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Patti Santangelo v. RIAA May Be Over

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the keep-the-faith-kids dept.

Music 138

newtley writes "Odds are that Patti Santangelo, the RIAA case defendant and New York mother who has made a determined stand against the Big 4, may have won her battle to clear her name. She and her lawyer, Jordan Glass, have signed and submitted a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice the case lodged against her by the RIAA. US federal district court judge Colleen McMahon's language had earlier seemed to indicate it was time to end the farce, and the court had the power to entertain a motion for legal fees. Unfortunately, her two children are still 'in the line of fire' in the court room."

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Upon learning of this (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18657403)

She began singing "Ding dong, the witch is dead" which lead to the RIAA suing her again for a public performance of the song.

Re:Upon learning of this (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657671)

BMI et al. would prosecute public performances, not the RIAA.

Re:Upon learning of this (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18657753)

Dude, this is Slashdot - stop being knowledgeable.

Re:Upon learning of this (5, Insightful)

joe_adk (589355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658789)

BMI et al. is behind the first case. These cases wont go away until we start identifying them with the parent company, and not the RIAA. They already laughed off being named "Worst Company In America 2007." Being hated and feared is heir plan. This way the record companies can hide behind their little monster and not get the bad publicity. I wish slashdot and other sites would stop posting about the RIAA and start posting about the parent companies. This article should be "Patti Santangelo v. Elektra Entertainment Group, Virgin Records America, UMG Recordings, BMG Music and Sony BMG Music Entertainment May Be Over."

I guess we could shorten the company names for readability.

ASCAP/BMI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18659867)

I think you may be confusing BMI with BMG.

Re:ASCAP/BMI (1)

joe_adk (589355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660575)

You are correct sir! The rest of the post still stands though.

Re:Upon learning of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18659903)

I guess we could shorten the company names for readability.

Would "Parasitic Buttfucking Savages, Inc." be short enough for you?

Re:Upon learning of this (3, Interesting)

shark72 (702619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660155)

"BMI et al. is behind the first case. These cases wont go away until we start identifying them with the parent company, and not the RIAA."

BMI is a performance rights society. Like ASCAP, they are run by and for songwriters, composers, and publishers. They are not a record company, and were not "behind" the RIAA suit by any stretch. Thus, the GP's joke about BMI going after her for singing "Ding, Dong...": if you want to perform a songwriter's work, you pay the songwriter by licensing it through BMI/ASCAP; you don't pay the record company.

BMI/ASCAP and the RIAA look after different people. BMI/ASCAP represent the artists; the RIAA represents the record companies.

Nota bene that BMI/ASCAP are normally the "good guys" while the record labels are the "bad guys." But, this changes whenever people get wind of BMI/ASCAP shaking down a bar or restaurant owner who neglects to buy a performance license. It seems that we're okay with artists having rights; we just don't want artists to exercise those rights.

Re:Upon learning of this (0, Offtopic)

Daedone (981031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660543)

Am I the only one that thinks ASCAP could be used interchangably as a synonym for Asshat?

Another acronym for them. (1)

rdebath (884132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661139)

Lets see

Elektra Entertainment Group
Virgin Records America
UMG Recordings
BMG Music
Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Thats "E", "V", "U", "B" and "S"

ummm how about V.U.B.E.S ?

Short and sweet <VBG>

It's a blob of white goo. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658723)

We don't claim Interactive EasyFlow is good for anything -- if you
think it is, great, but it's up to you to decide. If Interactive EasyFlow
doesn't work: tough. If you lose a million because Interactive EasyFlow
messes up, it's you that's out the million, not us. If you don't like this
disclaimer: tough. We reserve the right to do the absolute minimum provided
by law, up to and including nothing.
                This is basically the same disclaimer that comes with all software
packages, but ours is in plain English and theirs is in legalese.
                We didn't really want to include any disclaimer at all, but our
lawyers insisted. We tried to ignore them but they threatened us with the
attack shark at which point we relented.
                                -- Haven Tree Software Limited, "Interactive EasyFlow"

Re:Upon learning of this (0, Redundant)

ericdano (113424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660115)

Upon which she was slapped another lawsuit for not giving the copyright hold royalities for a public performance of the song.

Frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18657409)

GNAA trolls you!

Attn. Slashdot: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18657411)

Q: Why does 'Open Source' software suck so bad?
A: Because the programmers can't see the screen [ukdirtypanties.com]

lol

Typical Linux User. [ukdirtypanties.com]

P.S. You are invited to take a drink from my Frosty Piss [slashdot.org]

With hope (5, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657445)

With hope, this will be the beginning of a trend, especially if this case can be used as precedent against the RIAA on other cases. The RIAA will hopefully realize that it is time to stop bringing frivilous lawsuits with shoddy evidence against the public. One can hope anyway...

