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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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  • by Akardam (186995) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:20PM (#17330798)
    IANAL, and therefore I may be showing my naievity, but I was under the impression that only a judge could dismiss a case, but that the plaintiff could drop the case. Makes it sound like the RIAA was playing judge and jury... though of course that might not be far from the truth...
  • Not that different. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:33PM (#17330950) Homepage
    The mob also gave reprieves to families to show the public they were not cold hearted killers.

    None of the behavior of the RIAA is any different from Organized crime.
  • by baffled (1034554) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:35PM (#17330980)
    There should be a law against entities wasting the time and resources of the courts, such as this persistent RIAA filing suits against people before they even bother to gather the facts. This is a waste of the taxpayers' public institutions and personnel.
  • by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:36PM (#17330994) Journal
    It's interesting that the RIAA made two cases here. The kids appear to be in some serious trouble. Of course, 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. Apparently the original defense was to convince a judge of the mother's illeteracy and blame everything on her inability to know what was going on. The 20-year-old daughter is certainly old enough to be sued on her own (kinda surprised about the 16-year-old son, though).

    I really would hate to see something happen to the children. They're just another one of the RIAA's "making an example" cases, and it's really not a good example. This sort of legal bullying simply polarizes people into the submissive "Please don't sue me, I'll do anything you want" group, and those that are willing to escalate their grey-area file sharing into actual criminal activity.

    Why can't they make an example of one of the "real problems"? You know, the pirates that are making hundreds of millions of dollars off pirated music and movies. I'd like to see those rich criminals go to jail too, and I'd bet that most people on P2P networks would too.
    IMO, winning a high-profile case like that would be a terrific example to casual users as well. It'd be like putting drug dealers in jail instead of drug users. You still send the same message "Drugs are bad", but the person who gets punished actually contributes significantly to the problems caused by drugs.

    Oh wait. There are no pirates making hundreds of millions of dollars off pirated music and movies. That must be because there are legitimate people making hundreds of millions of dollars off legitimate music and movies. To me, the "real problem" is clearly stated in the last two sentences. Persecute criminals, not their victims or groupies.

    mandelbr0t
  • Generation Blues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:45PM (#17331098) Homepage Journal
    This whole thing is stupid six ways from Sunday. Of course the mother is responsible for her children's lawbreaking behavior, even if she doesn't know how they do it, or how the law works. If she didn't know "glock from Spock", would she not be responsible if her kids smuggled plastic guns onto a transatlantic flight?

    But they didn't smuggle guns. Maybe they did redistribute some files. In which case they might be liable for negligible damages. And the stupid copyright law should be changed, even if just for the survival of a music biz that obviously can't figure out how to make money from the "remix culture" that is where all the cool kids are. All the RIAA knows how to do is rip off musicians and resell the same crapola in new crapola-wrap, protected by politicians they bribe.

    Will the legacy of the RIAA finally be to not only kill Rock & Roll, but to put actual chains on kids by making their parents totally irresponsible?
  • by mojodamm (1021501) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:56PM (#17331208)
    I thought there was... From - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Rules_of_Civi l_Procedure [wikipedia.org] "Rule 11 requires all papers to be signed by the attorney. It also provides for sanctions against the attorney or client for harassment, frivolous arguments, or a lack of factual investigation. The purpose of sanctions is deterrent, not punitive. Courts have broad discretion about the exact nature of the sanction which can include: consent to in personam jurisdiction, fines, dismissal of claims, or dismissal of the entire case. The current version of Rule 11 is much more lenient than its 1980s version. Supporters of tort reform in Congress regularly call for legislation to make Rule 11 stricter."
  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:04PM (#17331292) Homepage Journal
    Harin_Teb wrote: "Any time a plaintiff drops a suit (for the first time) it is dropped without prejudice."

    Sorry, Harin, you're wrong about that. If they had sought to drop the case prior to the defendant's service of an answer, that would be correct. After service of an answer, it can only be "without prejudice" if the judge allows them to dismiss "without prejudice". It would be highly unusual and irregular for that to happen in a case which has already been so heavily litigated as this one.

    The plaintiffs knew even before they'd brought the case that the defendant was not liable. There's no way the judge is just going to let them get away with what they did here.
  • by t0rkm3 (666910) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:11PM (#17331368)
    Or, you just like having kids around to instruct and guide some children toward becoming socially responsible people and you have the wherewithal to do so.

    My parents had 4 boys, my dad has since adopted two more children (1b/1g).

