RIAA Accused Of Coaching 15-Year-Old Witness In File Sharing Suit

from the bad-PR? dept

Lawyer Ray Beckerman may have ditched Patricia Santangelo after promising to stick with her case against the RIAA all the way through, but he's still highlighting some interesting cases of people who are finally fighting back against the RIAA by exposing the exact problems with their lawsuits that many of us have been suggesting ever since the RIAA first started suing its customers. The first case has to do with an accused person protesting that the RIAA's practice of bundling a bunch of totally separate lawsuits together is inappropriate. He has some support in this. Nearly two years ago, a federal judge told the RIAA it needed to file each lawsuit separately -- something they still don't do. This same anonymous defendant is also poking holes in the rest of the lawsuit filing, saying that his ISP should not release the identification associated with his IP address, because the RIAA has not shown sufficient evidence and submitting evidence that the system used to find IP addresses of infringers by the company Media Sentry is unreliable. Courts in both Canada and the Netherlands have thrown out evidence from Media Sentry in the past, so there's at least a chance that this argument will hold.

The second lawsuit is even more interesting. It starts out like many of the recent lawsuits, a case where the person accused doesn't use a computer and knows nothing about file sharing. The defense began by highlighting how problematic this is -- pointing to numerous cases where the RIAA filed lawsuits against people who obviously did not do the file sharing, even while the RIAA insists that whoever's name is on the account is automatically responsible (something the law would appear to disagree with). However, here's where the case takes an interesting turn. The RIAA then received testimony from a 15-year-old employee of the defendants' home-based business, claiming that the defendant's wife did, in fact, listen to the downloaded music on their computer. After a number of others claimed that this was not the case, the 15-year-old asked to change her original deposition. The RIAA accused the defendants (now including the wife after amending the original case) of coercing the girl to change the story, but the defendants have spun that around to accuse the RIAA of influencing the girl's original deposition -- something the girl says is true. Apparently, the lawyers for the RIAA had contacted her, urging her to testify against the defendants, her employers. Combined with the fact that no other person who testified could recall the defendants ever using the computer to listen to music, it certainly seems to support the story that they did not do so. Also, not helping the RIAA's case was that, after being told that the defendants don't use a computer and don't use file sharing, they were told that it didn't matter: "someone is going to be responsible and someone is going to have to pay." None of this is all that surprising, but it's good to see people highlighting that these RIAA cases have a lot of legal problems, and seeing more and more people start to fight back against the lack of any real evidence by the RIAA. Still, it's a bit troubling to see the RIAA so unsure of their own legal standing against some of these defendants that they may have been reduced to coercing a 15-year-old girl to lie about her employer.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Right, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 5:25pm

    No Subject Given

    Does the RIAA even know what they are doing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anthony, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 5:57pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    about time someone fights back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 6:32pm

    No Subject Given

    cheers^^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    That Chris Guy, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 6:55pm

    America The Oppressive

    The RIAA seems to have its way in the U.S. due to the strength of its lobby. Worldwide the message is being sent: ADAPT. Imagine if the individuals being sued were guaranteed TRULY equal legal representation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 7:47pm

    Re: America The Oppressive

    Equal Representation is always offered you can buy it for whatever price it takes... If you don't believe that your as blind as Michael is ugly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Matt, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 9:41pm

    Could I Suit?

    I'm wondering if I can suit the RIAA, you know, just for the hell of it. They have deep pockets, I'm sure I can find a reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Keith, Dec 29th, 2005 @ 10:16pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Oh yes they know what they are doing. They are using general mafiaoso thug tactics thinking they can just pressure normal joe blow into admitting guilt. I think they probably actually believe that "everyone" is a pirate so even if they target the wrong person... they must be guilty anyway so full steam ahead.

    Someone needs to really crack down on these thugs and hard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    pfusco, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 5:58am

    I wonder........

    in the next election, should I be voting for microsoft or the riaa? I mean it does stand to reason that they are the ones actually running the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 6:59am

    Re: I wonder........

    Of course the corporations are running the American government. What do you think all those campaign contributions are for? They're there to get the politions to say what their contributers want them to say. In reality its nothing more than bribery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 9:27am

    Re: America The Oppressive

    Yes, and large firms should start to defend the little guy here to help dispell the myth that RIAA is all powerfull. The firms should escalate the cases to higher courts and get the judge to throw out the case based on merit (or the lack there of). If there is no real evidence of a crime or of theft, then there can be no case.
    I'm just waiting for the federal RICO statutes to take effect on RIAA. They are in fact extorting money out of the same people that pay their salaries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Ray Beckerman, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 10:15am

    Elektra v Santangelo

    I haven't "ditched" Mrs. Santangelo. She and I made a mutual decision to substitute her as attorney of record. I continue to be available to her as a legal advisor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jack Crow, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 1:36pm

    Well Played

    Still, it's a bit troubling to see the RIAA so unsure of their own legal standing against some of these defendants that they may have been reduced to coercing a 15-year-old girl to lie about her employer.
    An objective assessment of that statement alone, shows both sides (RIAA and Mike in this case) have no interest in the facts. Both are invested in spinning stories toward their own agendas.

    /It's troubling to think that articles on this site "made up" to gain readership, or that the editors MAY eat babies
    //I dont support the RIAA or spindoctors

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 1:55pm

    Insane

    It is only a matter of time until a good precident gets set and the RIAA won't have a leg to stand on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 30th, 2005 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Well Played

    An objective assessment of that statement alone, shows both sides (RIAA and Mike in this case) have no interest in the facts.

    Can you point out where I have "no interest in the facts"? First off, this is an opinion site, and so I will express my opinions -- but we try to base them on facts wherever possible.

    Might we get something wrong, occassionally? Yes. But we try our best to base everything on the facts. What facts did we miss here? If you point stuff out, that would be helpful.

    If you're suggesting that I always side with those who go against the RIAA, that's not true at all. In cases where I feel the facts go against the other side and support the RIAA I say so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Adam, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Elektra v Santangelo

    So what is the truth in this story anyway? Leak out some inside news please :D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 8:02pm

    Try paragraph breaks once in a while!

    Try paragraph breaks once in a while!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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