Re:With hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658097)

(Score:4, Funny)

See what people think of that idea? That's almost as funny as saying 9/11 was an inside job.

Re:With hope (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658289)

Well, in light of the RIAA's lobbying efforts to get laws passed to exclude them from following the same laws as everyone else, I guess it is sadly kinda funny... regardless of whether this should be a learning experience for the RIAA or not. I guess it will all be a matter of how the other cases they look like they are going to lose proceed, combined with whether or not their lobbying efforts come to fruition. Time will tell.

Re:With hope (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659593)

I don't care if the RIAA learns anything at all. What matters is what we learn as voters when we decide how much authority to hand out to the politicians. If we don't change, don't expect them to. They will always do what they can get away with. That's just nature, and nobody is going to change that. If we want them to behave, we have to reign them in. Nobody will do it for us. If this is to become a real election issue about one's right to live free from harassment, then change will be swift and sure. However, between now and election time there will be plenty of distractions thrown our way, and chances are they will accomplish their intended goal, and all this will all be forgotten as the "terror" alerts fire off and the next Harry Potter movie comes out. On the other hand, like you, for some reason, I have hope also. We aren't dead yet.

Re:With hope (2, Funny)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659071)

(Score: 4, Funny)

The RIAA has modpoints?

Woohoo! (4, Funny)

priestx (822223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657525)

i had a dream that the RIAA busted into the shower cause i was singing too loud

Meme granted (1)

merikari (205531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658085)

No one can hear you shower ...in space [slashdot.org]

Re:Woohoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658193)

I have a dream of professional hitmen being hired to eliminate RIAA executives, RIAA lawyers, etc. Wait, did I say have...oh, I meant had.

Re:Woohoo! (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659619)

I have a dream of professional hitmen being hired to eliminate RIAA executives, RIAA lawyers, etc.


To paraphrase one of the great philosophers [blackjackinc.com] of the 21st Century...

I have a dream. And in it, something eats the RIAA's executives and lawyers.

Hey. (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657537)

Where's the NewYorkCountryLawyer when you need him.

Re:Hey. (4, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658635)

If he's a lawyer, just put a $100 bill, a bottle of good scotch, and some crocodile tears and he'll come a' runnin'.

Just kidding, he's good people. You can catch plenty of ambulance chasers that way, though.

Re:Hey. (2, Funny)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662043)

You can catch plenty of ambulance chasers that way, though.

Or just use an ambulance. Might be a tad easier.

Re:Hey. (5, Funny)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659553)

I'm right here.

The signifigance of this case is overblown. (5, Informative)

bhuga (1061382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657539)

While this case is important, it has little to do with a standard RIAA case. She's probably going to get attorney's fees not because of the merits of her case in particular, but because the RIAA did not drop the lawsuit against her after it was made rather clear that her children were the more likely culprits, which the judge considered harassment (my words; read the motions/rulings). The motions for attorney's fees are quite clear on this.

That being said, there are some significantly more important cases going on for the likes of the everyday file sharer. In particular, Ray Beckerman finally managed to depose the RIAA's expert witness in UMG vs Lindor, and, while not absolutely crushing him, showed him to be a very poor witness on which to build an airtight case. The outcome of that case could have a huge impact on how these cases are done in the future. A disastrous result for UMG might well discourage further lawsuits. Before you get excited, though, that case is months from being solved.

In addition, there are some other cases going in which the defendants might get fees on their own merits, but they need some time to resolve. It's amazing, but these cases are the first ones that might actually go to a trial.

Beckerman's blog, which is great reading for those interested in this stuff, is http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Bhuga

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (3, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657821)

Well, the danger for the RIAA is that this sets precedents not that stop them from pursuing their current path, but that it makes that path more statistically more expensive to follow. If they can expect to be successfully counter sued a given (even small)percentage of the time based on blind accusations, not only does that make their strategy more expensive in all likelyhood, it also spreads less fear.

It's like a despot who makes money by demanding it of his neighbors, otherwise he sends his slaves off to explode in their town centers. If his neighbors learn that it is possible to identify and send these slaves back home before they explode in some cases (but not always), then this despot's income and power mechanisms are potentially at risk. His neighbors may in fact be able to join together at this point and find more ways of stopping him. That, and the rich nobles (Sir Sony, Sir BMG, et al) who finance this horrible dictator may finally realize the problems of spending so much money on propping up such a horrible dictator just to maintain the value of their positions, as their own bombs start to blow up in their own faces.

