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Patricia Santangelo requests trial by jury in RIAA suit

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 03 Dec 2005 16:56 User comments (27)

Patricia Santangelo requests trial by jury in RIAA suit Patricia Santangelo, a mother of five who is being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for copyright infringement has requested a trial by Jury. This is the first time that an RIAA lawsuit against an alleged Internet pirate is headed for trial. Santangelo refused to pay the RIAA's settlement center as she says she is completely innocent of these accusations. The likely culprit she says, is a friend of her children.
The RIAA's evidence against file sharers it sues has to be tested in court sooner or later, and many legal experts say it is not good enough for a lawsuit. Relying on an IP address alone to prove that Santangelo is guilty is just not good enough. Even putting that aside, the RIAA has actually managed to sue a dead woman before. 83-year old Gertrude Walton shared over 700 pop, rock and rap songs according to the RIAA.

The reason Santangelo is the first to stand up to the RIAA is simple, people are afraid of what might happen if they go to court. The RIAA threatens to sue for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars if a case goes to court, forcing most people to pay a settlement of $3000 - $4000 to have the lawsuit disappear.

Source:
Arstechnica

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27 user comments

13.12.2005 17:43

this will be an interesting case to watch.

23.12.2005 18:37

Quote:
... forcing most people to pay a settlement of $3000 - $4000 to have the lawsuit disappear.
I wonder how much $$$ it would take to make the RIAA disappear? [sigh....] I hope I live long enough to see this cancer erradicated. Ms. Santangelo stands an awfully good chance of burying these c---s-----s provided that the jury chosen is a legitimate one (not a 'bought out' one). You must remember that the RIAA wrote the book on corrupt buyouts, so you can't discount anything. Frankly, I'm surprised Ms. Santangelo hasn't received 'anonymous death threats' by hired RIAA-cronies by now, for having the audacity to challenge these heretofore-untouchable God-like beings. If a legit jury (and judge) is chosen, the RIAA is fried. Who will the jury beleive? A regular Mom of five, or a bunch of corporate stuffed-shirts? My fervent hope is that, once they are defeated, Ms. Santangelo will go for Punitive Damages. Pain and Suffering. (Are people allowed to counter-sue companies for being supreme assholes?) Thank you (!!) for keeping alive this 'Davis vs. Goliath' story!

33.12.2005 18:51

Can't wait for the outcome. Think about it if she wins it will be back to P2P, well atleast until the RIAA comes up with another tactic.

43.12.2005 19:08

Yep, but Invasion - it's MUCH more important than even that! If she wins, it will set a concrete precedence. It will mean that just about every other miserable lawsuite the RIAA has filed would be potentially defeatable by any aggrieved party like-inflicted, should they decide to pursue. There's nothing like a success story to build on success! AND THE EFFECT COULD SNOWBALL LIKE CRAZY! (And let's face it, it would be *wonderful* to see their corporate little noses rubbed in it, eh?)

53.12.2005 19:48

Very true A_Klingon BUT if she loses it also sets a precedent, so I hope she gets the best representation available. RIAA will spend countless millions if they have to to win this case as they have almost bottomless pockets, where as Ms. Santangelo will be risking everything she has. It would great to see RIAA and all their scumbag affiliates get their bums kicked, and I'm sure people all over the world will be following the case very closely.

63.12.2005 20:27

Hi umug. :-) Sorry for mispelling 'precedence' for the correct 'precedent', and thnx for understanding what I meant. Umug, should she lose, the RIAA is very dead regardless. So far as the RIAA's obsolete-ness in this world is concerned, they are living on borrowed time. The difference between Ms. Santangelo winning or losing, is simply an extension of when. They are HUGE. So are we. (The Internet Community). The customers. The people with the credit cards. The "inconsequential" people who make-or-break the RIAA.

Quote:
I hope she gets the best representation available.
Me too, but I have a great deal of faith in the human soul. You, Me, AfterDawners, The Masses, (Everyone-Else-On-Earth minus the RIAA.) Considering the ungodly-unfair clout of the illegal organization threatening her, the beautiful legal people (did I just say 'legal' and 'beautiful' in the same sentence?) representing her would be very aware of this fact way ahead-of-time.

73.12.2005 22:46

I expect a jury will be chosen of people that dont even know how to turn a computer on.Think about it guys.

83.12.2005 22:49

The anticipation is killing me! So long as the RIAA doesn't buy the jury, there's pretty much no way she can lose. The RIAA's methods of identifying infringers are so painfully unreliable that no one in their right mind could trust them (unless, of course, dead people can download music). With their loss on this case, the RIAA's scare tactics will be a joke and even people who actually have infringed on copyrights will be able to deny their way out of a lawsuit. The RIAA is about as obsolete as vinyl records (no offense to vinyl records) and they can only leach off artists and consumers for so long.

