Say That Again

by Mike Masnick




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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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2005 @ 8:58am

    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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