Ryan Fenton

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658119)

This will be cited by defendant's lawyers as yet another example of the RIAA pursuing a case it knew to be frivolous, and then withdrawing it before having to go to trial. I am not aware of a single case they have taken to trial.

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (2, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657829)

While it might not help set legal precident, it might make the RIAA more cautious in the future on who it goes after and continues to go after, which is still a plus.

Why they continued pursuing this case after finding out her children were the more likely culprits I can only imagine; they should have realized this case would not go their way after that but instead they kept trying. Maybe they thought they could still win? Or maybe they felt pulling out would be even worse? I can only speculate.

Regardless, if this makes their legal team second guess some of the very questionable cases, it might end up being a good thing.

anyway, who are you to diminish another round of slashdot RIAA bashing? :)

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658081)

They knew they had no case against her. They always knew it. Their game is not law, it's extortion.

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659171)

And if the courts were run the way the lawyers say the courts are run, then the lawyers for the RIAA would be disbarred. But then the rules are never applied as written. According to the rules, soccer and basketball are both non-contact sports...

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659365)

soccer is a contact sport. The rules permit contact if you play the ball before you make contact with the player and also contact shoulder-to-shoulder is allowed.

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (1)

sjamisoRC (998351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662639)

Extortion and fear.
Most people live on the edge of their finical means.
The RIAA is counting on most people being afraid that a lengthy legal battle would bankrupt them.

Their whole strategy depends on that fundamental assumption.

-Shawn J>

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659585)

I disagree with the part about "not absolutely crushing him".

His testimony is now inadmissible in court.

How much more "crushed" can you get?

I don't take credit for the crushing; his own carelessness and lack of integrity is what crushed him.

He's a fake.

Re:The signifigance of this case is overblown. (1)

theckhd (953212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662127)

His testimony is now inadmissible in court.

Wow, I read most of the testimony when it was posted on /., but I must have missed that part. How did that come about? Did the judge decide that based on his testimony he wasn't an expert at all, or that his methods were so shoddy that his testimony was irrelevant?

I would imagine that discrediting expert witnesses is a common tactic in the courtroom, but how common is it for that tactic to succeed, at least to the level that testimony becomes inadmissible?

Also, does this invalidate his testimony only for that trial, or is this something that can be brought up in future cases to invalidate his testimony there as well? Or is that something that each individual judge has to decide on a case-by-case basis?

A Stillborn Meme... (5, Funny)

mutube (981006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657577)

Patti Santangelo v. RIAA May Be Over ...in Space [slashdot.org] .

My work here is done.

Re:A Stillborn Meme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658461)

I'm going to support this meme in the hope that it may help erase the memories of that God-awful "in South Korea, only old people [insert punch-phrase]" meme.

Re:A Stillborn Meme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658521)

In South Korea, only old people are sued by the RIAA.

Re:A Stillborn Meme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18659369)

...in space

Re:A Stillborn Meme... (1)

micpp (818596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659731)

I for one welcome our new injoke overlords... in SPACE!

It's copying. It's not theft. (3, Interesting)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657677)

The Riaa makes the rules so they set the standards.

How would you like it if you weren't allowed to take photographs or pay HUGE fines?

How about going to the library and copying a magazine artice with the xerox?

The Riaa still has the original copies.

I know I will lose this one with all the software people on slash.

But it's NOT theft in any conventional meaning and saying so is lying. Pure spin by the Riaa and software copyright holders.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (-1, Flamebait)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657855)

As long as the legal copyright holders are legally entitled to payment for the right to a copy, and you make that copy without paying, it's theft. The meaning is clear. If you don't like that you need to change the copyright laws.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (2, Informative)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657917)

No it's copyright infringement not theft. That requires an intention to "permanently deprive", which given that the copyright holder still holds the copyright (the "property" that is owned) when an unauthorized copy is made, has not happened. The law in the U.K. is quite clear on the subject and I suspect that it will be in most other jurisdictions. Copyright infringement is not legally theft so don't refer to is as being so.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658515)

Not just legally, but also morally speaking, copyright infringement is nothing like theft. The very reason theft is wrong is that it deprives the victim of the stolen item, but that aspect is missing from copyright infringement.

If someone steals my car, I'm going to be upset because I don't have a car anymore. On the other hand, if he could "steal" a copy of my car, leaving the original untouched in my driveway, then why should I care? I have a car, he has a car too; we both win.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660163)

"we both win" ...at the expense of the car manufacturer.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660597)

"we both win" ...at the expense of the car manufacturer.
Maybe... maybe not. You're assuming that the "thief" would've bought his own car if he couldn't copy mine, but as we both know, cars cost a lot of money, and not everyone can just go buy one.

