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RIAA Drops Suit Against Santangelo 190

Posted by Zonk
from the christmas-presents dept.
VE3OGG writes "The RIAA, in an expected motion, has recently dismissed the case against Patti Santangelo, one of the most famous targets of the RIAA lawsuits. The mother of five was described by the judge presiding as an 'internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo.' While this is good news, the RIAA is still pursuing its case against two of Mrs. Santangelo's children. To make matters worse, the RIAA has also dismissed the case 'without prejudice', meaning that they could, in theory, take action against her again later on. The RIAA alleges that Santangelo's children downloaded and subsequently distributed more than 1,000 songs. The damages they seek are presently unknown"
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RIAA Drops Suit Against Santangelo

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  • FightGoliath (Score:5, Informative)

    by VE3OGG (1034632) <VE3OGG@@@rac...ca> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:26PM (#17330876)
    As the submitter, I would also like to point out that FightGoliath [p2pnet.net] is the legal defense fund for Patti Santangelo, and appears to still be taking donations.
  • Article Text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:28PM (#17330902) Homepage Journal

    Music industry backs off in piracy suit against NY mom
    Last Updated: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | 8:36 AM ET
    The Associated Press
     
    The recording industry is giving up its lawsuit against Patti Santangelo, a New York mother of five who became the best-known defendant in the industry's battle against online music piracy.
     
    However, two of her children are still being sued.
     
    Patti Santangelo was an 'internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo.'-Judge Colleen McMahon
     
    The five companies suing Santangelo, of Wappingers Falls, filed a motion Tuesday in U.S. federal court in White Plains asking Judge Colleen McMahon to dismiss the case. Their lead counsel, Richard Gabriel, wrote in court papers that the record companies still believe they could win damages against Santangelo but their preference was to "pursue [the] defendant's children."
     
    Santangelo's lawyer, Jordan Glass, said the dismissal bid "shows defendants can stand up to powerful plaintiffs." He noted, however, that the companies were seeking a dismissal "without prejudice," meaning they could bring the action again, "so I'm not sure what that's worth."
     
    The companies, co-ordinated by the Recording Industry Association of America, have sued more than 18,000 people, including many minors, accusing them of pirating music through file-sharing computer networks, most of which have been forced out of business. Typically, the industry tracked downloads to a computer address and learned the name of the computer owner from the internet service provider.
     
    When Santangelo, 42, was sued last year, she said she had never downloaded music and was unaware of her children doing it. If children download, she said, file-sharing programs like Kazaa should be blamed, not the parents. The judge called her an "internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo."
     
    Santangelo refused to settle with the record companies, pleaded her case in newspapers and on national TV and became a heroine to defenders of internet freedom, who helped raise money for her defence.
     
    Last month, the record companies filed lawsuits against Santangelo's 20-year-old daughter, Michelle, and 16-year-old son, Robert, saying they had downloaded and distributed more than 1,000 recordings.
     
    The companies said that the daughter had acknowledged downloading songs on the family computer -- which Glass denied -- and that the son had been implicated in statements from his best friend.
     
    The suit against the children seeks unspecified damages.
    The Canadian Press, 2006
  • Without forethought (Score:3, Informative)

    by milo_a_wagner (1002274) <milo@yiannopoulos.net> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:30PM (#17330916) Homepage
    The RIAA cannot dismiss a case, with or without prejudice. The court does that.
  • Re:A question... (Score:3, Informative)

    by GodInHell (258915) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:33PM (#17330944) Homepage

    IANAL, so is it possible for the RIAA to continue the suit against the kids, get some sort of settlement, and then re-sue the mom for the same thing? Or what about jumping back and forth between suing the mom, dismissing the case without prejudice, suing the kids, dismissing that case without prejudice and starting the sequence all over again?
    While I'm not certain (law student, limited experience) I believe your answer is: Yes they could do that - and the court would eventually get pissed, dismiss with prejudice, and it would be dead.


    What I think it is more likely that they will pursue the claim against her children, and then try to collect from her. Unless she is far more wealthy than she appears, bankruptcy probably follows from that.

    -GiH

  • by denebian devil (944045) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:46PM (#17331108)
    "Dropping" a case is not a legal term. Plaintiffs can agree to dismiss a defendant, dismiss or discontinue an entire case, etc. It's their case, they instituted it, and they can end it.
  • by 2nd Post! (213333) <.gundbear. .at. .pacbell.net.> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:56PM (#17331210) Homepage
    Uh, in case you didn't know, the RIAA is also going after AllofMP3 and other "piracy" rings, alongside dead people, unconnected grandmothers, illiterate mothers, and little children.

    So they happen to be equal opportunity litgants.
  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:58PM (#17331238) Homepage Journal
    You are exactly right. The author and Slashdot are incorrect. Only the court can dismiss.

    What actually happened is the RIAA has made a motion to dismiss without prejudice.

    No doubt Ms. Santangelo's lawyer will be responding to the motion by pointing out to the judge that -- after over a year and a half of complex grueling litigation -- the dismissal should be "with prejudice", not "without prejudice". Assuming the judge agrees with Ms. Santangelo, which is highly likely, then Ms. Santangelo will be a "prevailing party" and eligible for an attorneys fees award. See Capitol v. Foster [riaalawsuits.us], July 13th Order and Decision.
  • Re:Parents should... (Score:2, Informative)

    by egypt_jimbob (889197) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:12PM (#17331378) Homepage Journal
    Parents should be responsible for what their minor children do. FTFA, her daughter is 20 years old.

    If your twenty-year-old duaghter borrowed your car and used it as a get away car in a bank heist without your knowledge, should you be held responsible for the robbery? Perhaps my opinions differ from yours but I think the answer is an emphatic 'No'.
  • by Surt (22457) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:16PM (#17331410) Homepage Journal
    There's solid scientific evidence that brain development doesn't really settle down until age 25.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A526 87-2005Jan31.html [washingtonpost.com]
  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:28PM (#17331544) Homepage Journal
    The article contains a link to an old Slashdot article which has an incorrect link to the transcript of Ms. Santangelo's appearance before Judge McMahon. Here's the correct link to the transcript: http://info.riaalawsuits.us/elektra_santangelo/tra nscript050506.txt [riaalawsuits.us]
  • 1997 NET Act (Score:2, Informative)

    by MacDork (560499) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:38PM (#17331652) Journal

    that's only because they have managed to convince some judges that seeding a file (or 1000) via P2P is on the same level as a full-blown for-profit piracy ring.

    No, actually that was the 1997 NET Act [cybercrime.gov] which made sharing files with no profit motive a felony criminal offense. The RIAA didn't need to convince a judge, just pay off legislators.

  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:14PM (#17333278) Homepage Journal
    This will not be rubber stamped. No one is going to question the dismissal, but the judge is very unlikely to allow a case which has been this heavily litigated to be dismissed "without prejudice".

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