Patti Santangelo's Teen Son Fights Back With Every Possible Argument Against RIAA Suit
from the throw-as-much-as-you-can-on-the-wall,-see-what-sticks dept
If you follow the stories of lawsuits of people fighting back against the RIAA’s “sue everyone” strategy, you’re probably well aware of Patti Santangelo. While hardly the first person to fight back against overly broad RIAA lawsuits, she certainly was one of the first to get plenty of attention for it. As we pointed out when her first case came to light, it seemed quite clear that, at the very least, she was perfectly innocent. It may have been her kids or her kids’ friends who had done something — but that shouldn’t expose her to legal liability. Eventually, even the RIAA saw that as well, dropping the suit against Patti and suing her kids instead (of course, they only did this after using questionable techniques to dig up private info about her kids). It was a little odd earlier this month to hear that the lawyer for Santangelo’s daughter didn’t even respond to the lawsuit against her, leading to a default judgment. However, it looks like the Santangelo family has gone to the opposite extreme for son Robert.
Today, 16-year-old Robert Santangelo and his lawyer responded to the RIAA lawsuit and basically tossed up every possible defense they could think of. They accuse the RIAA of damaging Robert’s reputation as well as distracting him from school without any actual proof that he did anything wrong. Specifically, they point out that the RIAA has no actual evidence that Robert shared any files with anyone. Then he tries a long list of possible defenses, many of which seem unlikely to hold up: the RIAA supported file sharing before it was against it (huh?), computer makers/software makers didn’t make it clear that file sharing could be illegal (ignorance isn’t much of a defense), the statute of limitations has already passed, and that all of the songs found on his computer were actually on CDs his sister owned — suggesting they were legally obtained (which doesn’t matter since he’s being sued for distribution, not downloading). Then there’s the kicker. The suit claims that the RIAA is “engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the courts of the United States” and are violating anti-trust law by acting collusively “to make extortionate threats.” While you can understand the reasoning behind throwing up every defense in the book, you have to wonder if it will hurt his case by not simply focusing on the stronger defenses he has (mainly, the lack of any actual evidence proving he distributed songs). The anti-trust and extortion claims are fun to see, but past attempts at similar claims haven’t gotten very far, and it doesn’t seem like judges buy that argument. Still, if nothing else, this will be a fun case to follow.