So it's more likely that there are two possible outcomes: (1) I keep my car, the copier gets a car, and the manufacturer only gets paid for one, or (2) I keep my car, the copier doesn't get a car, and the manufacturer only gets paid for one. The first outcome is obviously better for the copier and neutral for everyone else, and thus preferable overall.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661131)

Why is that *more* likely? Lots of people buy cars. If cars were free, it would impact sales but would the people who did all of the R&D needed to create the car be compensated?

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660181)

"On the other hand, if he could "steal" a copy of my car, leaving the original untouched in my driveway, then why should I care? I have a car, he has a car too; we both win."

When people make the "copyright enforcement is theft" argument they are not stating that it is theft from the torrent seeder, but the holder of the copyright. Of course you don't care if your neighbor copies your car, or your collection of music, or what have you. You're not analogous to the copyright holder; the car manufacturer is. When the day comes that people can BT each other's cars, the auto industry will be right properly fucked.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (3, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660579)

When people make the "copyright enforcement is theft" argument they are not stating that it is theft from the torrent seeder, but the holder of the copyright.
It still isn't theft, because no one, not the seeder nor the copyright holder, is deprived of the thing that you download. After you download a song, everyone involved still has everything they did before you downloaded it.

You're not analogous to the copyright holder; the car manufacturer is. When the day comes that people can BT each other's cars, the auto industry will be right properly fucked.
Not really, they'll just have to change their business model from manufacturing to providing a service - just like musicians are going to have to do.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662449)

It still isn't theft, because no one, not the seeder nor the copyright holder, is deprived of the thing that you download. After you download a song, everyone involved still has everything they did before you downloaded it.
Are you even aware of the purpose of copyrights? When you download a song from your favorite P2P network, you have deprived the copyright holder of their right to control distribution of their work. I certainly don't agree with the music labels and their raping of the fair use doctrine, but blatant inaccuracies like this are of no help.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662495)

*** It still isn't theft, because no one, not the seeder nor the copyright holder, is deprived of the thing that you download. After you download a song, everyone involved still has everything they did before you downloaded it. ***

are you really THAT stupid?

Let's do some step-by-step with the music-downloader-retard-OP:

1) I purchase a CD
2) I rip the CD to MP3 to play the songs in my MP3 player (not illegal under the Fair Use clauses)
3) I then decide to share one of those MP3s with you (regardless on the method of sharing). Unless you own the original CD/tape/record/some other form of rights, THIS IS ILLEGAL.

What part of #3 don't you get?

So, now, music downloaders try and brush it off by saying "well, I don't want to spend $16 for a CD if I don't know if I'm going to like it..."...bullshit....You hear songs on the radio, MTV, VH1, whatever. You can listen to your friend's MP3 player. Can listen to his stereo. If you don't own a license to the song, and you download it from the internet, you are technically depriving the licensor of said song the moneys that would have been gained by purchasing the CD (or song if done via ITMS, etc).

Please, don't give us your justification for owning 10000 songs that you never purchased rights to to go along with the 20 CDs you did buy, then got mad at having to pay $16 for.

If people stop buying CDs, the prices will go down...it's called supply-and-demand. Doing it illegally, though, doesn't help anyone one bit, except you cheap bastards who don't know shit.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (3, Insightful)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660615)

Anyone who has a basic understanding of logic and the english language can understand that copyright infringement and theft are 2 similar but different things. Obviously the original owner is not deprived of anything with the infringement but that is over simplifying it. Ecomonists would refer to the opportunity cost of infringement. Unrealized income is almost the same and having income stolen but once again, there is an important but slight difference.

The main reason that "infringement is the same as theft" arguement does not hold up very well is becuase you can't prove that there was an opportunity cost for the copyright holder. It is quite possible that the person who recieved the illegal copy was going to pay and now is not, but that is not always the case. Becuase it is very easy to acquire a lot of music for free many people's consumption of music goes up. People who might have owned only a dozen albums in the past may now own a few more. These people probably wouldn't have payed for the music or tried to get it unless it was free.

The RIAA is pushing too hard to convince people that every copied song is the same as theft, and the downloaders are trying to argue that every downloaded song probably wasn't money for them anyway. The truth is somewhere in the middle and sadly both sides end up wrong when they claim these extreme scenarios are 100% true.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (3, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660759)

Unrealized income is almost the same and having income stolen but once again, there is an important but slight difference. [...] The RIAA is pushing too hard to convince people that every copied song is the same as theft, and the downloaders are trying to argue that every downloaded song probably wasn't money for them anyway.
Not necessarily. In order for this to work as an argument against copying, you have to start with the premise that it's inherently wrong to prevent sales. But in fact, there are several other ways that potential future income can become "unrealized", and they aren't considered a problem.

