. While certainly not the first person to stand up to the RIAA when accused of file sharing she claims she didn’t do, Patricia Santangelo has become quite a thorn in the side of the RIAA since her case was revealed. She’s been publicly standing up to the RIAA and won’t back down — like many others who initially resisted, but eventually settled. Even after losing her original lawyer, she has continued to fight. The RIAA’s latest tactic, as submitted by Jon, is to reveal to Santangelo and her new lawyer that they’ve been investigating her children, and have been able to collect a lot of non-public information. The RIAA will probably claim that the info is related to the case, but it certainly borders on using scare tactics, and trying to intimidate Santangelo into backing down.

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Comments on “RIAA Dirty Tricks: Gathering Private Info On Kids Of Accused File Sharer”

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IronHelixx says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Excuse me it isn’t the 1950’s anymore. RIAA IS capitalism at it’s worst.

The riaa is anti-capitalist, and not capitalistic at all. The supress the free market as well as the little guy. They have apploed pressure to many free market products and have threatened Sirius, XM and other companies if they did not submit to the riaa’s will and way. That is anything but capitalism.

IronHelixx says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Excuse me it isn’t the 1950’s anymore. RIAA IS capitalism at it’s worst.

The riaa is anti-capitalist, and not capitalistic at all. They supress the free market as well as the little guy. They have applied pressure to many free market products and have threatened Sirius, XM and other companies if they did not submit to the riaa’s will and way. That is anything but capitalism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Don’t confuse classic, textbook, Free Market Capitalism with the kind of Corporate “capitalism” of monopoly and extortion that is practiced by the RIAA, corporations and government today.
The modern so-called “capitalism” has indeed become a grotesque monstrosity that must be stopped.

Professor Highbrow says:

Re: Re: Re:2 A problem, but where is the solution?

Don’t confuse classic, textbook, Free Market Capitalism with the kind of Corporate “capitalism” of monopoly and extortion that is practiced by the RIAA, corporations and government today.

Well stated. “textbook” Marxist Communism is not an evil idea on paper either, nor is textbook Capitalism.
It just so happens that goverments have allowed perversion of their ideas to be put into practice; and that is what makes these ideas good or bad.
Idealism vs. Reality in Pratice.

On the topic at hand however, citizens seem to all agree that the “–AA’s” are manipulating the system… This topic comes up repeatedly here on Techdirt.
So my question is, how do we solve this problem and make the voice of the people heard? Last I checked the USA was a Democracy, right? Authority only granted by concensus of the people?

Or is it that the “average” person is unaware, or just doesn’t care enough?

Either way, we should put our efforts into supporting organizations that can use our collaberative power as leverage, since we can’t change a thing on our own. I suppose the only solutions to these ongoing abuses will require a REAL BOYCOTT and massive public CIVIL DISOBEDIANCE.

So, hit ’em where it hurts, in the pocketbook!
Check out websites that support efforts to boycott, such as http://www.boycott-riaa.com and don’t feed their empire by EVER buying a CD or paying for a song. The real music is out there, it’s just not being promoted anymore. Buy a cd from your favorite local band, or a T-shirt.
Pirate anything else, because you know the money doesn’t go to the artists anyhow, if you have to…

This thing is never going to end until the record company conglomorates run out of money to sue their own customers with… our politicians are not going to solve this problem for us, there’s no money in it.

The power is in OUR hands, but only if we make an organized effort.

ORGANIZE, BOYCOTT, and EDUCATE… and we can kill these aggregious abuses of privacy and power.

