Skip to comments.The RIAA Loses Another File-Sharing Case
Posted on 04/11/2007 8:43:14 AM PDT by LibWhacker
A federal judge has dismissed Elektra v. Santangelo with prejudice, leaving the door open for defendant Patti Santangelo to recover attorneys' fees from the RIAA. Last month, Judge Colleen McMahon denied the RIAA's motion to dismiss the case without prejudice, ruling that the case should either be dismissed with prejudice or proceed to trial so that Santangelo could have a shot at being exonerated of the RIAA's accusations of file-sharing and copyright infringement.
A stipulation of discontinuance with prejudice was entered yesterday by both the plaintiffs and defendants, which means that Santangelo is the prevailing party and therefore eligible to file a motion to recover attorneys' fees. It is anticipated that the RIAA will strongly oppose any such award of fees, as they have in Capitol v. Foster.
Patti Santangelo was targeted by the RIAA in 2005 as part of its crackdown against suspected file-sharing. The divorced mother of five denied engaging in file sharing herself or having any knowledge of its happening in her house. The RIAA subsequently sued two of her children, Michelle and Robert, who were 15 and 11 years old when the alleged infringement took place.
The dismissal strikes another blow against the music industry's doctrine of secondary infringement. It's an argument that the record labels have consistently made in their lawsuits: if a defendant has "a reason to know" of any infringing activity, he or she should therefore be liable for any and all infringementeven if the defendant was not aware of it. So far, the courts have not found the argument convincing, which could lead to still more dismissals. Ruling in Capitol v. Foster, Judge Lee R. West called the record labels' secondary infringement claims "untested and marginal."
This is a scenario the RIAA has been anxious to avoid. Although the record industry has been eager to file lawsuits, it never wants to see the defendants exonerated, even when it's a clear case of mistaken identity. Instead, it would rather just quietly drop unwinnable cases and walk away, leaving defendants to deal with the legal bills from defending against a case that should never have been brought. For at least the second time, a judge has prevented the RIAA from doing exactly that. If the trend continues, the music industry's legal strategy could end up being far more expensive than it anticipated.
Sounds like this defendant got a fair shake from the judge.
RIAA’s strong-armed shakedowns may be falling apart — especially when they get hit with court costs for bringing their frivilous lawsuits.
The victims should also have the right to sue RIAA for malicious prosecution or some similar punitive action.
What RIAA is doing is not much different than what Nifong did to the Duke laCrosse players. They create lawsuits without sufficient evidence to prosecute.
Good. RIAA needs to keep on getting smacked in the courts. Suing kids, grannies, and even dead people is despicable. If RIAA wants to combat piracy, then it needs to look toward Red China.
Sure. They just bet that the Little People have no resources to fight them and will pay protection.
That is why, even though as a lifelong respecter of IP, I have no sympathy for the Phonograph Mafia. Death is too good for them, because they are predators..and a lot of the time they do not even treat their artists much better than their quarry.
Who would want to even illegally download the crap that’s coming out now days?
Music distribution is going through a major change. Trying to prevent the move by the old policy/money makers will eventually lose. This is an evolution... The same as when society moved from the farm to the cities, from horse & buggy to automobiles, from landlines to cellular, from television to internet. How information (and entertainment) is exchanged will always be changing. In the early days of records, the record industry tried to prevent radio stations from playing their records. It was because they wanted the sole market on how people heard their content. That failed then, and the RIAA will fail now... Cheers.
B’but those nasty little kids are preventing britney spears from buying the latest gulfstream. Alas, she has to fly last year’s model. All because of those nasty little file sharing kiddies out there.
Actually, it was the musicians' unions, who wanted to protect the jobs of their members in broadcasting.
If all you've ever heard was garbage, how would you know it was garbage?
The RIAA is just following the Tony Soprano extortion model.
Sue the people who you know can’t pay and then settle for a bit more than the victim can actually afford.
Talk about pirates, the RIAA is in the extortion and racketeering business. Pay me or I’ll beat you to death financially.
To a degree, yes...
IMHO, they’re also using SCO as their mentors...
That’s too funny...
...where can i get a copy? 8^)
This is a clear indication that the courts are being used for the RIAA's revenue weapon, and not for the cause of justice. I would hope that more judges begin to resent being thus used.
The RIAA are simply street thugs, extorting shakedown money from those who aren't likely to defend themselves.
I remember when I was a kid in the 50s and the first commercially available reel-to-reel tape recorders came out. The recording industry went bonkers and sued everyone in sight. They lost that one, too. I agree... They'll lose this in the end.
That is way too funny.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.