For example, if you're a respected reviewer and you write a negative review of an album, it probably won't sell as many copies as if you had written a positive review. If your review influences 1000 people not to buy the album, that has exactly the same effect on sales as if you had shared the album online and 1000 people ended up getting it for free instead of buying it... in fact, it might have a worse effect, because in the latter case, all those people will still hear the album, and some might go on to buy a different one, a shirt, or a concert ticket.

So under the "opportunity cost" argument--I'm not sure if that term is being used correctly, but I'll go along with it--shouldn't reviewers be held responsible for everyone who fails to buy an album after reading their reviews?

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18657997)

No, it's not theft, and there is a legal precedence that backs this up. Stop spouting idiotic bullshit.

United States Copyright Law:
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#501 [copyright.gov]

 

[...]
  506. Criminal offenses

(a) Criminal Infringement. - Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either -
(1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
(2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000, shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.
[...]


Further, In Dowling v. United States (1985), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that copyright infringement does not "easily equate" to theft and unauthorized copies are not stolen property. Copyright infringement is not a property crime; in fact, copyright infringement is only rarely handled as a criminal matter.

Perhaps copying a single CD or DVD from a friend for personal use is immoral (debateable), but it's certainly not criminal. Equating it to stealing will not hold up in a court of law.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658327)

Well, can this be considered for private financial gain (through a large stretch of the imagination perhaps) since the "infringer" is not spending the money they "should have" to get the copyrighted recording? That is a financial gain, if only of a few bucks...

I'm not disagreeing with your interpretation, but that section (section 1) doesnt seem to have a dollar amount attached to the private financial gain aspect, nor does it seem to spell out what is considered private financial gain in that section, though it does for distribution. Just wondering if that would be a valid tactic to use to lump in any downloading without purchase as for "private financial gain".

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

the_greywolf (311406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660423)

I read it this way: Private financial gain in this case means that you are producing income from goods that are not within your rights to sell or manufacture. That is, there is an exchange of money involved in infringement under 506(a)1. Under 506(a)2, it's simply a case of reproduction of copyrighted materials with a total value in excess of $1,000. Though it's not clear if it means reproduction of at least one work to the value of $1,000 or the reproduction of at least $1,000 worth of works.

A valid tactic? (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660569)

I don't know if it's valid to claim that all copyright infringement involves financial gain because every infringement saves someone the cost of buying a non-infringing copy.
I do know that this tactic has actually been used, with some success. Why else ban one color copy of a page of a color photobook at Kinko's?

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

Frostalicious (657235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659263)

As long as the legal copyright holders are legally entitled to payment for the right to a copy, and you make that copy without paying, it's theft.

Welcome to the internet. Please read the FAQ before posting, so you don't start topics which have been covered ad absurdum like a billion times before.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659169)

It's close enough to theft for practical purposes. The essence of theft is depriving the legal owner of the benefits of possessing the item. The primary benefit of copyright ownership is the ability to control the distribution of copies and thus get paid for those copies. Copyright infringement, to one degree or another depending on the scale, deprives the copyright owner of the primary benefit of their ownership. In short, the work hasn't been stolen but the money that would be paid for copies of that work has, and that is theft.

Now, I don't agree with the RIAA's position either. There are certain rights of ownership of a copy of a work that go along with buying that copy. The RIAA wants to keep for itself not only the rights to the work but all the rights to those copies that would normally follow the copies, eg. the right to use a particular copy anywhere you want, or the right to sell it to someone else (where that sale doesn't involve making another copy, merely conveying the existing copy). That's not kosher either.

Both the RIAA and the "Copying stuff isn't theft!" sides need to grow up. They're both acting like spoiled 5-year-olds, and I find my self wishing for my Mom's solution to that: a good solid application of the lilac switch, and send both of 'em to their rooms until they decide they can play like civilized human beings.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18659777)

It's close enough to theft for practical purposes.

Well, aren't you just the lawyerly one -- "close enough for practical purposes", shit. Listen up, asshole, this is law, not woodshop.

Theft and copyright infringement are two distinct offenses. Only one is written in the charges. Which one do you think that would be?

If I slap you in the face (get your ass over here!!!), no one is going to go into court charging me wth attempted murder -- the charge will read "battery", no matter how loud you bleat to the contrary.

Grow fucking up and quit drinking the **AA Kool-Aid (tm).

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (2, Insightful)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659983)

In short, the work hasn't been stolen but the money that would be paid for copies of that work has, and that is theft.

No, the money hasn't been stolen. You can't show a change to your account as a result of copyright infringement. If you can't show a reduction of inventory or a change in account balances, how can there have been theft?

If something has been stolen from you, you can tell by looking at your stuff, counting it, and itemising the things missing. With copyright infringement you can't do this.