Me says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Yup

You make a point. But isn’t that the way it is with everything? The more money and status someone has, the more people think they are good people, not all but most. If this was a small business owner, he would have been refused 99% of what the RIAA has gotten away with. This is why I stated in another forum, we are disolved. We allowed races to be split, sexes, families, friends, political groups, each demanding they are right. No unity leads to communism. This is what we are in for, oh it will get worse before it gets better. How do we stand up for our rights when no one stands together any more? And sad to say, there are a lot of, well, stupid may be a bit strong of a word but let’s say people who don’t live down to earth lives, pampered spoiled brats , the new generation of I don’t care kids, the list goes on. It’s funny, the only people I hear say they don’t download music, are those who can afford to buy every cd in existance out of one pay check. Don’t blame people you RIAA bafoons, if things were affordable and all our jobs weren’t over seas, and the ones we do have were paying enough to live off, medical costs weren’t through the roof along with utilities, we may be able to afford to buy a friggin cd. What’s going on? Simple, all the rich got greedy, now that the lower class has no extra money to spend, you have no one to buy your crap. Someone made a Democratic comment, please, Republicans and Democrats and all the others are all the same, just different ways to screw us, one makes us bend over , the other makes us lay down. The days of actual difference are gone. It’s all about one thing, $$$. American dream? Ha, yeah right, maybe as soon as people float back to reality and face what’s going on in this once great country and think that millions of soldiers died for our freedom to have a cig, or to speak our mind, or not have a record company rule what we do. I feel terrible for all those who fought andor gave their life and hope it wasn’t all for nothing.

Rigel says:

Re: Re: RIAA is an institution

Unfortunately the RIAA is very close to an institution of the US government. As is the process by which alcohol and cigarettes are sold. It’s a commodity and the government has a good deal of control over its activities.

If the government wanted they could keep throwing money int this effort forever, and there’s not a damn thing the taxpayer could do about it.

weedrk says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Are you kidding me? Their kids are probably listening to the demos of artists that we won’t hear for another year. Do you really think that a studio execs children are going to buy music when daddy will just bring it home for free? Of course, that isn’t illegal, it’s “privilege”.
Give it up RIAA. You guys had a good run for many decades, but now you are behind the curve. You didn’t jump into online distribution fast enough and you lost your edge. now the indies can smell your blood in the water and they’re starting to cirle you. We recognize these frivolous lawsuits as last ditch efforts to retain your crumbling empire.

Anonymous Coward says:

RIAA does child pornography too

Isn’t this called “stalking”?

Here’s one better for you; if RIAA is following around these children on video – at some point during these children’s days, couldn’t the RIAA also be accused of [b]child pornography[/b]?

and, couldn’t the RIAA save a bunch of cash by not spending it on all these stupid lawsuits? I mean, how much have they spent in relation to home much they have actually “retrieved” from the public? …or is this all just scare tactics to “show” everyone that piracy is bad.

Christopher Allen (user link) says:

Re: RIAA does child pornography too

Where are all the people protecting the children from online and other predators. If the Southlake Texas Police Dept. can arrest a guy for simply taking pictures of people in general at a festival last fall, can’t we lock these people up. Convict them for kiddie porn and send them to prison. I hear they really like um there.

Lobo says:

Re: RIAA does child pornography too

No, its not. Its called private investigation. As far as the RIAA is concerned, spending a couple hundred thousand dollars on allegedly tailing woman in the article or her kids is peanuts compared to what they say they are loosing in record sales. Is it scare tactics, it could be. It wouldnt be the first time that someone has used money to try to get what they want. Anyone ever heard of a Tucker? (aside from the enthusiasts out there). Odds are that unless youve seen the movie, grew up in that time or knew someone that owned one the answer’s no. Private Investigators have rules that they have to abide by in order to obtain and retain their licence. Stalking is defined as “a crime of engaging in a course of conduct directed at a person that serves no legitimate purpose and seriously alarms, annoys, or intimidates that person.” The legitimate purpose here, is that the PI has been hired to follow the family. As far as the kiddy porn stuff goes… Child porn is defined as: a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means,
(i) that shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or
(ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years.
What’s being discussed doesnt fall under any of that either. It MIGHT fall under harrassment, but I think thats as far as it could go, from a legal stand point. Does it make it right? No. But until we get elected officials in office who are immune to the money being thrown around all I can say is C’est La Vie.

Tin Ear (user link) says:

I must be getting older...

I work for my money. I don’t have enough extra to go out and buy every CD that has a good song on it. Frankly, there are very few artists in recent years that I consider talented enough to want to buy their album.. I think my most contemporary CD was put out over ten years ago, and my mp3 songlist has such artists as Creedence Clearwater and Pink Floyd and Santana on it. I believe that the RIAA is growling over it’s own food dish while biting the hand that feeds it.

NOCcer says:

Re: I must be getting older...

There are a few bands out there I’d _LOVE_ to go buy their albums, but I refuse to put any money into their organization.