    He also runs volunteer summer camps, coaches soccer teams, and teaches youth groups.

    Why? Because he believes people are responsible for molding the future generations.

    Don't demean people's decisions because they want or have something you don't. Perspective people.

  • Hmmph on the RIAA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Divebus (860563) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:32PM (#17331598)

    If the RIAA actually represented ARTISTS instead of their own 600 pound gorilla bureaucracy, I'd side with the RIAA over a lot of this music stealing. Unfortunately, the RIAA is a Trade Association (translation: lobbiest group) with "record labels" as supporting members and the "record labels" use ARTISTS as slave labor. Being enslaved is only profitable for relatively few artists because most of them get a monthly statement from the "record label" showing they owe money. Not a single ounce (dollar) of of whatever the RIAA extorts in court goes back to the ARTISTS who were supposedly harmed.

    Wouldn't it be great of all the ARTISTS banded together to form their own group to develop, distribute and protect the music they create. Something which would cut all the middle men out of the loop permanently and directly benefit the ARTISTS. I'll bet most people would respect copyright law a little more. Only THEN would I consider paying a blanket tax on products (iPods, recording media etc) instead of putting up with DRM to support ARTISTS.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:39PM (#17331668) Homepage

    The article's incorrect. The RIAA isn't dropping the case. They can't, the defendant's already answered their complaint and once defendant's incurred costs plaintiff can't just wash their hands of the case. What they're doing is asking the judge to dismiss their case without prejudice (ie. they can refile the same case in the future). Given the judge's comments to this point I suspect he's going to be disinclined to do that, he'll give them a choice of having it dismissed with prejudice (can't refile) or not dismissing it at all.

  • Re:I'll ask it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @07:33PM (#17332146)
    Ripping off children has been the recording industry's MO from day one. That is why teen pop is such noise. They will stop listening to such junk when they grow up, so rob them now!
  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray AT beckermanlegal DOT com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:28PM (#17333352) Homepage Journal


    denebian devil said: "Not to try to disagree with a Real Lawyer..."

    Then don't try to disagree with a Real Lawyer.

    There are thousands of different types of litigations, actions, and proceedings, and thousands of different procedural contexts. I'm talking about this one.

    If you are aware of a federal court copyright case, which has been heavily litigated, has gone through and completed extensive pretrial discovery, and is on the ready trial calendar, in which a plaintiff submitted a 'voluntary dismissal order' which the judge rubber stamped, tell us about it. Otherwise, don't say things which other readers might be misled by were they to give you any credibility.

    I notice that one naive soul has already modded your incorrect statement "Interesting".
  • by ChiRaven (800537) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:06PM (#17333572) Journal
    This is the same RIAA that just filed a suit to try to nullify a 1981 contract that gives the songwriters a substantial percentage of the income from their songs. Apparently they feel that with all the additional money coming in from things like ring tones and such, the artists who actually create the content are making too much money and the RIAA's corporate members don't get to keep enough.
  • Re:I'll ask it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gr8Apes (679165) on Friday December 22, 2006 @08:55AM (#17336338)
    There's a difference there though. Quite a few Heavy Metal bands are touring. Speed metal or death metal? Not so many, in fact, I can't recall a single speed or death metal band playing it's original song set to a crowd of 40-50 year olds (or any age group). Then again, your definition of speed or death metal may be significantly different than mine.

    And truth be told, even in the "Heavy Metal" segment, many of those that are currently doing reunion tours sound more pop than metal compared to today's music (KISS, for one). If you really start comparing the currently touring bands of yesterday's noise, you'll find that those that are touring shockingly turn out to have melodies in them! Distinguishable melodies, and unique sounds. You can pretty much ID a Judas Priest, ACDC, Scorpions, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Metallica, or Megadeath song in seconds, if you are familiar with their works of course. Oh, and their concerts aren't filled with just 40-50 year olds. Shockingly, a large group of teens and 20-somethings appear to have "discovered" these bands.

    Compare that with some of today's tripe (yes, that's leading). There's a group of bands I can't tell apart unless I actually listen to the words and identify it by lyrics. I currently call them "Boy Bands with Guitars", in honor of those incredibly everlasting wunderkindren of yesteryears "Boy Bands", that will be as well-known and honored as Celine Dion in the coming years. This is for a genre that unfortunately has currently taken over airplay from my preferred musical artists. As for the Hip-Hop scene, what little I'm exposed to is either mind-numbingly uniform like club music, or mind-numbingly droll.

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