When absence is evidence (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660537)

Okay. You know there has been copyright infringement of work you own the copyright to. Your bank account has not changed because of this infringement. But your biz is to sell copies of that copyrighted material; therefore, if there had been no infringement, there probably would have been a change to that bank account--namely, more money rolling in from the copies that would've been bought and not, um, copied.
The big problem, if you are someone who believes in fighting copyright infringement, is that you can't prove the bank account should have changed. It may be true that the only things that were copied "improperly" were things that would never have actually been purchased or things that shouldn't have to be sold anyway.
It just doesn't seem likely.
Disclaimers: I have infringed copyright. Possibly within the last month.
I do not approve of the RIAA labels' methods of prosecuting people whom they claim infringed their copyrights.

Re:When absence is evidence (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660941)

The big problem, if you are someone who believes in fighting copyright infringement, is that you can't prove the bank account should have changed.

No, that's the big problem for people who want to convince everyone that copyright infringement is theft. For people who want to "fight" copyright infringement (perhaps you mean "enforce copyright law") the problem is to prove that there have been copies made illegally. You do not have to prove financial damage to prove copyright infringement. The real challenge is to prove copyright infringement without violating peoples rights, like the right to privacy.

Whether copyright should be called theft is a completely separate issue to whether it is wrong or how/if copyrights should be enforced.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661741)

It's close enough to theft for practical purposes. The essence of theft is depriving the legal owner of the benefits of possessing the item.


Which is why "property is theft" - any private property is depriving all other people of the benefits of the item in question. This is particularly true for items with a near-zero cost of reproduction. "Intellectual property" is stealing from the public.

The essential thing about this concept is not its objective validity, but that it is equally as valid as the RIAA's position. Both of them are kinda weak, but you can't reasonably admit one without admitting the possibility of the other.

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661393)

The Riaa still has the original copies...

But it's NOT theft
Some day in the hopefully-non-fictional future, people that start the annoying "it isn't theft if the other person still has their copy" debate will remember that they're wrong [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's copying. It's not theft. (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661553)

I don't get your point. Services are finite. When one uses services illegally, the supplier loses the cost of supplying said service, as well as the opportunity to sell the same service to another.

I don't see what this has to do with copying cds.

In Space... (-1, Redundant)

BlueCollarCamel (884092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657689)

Patti Santangelo v. RIAA May Be Over... in space! [slashdot.org]

This really means nothing (2, Interesting)

Oddster (628633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657705)

She and her lawyer, Jordan Glass, have signed and submitted a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice the case lodged against her by the RIAA

This means that her lawyer filed a motion to dismiss, which is a common practice. Federal judges often issue threats of sorts at parties which are dragging at the process, often ones for dismissal or default, which they are legally allowed to apply at their discretion in situations like this. So at minimum, the judge now has to decide whether to dismiss, the timetable of which is within her prejudice. If they lose, the RIAA will have 30 days to file notice of appeal. So this filing is complete non-news, because nothing outside of that docket has changed in this world as a result. Anybody not intimately familiar with the case and the judge's record who is trying to predict the the decision is completely off their rocker. Seriously, have Sundays become so bad around here that a sensationalist non-story from an overtly partisan website makes the front page?

---
Rabble rabble rabble

That word doesn't mean what ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18657777)

http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?selected=20 18&bold=stipulation [law.com] ||

A stipulation is an agreement between both sets of lawyers. The case is over except the part where the judge makes the RIAA pay all the legal fees.

Re:This really means nothing (3, Informative)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657903)

A stipulated motion to dismiss is one that both parties sign - it means the end of the case. If what was filed was a regular motion to dismiss that is a different matter.

Re:This really means nothing (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658057)

The article says it was a stipulation to dismiss, not a motion to dismiss. If it was a stipulation to dismiss, the judge will sign it and the case against Patti Santangelo will be closed.

Re:This really means nothing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658801)

Seriously, have Sundays become so bad around here that a sensationalist non-story from an overtly partisan website makes the front page?

You must be new here.

The fines (0)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657739)

Are absolutely ridiculous.

Fine them the cost of the product if the individual keeps the item.

How could you sue someone that exaggerated amount? The legal system has been blinded by the Riaa.

Re:The fines (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657929)

I dunno, maybe for the deterrent effect?

Re:The fines (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658143)


I dunno, maybe for the deterrent effect?


That worked well with Prohibition, didn't it? When enough people want to do something no law is going to stop them.
 

Re:The fines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658825)

Unfortunately, software piracy doesn't actually involve swarthy rapscallions swinging between chandeliers, swords clenched in teeth.

It's mostly fat guys.