I do not download it, free or otherwise, and I refuse to let anyone buy it for me. I am boycotting the music industry entirely. It’s broadcast over the radio, or nothing.

You’re in a band? Want to make millions? Then show me some talent and I’ll go to your show. Want it? Earn it!

I can’t put my network administration on a DVD and sell it to the company I work for. I worked hard in school and got myself the education I need to not be a flash-in-the-pan or a 1-hit-wonder.

Get your act together, RIAA, before I do some math and figure that you’ve cost me Billions of dollars in wasted time and electrons over this crap.

Shoal Creek says:

Re: Re: I must be getting older...

NOCcer: Find a small, independant band that plays the kind of music you like and has some talent. Then buy your music directly from them. This kills three birds with one stone: 1. It supports a good band that deserves the support; 2. It avoids any interaction with the RIAA; and 3. You get to listen to your favorite music all you want on any device you like without worrying about DRM crap on your CD’s. 😉

Anon says:

RIAA doesn't understand capitalism

If the RIAA understood capitalism, maybe they would rethink suing their customers! The recording industries would significantly increase their profit margins if they weren’t practicing PAYOLA. Rather than letting the merits of a song determine how popular it became, they pay radio stations to play the song for x # of times, or to report it on the charts. They do this as a promotional tactic, and they spend big bucks to do it. If they quit Payola, they would increase their profits. Then, they could consider reducing the retail price of CDs to make it more attractive for consumers to hand over their hard-earned cash. Instead, they fill the airwaves with junk music, leaving no room for artists that haven’t signed themselves over to the RIAA.

The recording industry thinks getting a song played 4 times an hour will make people buy the CD. Instead, it makes it less likely that I’ll buy the CD, since I’m sick of hearing the song.

jack says:


Her kids are probably the ones who downloaded since she herself claims not to use any computers…

However, many of the RIAA members are guilty of Payola, which the NYS Atty General is now looking into.

Because of their illegal Payola acts, they have illegally and unnaturally boosted the value of their copyrights, and of course their profits, etc.

Sounds like a class action suit to me.

anonymous says:


“…that they’ve been investigating her children, and have been able to collect a lot of non-public information…”

Tell me why the RIAA is not being investigated by the same people that find it appalling that the federal government is above the law when getting wire taps without a warrant? Is private industry less accountable than our government?? You can hardly turn on the TV without Bush and his administration getting raked over the coals over collecting information about private citizens. Should those in the Record Industry who ordered the investigation of this lady’s children be put under the same microscope for their tactics.

I am not saying that illegal wire taps are good but at least it has been pubicly stated they are to protect us from terrorism. The RIAA is only trying to protect themselves from a better product offering.

Does anyone else find this only slightly scary that scrutiny is only found in our public officials but entertainment industry is somehow exempt from our right to privacy?

me says:

Who's on first?

Ok, the RIAA is bad, M-Kay? Now I may be wrong but copyright was to prevent stealing of someone elses idea and claiming it as your own. How is sharing a music file anywhere near this? This whole thing should have been shut down years ago but as the RIAA is a musical government unto themselves, they have power to keep it going. It’s all about the $$$. Our government will do nothing to stop them, big business is a small g-brach, the roots feeding the tree. Does this mean if someone cranks up a tune, it’s illegal for me to hear it? I don’t own it, i’m sharing the sound. Do I have to buy it to hear it? I do agree that stalking these kids should be punishable by prison time with the RIAA making some new friends, shall we say um, cough,…uploading?

Cixelsid says:

MTV Cribs

What kind of a world do we live in where hardworking taxpayers are being extorted for what little they have and publicly humiliated while the lazy rich aristocracy are allowed to gloat over their second Hummer (with chrome wheels) on MTV Cribs? And then have the gall to claim that they’re still the same girl/guy from down the block. Everytime I see that show (Cribs) I want to throw up. Instead I just p2p their latest crappy catchtune and share it until the ratio hits 101, before deleting it without ever having listened to it. Ha! Take that you generic rap/r&b artist!

Ned Ulbricht says:

If your mother says she loves you, check it out

The story at p2pnet is outrageous. Fortunately, we seem to have gotten through Friday and Saturday night without anyone pulling a “Deadeye-Dick” Cheney.

But this story needs verification.