94.12.2005 1:48

Wow, so does this mean that If this women wins the case the RIAA can no longer sue people on the basis of an IP address? An IP address is too weak a piece of evidence anyway.. (Did I say that last sentence right?) -Mike

104.12.2005 2:09

Trial by jury sounds great, good chance she will win aswell if it goes this way. Jury will see - Corporation wanting thousands of doallars over a few songs. Single mother with 5 kids. All I need to say.

114.12.2005 3:22

It would be great if the RIAA lost, and then had to pay back everybody else they extorted.

124.12.2005 3:40

134.12.2005 5:21

Let's just hope she wins, thats all I can say

144.12.2005 5:37

First RIAA lawsuit heads to trial 11/30/2005 11:02:25 AM, by Nate Anderson Holy litigation, Batman! The National Law Journal reports that the RIAA has launched 14,800 lawsuits in the last two years in an attempt to clamp down on file swapping. But what's striking about the RIAA's tactics is that out of all 14,800 lawsuits, not a single one has gone to trial. That's about to change. Patricia Santangelo, a divorced mother of five living in Wappingers Falls, New York, is taking her case to trial. She recently found herself the target of an RIAA lawsuit and vowed to contest it, claiming that she knows nothing about downloading music online. The RIAA, however, is quite sure that she does. As they put it in their complaint, "Plaintiffs are informed and believe that Defendant, without the permission or consent of Plaintiffs, has used, and continues to use, an online media distribution system to download the Copyrighted Recordings, to distribute the Copyrighted Recordings to the public, and/or to make the Copyrighted Recordings available for distribution to others. In doing so, Defendant has violated Plaintiffs' exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution. Defendant's actions constitute infringement of Plaintiff's copyrights and exclusive rights under copyright." When the lawyerspeak is stripped away, what this means is that Santangelo is accused of downloading the following fine pieces of pop music: * Lit "Happy" * Incubus "Nowhere fast" * Third Eye Blind "Semi-Charmed Life" * UB40 "Can't Help Falling in Love" * Godsmack "Whatever" * Foo Fighters "Breakout" Santangelo and her lawyers moved to dismiss the case but the judge has rejected their efforts, meaning that discovery will soon begin and a full trial appears likely. We haven't seen a trial on this issue yet because the RIAA has generously offered to settle the suits for amounts in the US$3000-4000 range, rather than the tens of thousands they would demand if they prevailed in court. To date, more than three thousand people have coughed up. Santangelo vows to fight on, though, claiming that the likely culprit is not her but a friend's child who used her computer. The RIAA disagrees. They argue that their methodology for tracking down the "bad guys" is more or less error-free. "The chances of it not being the right person or someone in that household are slim," said Stanley Pierre-Louis, senior vice president for legal affairs at the RIAA. "Let's face it, what we're doing is on the right side here. What these users are doing is violating the copyright laws." But the RIAA has been wrong before, as it was in its 2003 suit against Sarah Seabury Ward, a sixty-something sculptor who was accused of downloading gangsta rap. The suit was eventually withdrawn, but the case (and others like it, including one against a dead grandmother) does shed some doubt on the RIAA's ability to correctly identify the infringing party. With Santangelo's case now headed for trial, a judge's ruling may provide more clarity about what the RIAA can and cannot do in its war on musical piracy. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051130-5650.html

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Dec 2005 @ 5:38

154.12.2005 15:48

So like...I would gladly flip the bill for a terrorist operation to bomb the RIAA and MPAA headquarters! Anyways...she will probably win, I mean look at all the trash that they have been faced with, i.e. suing dead people, now she is going to take them to court. NICE! I'll bet they didn't see this one coming. It is going to be like that Sony rootkit, they think that if nobody sees/knows about it, they are cleared and can get away with that $hit...but all it takes is one person and then BOOM! all hell breaks loose. I can guarantee that if this case hits national/international mainstream news, you can kiss the RIAA and MPAA goodbye, cause not only will everyone know how to download stuff (take for instance those gay ass commercials about the "stealing of movies" on some dvds and in theaters), but they will also see how corporations are bullying their own customers. If it weren't for us, they wouldn't even have a f**king job! Anyone ever heard of the phrase, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?" :P Later people!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Dec 2005 @ 15:52

165.12.2005 2:44

Very interesting link here for those who have the time or inclination to view the whole download situation as based on current US law: http://offtheshelf.nowis.com/index.cfm?ID=5 VERY revealing reading indeed! And you'll get to see what the average RIAA "settlement" works out to. (See the chart). (OK, ok, I'll tell you.) $14,875. And that's without ever having gone to court. Geeze..... :-( Kind of makes you wonder who the real thieves are, eh?