Re:The fines (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660967)

So was prohibition, except it was fat guys with tommy guns. :)

Re:The fines (2, Interesting)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658177)

The deterrent effect is only part of the reason.

The other reason is that you'd have to reliably find and sue all infringers if you ever wanted to be paid.(Not that there's a whole lot of reliability with the RIAA's current methods)

Downloaders would never have a reason to purchase something outright if they only had to pay $.99 for every song downloaded IF they got caught AND successfully sued.

Re:The fines (4, Insightful)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658627)

How could you sue someone that exaggerated amount? The legal system has been blinded by the Riaa.
Unless I'm very much mistaken, you can sue someone for whatever amount you want. It's then up to you to *prove* that you deserve what you're asking for. This has nothing to do with any blindness on the part of the legal system. In many cases, the litigant may ask for a disproportionate level of restitution in order to scare the defendant into settling early and minimize the risk of severe financial damage. I'd say it's a fairly common tactic.

Re:The fines (1)

nosferatu1001 (264446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661775)

statutory damages

copyright infringement is one of the few civil cases where they the law as written means they do not have to show actual damages, rather can sue for an obscene amount PER SONG!

it's crazy, and deterrent effects are minmimal....

So, it is shameful, after all... (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657945)

New York mother who has made a determined stand against the Big 4, may have won her battle to clear her name.

I'd like to point attention to the words I emphasized above... Clear hear name of what? Is it, after all, a shameful act to infringe on somebody else's copyrights and to treat their creation in a way, they did not want it to be treated?

This woman, apparently, has not done it, so her name is clear. But the /. continues to pretend, there would've been nothing wrong in her actions, even if she has...

Her children, very likely, have done it, yet the same author, who slipped into admitting, there is something to clear one's name of here, is describing their fate ("in the line of fire") with puzzling sympathy...

Re:So, it is shameful, after all... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658465)

I'd like to point attention to the words I emphasized above... Clear hear name of what? Is it, after all, a shameful act to infringe on somebody else's copyrights and to treat their creation in a way, they did not want it to be treated?

Huh? What has "shamefulness" got to do with it? She was being sued. The court looks set to clear her of having committed a tort. That's a big deal to most people.

Her children, very likely, have done it

Wow. I'll be judge, I'll be jury said cunning old Mi. Where the hell did you get this from? Did she "very likely do it" until she had a chance to make her case?

Re:So, it is shameful, after all... (3, Interesting)

nevali (942731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658567)

It was very obvious from very early on that she hadn't infringed any of the copyrights they were talking about, and their 'expert' witness was the final nail in the coffin that was their case.

So, to answer your question, 'clear her name of being wrongfully accused of mass copyright infringement', which is a perfectly reasonable and proper thing for her to do.

The sympathy for the kids is largely based on the fact that the RIAA don't and haven't ever cared whether somebody is guilty of what they've been accused of. Pretty much everybody has downloaded /some/ music at one point in time, and the less savvy out there would likely get quite panicked about a legal-type letter from the RIAA offering them an (expensive) get-out. The RIAA casts the net wide with little regard to consequence and bargains on people rolling over and paying up, irrespective of what they should be. The RIAA _would_ get some sympathy if:

* They acted reasonably and properly
* They acted on behalf of the artists who got suckered into the retarded contracts they signed instead of the record companies themselves

The recording industry as it stands, with the aid of the RIAA, stinks to high heaven. Being sick to death of the RIAA's motives and methods, not to mention the wider industry's, the average Slashdotter's response is a simple 'Fuck'em'. They might win a civil suit, proving that somebody somewhere has infringed their copyrights, but they haven't yet--instead they rely on people not having the time, energy and money to fight them, which just makes a mockery of the legal processes put in place to protect the rights of those they claim to be representing.

(You'd find the same with SCO versus the world: even if SCO were by some miracle correct about any aspect of their case, no Slashdot reader would likely stand behind them because their tactics are so thoroughly lame).

RIAA have to stop if many put up some resistance (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18657957)

This is just an overall observation of the RIAA's/members strategy:

Sue and scare the filesharers *without* draining the RIAA finances with attorneys salaries. Basically beef up the legal department and keep it profitable.

With these marching orders, RIAA's chief counsel laid out the, now well known plan, to extort $3k-$4K with little effort, and use this revenue to fund the operation.

This plan has worked very well until now, but with a little resistance from the defendants it will fail, and it looks like that is finally happening.

The RIAA will therefore have to:
1. Stop suing file sharers
2. Find defendant with money that they can take to court and win >$100,000 from
3. Change strategy altogether (Watermarking, give up altogether etc.)