The New York State Attorney Directory has an entry for Jordan D. Glass. Findlaw’s Lawyer Directory also has an entry. But attempting to email Mr. Glass using the Findlaw form, I’ve gotten a “550 No such user” bounce.

I have a hard time believing that any attorney would make these comments. I’m well aware that the remarks attributed to Mr. Glass are no more than a mirror of what the RIAA has said about his clients and others. But it’s outrageous when the RIAA says these things too.

This story needs verification.

Dale Albiston says:

Re: I just don't get it....

ring ring…
“hello officer, theres some strange man videoing my children… No I don’t recognise him… Well its kind of creepy… What you can be there soon?… Thank you officer, we can’t be too careful…”


i think someone used the same trick vs some ambulance chasing legal types in the uk after they started harassing kids outside schools..

usethelaws says:


In lots of major metro areas, there are anti-stalking laws on the books. Especially if the children are minors, the police would NOT take kindly to adults following minors around with a VIDEO camera. There are ways to make it less incentivei$t to stalk others.
Main problem is, they have to bend privacy laws their way to do this.. given the current political climate. Wait, when the democrats get into power, they’ll start building hard-labor prisons for mp3 bandits as they are the other side of this evil plot against the american people. There would be a much more censored, policed internet today if these ‘special interests’ got their way…wow, kinda like CHINA!

Horace says:

Re: RIAA investigating Santangelo children

The story indicated Patricia Santangelo’s kids were being investigated, but didn’t mention anything about video surveilance. Not that it may not exist, but it wasn’t stated and shouldn’t be focused on.
It should, however, be included in the list of possible attempts to watch, stalk, and identify the activities of the children.
Some of these could be construed as attempts at identity theft since the “investigation” could possibly target the computers used by the children in their home. Isn’t hacking a crime? Isn’t identity theft a crime? Isn’t the act of listening (recorded or not) to all communications illegal without a court order? Especially when conducted by a non-government employee (i.e., private investigator hired by RIAA).
Wiretapping is thought to be eavesdropping on the phone. But it is written as communication, and the household computer(s) used by the children “communicate” over wire, so snooping this trafic is covered by several legalities from unlawful wiretapping, to stalking, to hacking, to attempting to collect info for identity theft.
And how come Mrs Santangelo, or some anti-RIAA group, funded similar investgations on the RIAA representatives and their children?

fredfrumppy says:

RIAA is dieing...fast

basic capitalism. while the riaa made a whole lot of money while cds were “in” a better method has arrived, and now they are trying (as all companies do) to shoot down new technology that is benefiting the majority of people in order to keep their massive profit margins that they have gained through years of monopolization. unfortunately for them, after being forced to pay $10+ for a 10 cent piece of plastic no one is going to be very sympathetic to the music industry as their niche disappears, and they loose out because they chose to fight new technology instead of adapting.

SimonTek (profile) says:

A lil late post

Stories like this make me want to run for public office. I am sick of politians working for companies, not the people. They were elected to rep the people. I have a few things I would like to put in place. Disband the RIAA/MPAA, ban frivilous lawsuits, etc. There is so many things that companies have the US gov’t do, that really isn’t their job.

Sandbomb says:


Okay, im sure everyone is aware of movie and music piracy and the attempt by movie and audio labels to stop it. every year millions are brought to court to pay huge loads of money just to compinsate for “illegally” viewing a small movie or playing a song that might not even popularly last for a month. But this year…2006, it will all change, a boycott of original movie and music products (DVDS, VHS and CDs) etc will be boycotted by who ever wishes to do so to prove to movie studios and music labels that WE are the customers and WE make them who they are. it shall start on the 4th of July and hopefully end on 4th of August. i sure hope you participate in this (hoped to be) global event. for more send or add this email “sandbomb_bc@hotmail.com”. thank you for your time and i hope you spread the word.

ini mini says:


I got an abuse email from Cox cable telling me that I had been using bit torrent to download things that are on the net. A movie. I didn’t get sued, but I’m sure they are watching to the day where I turn bit torrent again. So scare tactics work for these F-ers. I share more than music and videos. I share linux stuff because I use Ubuntu at home only. And I share the things I like. So it seems they don’t care about the things I like, they just want my money. They suddenly realized that their trash was important to me so they want to charge for it. I say Boycott is right. I am not a market for your products, Stay off my life Music/film industry.

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