175.12.2005 3:03

Klingy ~ That was a good, and very interesting (~if not astounding) read. Though I cannot take much from it ~ The US Government is much harsher than the British one ~ 15000+ sued compared to no more than 70 here. As far as file sharing goes, let's face it, it is theft. But at the same time, it is technically sharing, so I guess there's no reason to feel guilty. ~ We should have the freedom to distribute whatever we like, that's why I hope this humble lady wins :) ~ Just one last thing, are you a file sharer yourself, Klingy? :) ~Biz

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Dec 2005 @ 3:04

185.12.2005 8:17

Hehe. A good time to point out, that anyone who does not have/use PeerGuardian, should do so now! - http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/ -Mike

195.12.2005 16:22

If the MPAA & the RIAA had any brains whatsoever they would be trying to settle out of court with this lady..... by paying her out. If this does end up being a trial by jury and they loose then a precident is set and anyone who is targeted by the RIAA or MPAA or who has been targeted by them can then sue the hell out of the companies for rather large amounts of cash. If this happens, say goodbye to the RIAA & mpaa they could pretty much be made bankrupt.

206.12.2005 2:16

@ Lethal_B :

Quote:
Just one last thing, are you a file sharer yourself, Klingy? :)
No, of course not. Never. No way. Uh-uh. (The foregoing is my official, public answer, -- "Uh-Uh".) -- And no, of course I didn't send you a PM. -- You see, uploading songs would, (ahem), "Infringe upon the rights of the legitimate copyright-holders themselves", and god only knows I don't want masked thugs knocking on my door at 3 o'clock in the morning. -- See PM -- So no, (of course) I don't share (or even download) copyrighted media files. I also don't record copyrighted tv programs with my nifty new Lite-On LVW-5005 video disc recorder, which I picked up only yesterday from Walmart at a *Super* price! (It was only a little more than I would have expected to pay for a better-quality VCR). -- see PM -- The thing makes *lovely* recordings with just about any kind of blank disc I throw at it (including reg'lar cds too). I guess that's why folks like Lite-On make these things with built-in TV tuners and "time-shifting" set-up screens. -- see PM -- So folks like me WON'T be tempted to download copyrighted tv shows. (oh fer god's sake......) But I guess you see my point. One can copy copyrighted tv shows (supposedly legally), but one must not download copyrighted music files. (Or something like that). Kinda makes you wonder, don't it? -- See PM --

216.12.2005 8:49

Hmm.. for some reason I don't believe you when you said you didn't send a PM.. : -Mike

226.12.2005 8:58

He did mike :) ~Cheers, Klingy, I PM'd you back ;)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Dec 2005 @ 8:58

236.12.2005 10:43

@Lethal - Note the sarcasm! :) ..Sunny D -Mike


http://my.afterdawn.com/mik3h/blog_entry.cfm/1394 - Guides written by me.
http://www.adbuddies.org/ - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

246.12.2005 10:53

Hehe, I See Sonic has dissappeared...out of embarrasment~? ;) BTW, Nice new guide there buddy :) ~Lethal

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Dec 2005 @ 10:58

256.12.2005 11:00

I never had a sonic sig. And I was nagged at, my sig was too big. And then I had written some guides I wanted to link to...! Get in the channel NOW! -Mike EDIT : Hehe, thanks.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Dec 2005 @ 11:01

http://my.afterdawn.com/mik3h/blog_entry.cfm/1394 - Guides written by me.
http://www.adbuddies.org/ - Join us Live on IRC!

(Kudos to Ripper For The Beautiful Sig!)

263.2.2006 16:45

This is great! After all, its ridiculous easy to highjack or piggyback on an IP address. Especially if you have unsecured wireless in your home. But a really determined person can just tap your cable or DSL line. From what I've been told its not that hard. And with ISP anonymizing software already in existence, I wonder how hard it would actually be to "spoof" someone else's IP and then do whatever illegal stuff one might want. It could include even include really nasty stuff like child porn. This is why the cops or the Feds, when going after actual pirates, or child porn scumbags seize their computers. They have to find the illegal material on the computer in question to get a case to trial, let alone obtain a conviction. I have a strong suspicion the RIAA will drop this case and it will never reach trial. The last thing they want is to lose their Weapon of Fear. If they lose the case, which most legal experts think they will, then there will be a precedent against them that will make it impossible for them to file these suits. This suit will never go before a jury--and it won't be because Ms. Santangelo caves. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the settlment money went to her instead of the RIAA. This trial is their ultimate nightmare. And they completely deserve it.

277.2.2006 11:54

Quote:
Santangelo vows to fight on, though, claiming that the likely culprit is not her but a friend's child who used her computer. ... "The chances of it not being the right person or someone in that household are slim," said Stanley Pierre-Louis, senior vice president for legal affairs at the RIAA. "Let's face it, what we're doing is on the right side here. What these users are doing is violating the copyright laws."
I think they just need to find a parent with a PC on the Jury to tell the rest of the jurors the RIAA is full of it with that. Even though I watch my kids on the net 90% of the time, when my kid was eleven I had adaquate protection on his pc. We had a couple ofhis cousins over, one of which was 13 and it took himabout five minutes to remove all the protection software and install every bit of crap. I discovered a few days later and I know what I am doing when it comes to pc's -- many parents would have never known.
Quote:
But a really determined person can just tap your cable or DSL line. From what I've been told its not that hard.
In apartment buildings this is incredibly easy.

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