Re:RIAA have to stop if many put up some resistanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658377)

This plan has worked very well until now, but with a little resistance from the defendants it will fail, and it looks like that is finally happening.
Please find a way to be targeted with one of those lawsuits (ideally, wrongfully), then shell out the thousands of dollars needed to offer "resistance" against the RIAA's army of lawyers. I'm sure there's no reason why most people are settling for "just" 3-4000$ other than sheer laziness...

A question for any lawyers out there... (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18658073)

The RIAA (and the MPAA and the BSA and others too numerous to mention) are all equating copyright infringement not only with theft, but murder and mayhem by calling copyright infringers "pirates". The RIAA makes copyright infringement sound worse than eating babies. Real pirates kill people [nationmedia.com] .

To this layman it sounds like slander.

Can she sue for slander? If so, can she win?

Re:A question for any lawyers out there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658523)

Considering that one of the big bittorrent sites is called "The Pirate Bay," I think it's likely that the term has passed into common usage. More like "gay" than like "fag."

Truthiless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18659881)

So we just have to call RIAA and MPAA members for members of the mafia and it'll become true.

Re:A question for any lawyers out there... (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660149)

No, not really. If you actually look at the etymology of the word 'pirate,' you'll find that authors have been using it in this context for at least a century before copyright law even existed, which was back in the golden age of the 'arr matey' sort of pirates. If they had had to coin an equivalent word today, with the same emotional impact, it would probably be 'terrorists.'

Since they've been doing it for about 400 years, there's little chance of getting anywhere with complaints now.

Re:A question for any lawyers out there... (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660213)

"Can she sue for slander? If so, can she win?"

You could've saved yourself the trouble by typing "dict pirate" or "dict piracy" into your Firefox toolbar.

Odds are that your great, great, great grandparents were familiar with the multiple definitions of this homonym.

Re:A question for any lawyers out there... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662785)

Pirates was a self chosen word by the infringers going wayyyyy back.

First usage was in the 1600's but it was very popular in cracker/hacker culture in the 80's when I was a young pup "pirating" games for our network gaming group. (Usually one or two legit copies but we were so poor we could not afford it. Then the game companies got wise and started making network copies where you could get 2-4 playable copies as long as they could find a legit copy on the network- then we bought the games since we could afford them.)

Odds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658121)

Odds are that Patti Santangelo, the RIAA case defendant and New York mother who has made a determined stand against the Big 4, may have won her battle to clear her name.

That's strange. I would have thought that it's 100% certain that she may have won her battle.

Perhaps the writer thinks that she may loose.

RIAA safe artist list (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658163)

The american music industry has terrorized and pirated artist's creativity/music for long enough. Cut off their funding :

http://www.riaaradar.com/zeitgeist_topamazonsafe.a sp [riaaradar.com]

Re:RIAA safe artist list (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659235)

mod parent up, and distribute the url to your non-internet wielding friends, make a few printouts :)

bandwidth is near free and bands don't need the riaa cartel anymore. just telecom cartel. hopefully obama is going to be elected and jolt them good.

If I did business the way the RIAA does business.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18658239)

... I wouldn't be in business anymore.

As it should be...or not... (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#18659533)

One of the worst ways to do things is this "scatter gun prosecution" mode that the RIAA runs in. And the RIAA should check its facts before it goes after people without knowing with a reasonable certainty that they have the right party.

However, in this instance, there is something I don't understand. The basic argument seems to be that it was her children, and not her, that were sharing the songs, thus she shouldn't be the one that is sued.

But at the same time, in the US one is responsible for the actions of their children up to a certain age...so therefore, if her children were in fact sharing copyrighted material, (standard anti-RIAA arguments aside) why shouldn't she be sued? They are her children, and she should be aware of what they are doing online. Further, when she signed up for internet access from her provider, I'm sure she also agreed to the standard "what happens on your account is your responsibility, even if its someone else in your household" blurbs.

This is one of those cases where I can argue both sides are wrong, and both sides are right. And I really hate that when one side is the RIAA.

Re:As it should be...or not... (1)

candude43 (998769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18660899)

...
Further, when she signed up for internet access from her provider, I'm sure she also agreed to the standard "what happens on your account is your responsibility, even if its someone else in your household" blurbs.
...
That's a contract between her and her ISP. The RIAA isn't a party to that contract, and couldn't use it to make her responsible for someone else's use of the account. The ISP could, but not anyone else.

Question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662423)

If her kids did download music, illegally, why again isn't she responsible?

Much less, if by some facet of law she isn't responsible, why isn't she being a MOTHER and taking responsibility for her kids' actions?

God damn, if people in the fucking world would just take personal responsibility for their actions (and the actions they are responsible for), the world would be a better place.

If the kids did it, and mommy is shunning responsibility, time to make the kids pay.
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