|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] The cost of Justice in the digital age.
|From owner-hangout-at-mrbrklyn.com Tue Dec 27 11:09:28 2005
Received: from www2.mrbrklyn.com (localhost [127.0.0.1])
by www2.mrbrklyn.com (8.13.1/8.13.1/SuSE Linux 0.7) with ESMTP id jBRG9QVk009084
for ; Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:09:28 -0500
Received: (from majordomo-at-localhost)
by www2.mrbrklyn.com (8.13.1/8.13.1/Submit) id jBRG9QOL009083
for hangout-outgoings; Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:09:26 -0500
X-Authentication-Warning: www2.mrbrklyn.com: majordomo set sender to owner-hangout-at-nylxs.com using -f
Received: from flatbush.mrbrklyn.com (flatbush.mrbrklyn.com [10.0.0.62])
by www2.mrbrklyn.com (8.13.1/8.13.1/SuSE Linux 0.7) with ESMTP id jBRG9OpX009079
for ; Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:09:26 -0500
Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] The cost of Justice in the digital age.
From: Ruben Safir
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:13:50 -0500
X-Mailer: Evolution 2.2.1
Mom Fights Downloading Suit on Her Own
By JIM FITZGERALD, Associated Press WriterSun Dec 25,10:33 AM ET
It was Easter Sunday, and Patricia Santangelo was in church with her
kids when she says the music recording industry peeked into her computer
and decided to take her to court.
Santangelo says she has never downloaded a single song on her computer,
but the industry didn't see it that way. The woman from Wappingers
Falls, about 80 miles north of New York City, is among the more than
16,000 people who have been sued for allegedly pirating music through
file-sharing computer networks.
"I assumed that when I explained to them who I was and that I wasn't a
computer downloader, it would just go away," she said in an interview.
"I didn't really understand what it all meant. But they just kept
insisting on a financial settlement."
The industry is demanding thousands of dollars to settle the case, but
Santangelo, unlike the 3,700 defendants who have already settled, says
she will stand on principle and fight the lawsuit.
"It's a moral issue," she said. "I can't sign something that says I
agree to stop doing something I never did."
If the downloading was done on her computer, Santangelo thinks it may
have been the work of a young friend of her children. Santangelo, 43,
has been described by a federal judge as "an Internet-illiterate parent,
who does not know Kazaa from kazoo, and who can barely retrieve her
email." Kazaa is the peer-to-peer software program used to share files.
The drain on her resources to fight the case â€” she's divorced, has five
children aged 7 to 19 and works as a property manager for a real estate
company â€” forced her this month to drop her lawyer and begin
"There was just no way I could continue on with a lawyer," she said.
"I'm out $24,000 and we haven't even gone to trial."
So on Thursday she was all alone at the defense table before federal
Magistrate Judge Mark Fox in White Plains, looking a little nervous and
replying simply, "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" to his questions about
scheduling and exchange of evidence.
She did not look like someone who would have downloaded songs like
Incubus' "Nowhere Fast," Godsmack's "Whatever" and Third Eye Blind's
"Semi-Charmed Life," all of which were allegedly found on her computer.
Her former lawyer, Ray Beckerman, says Santangelo doesn't really need
"I'm sure she's going to win," he said. "I don't see how they could win.
They have no case. They have no evidence she ever did anything. They
don't know how the files appeared on her computer or who put them
Jenni Engebretsen, spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of
America, the coalition of music companies that is pressing the lawsuits,
would not comment specifically on Santangelo's case.
"Our goal with all these anti-piracy efforts is to protect the ability
of the recording industry to invest in new bands and new music and give
legal online services a chance to flourish," she said. "The illegal
downloading of music is just as wrong as shoplifting from a local record
The David-and-Goliath nature of the case has attracted considerable
attention in the Internet community. To those who defend the right to
such "peer-to-peer" networks and criticize the RIAA's tactics,
Santangelo is a hero.
Jon Newton, founder of an Internet site critical of the record
companies, said by e-mail that with all the settlements, "The impression
created is all these people have been successfully prosecuted for some
as-yet undefined 'crime'. And yet not one of them has so far appeared in
a court or before a judge. ... She's doing it alone. She's a courageous
woman to be taking on the multibillion-dollar music industry."
Santangelo said her biggest issue is with Kazaa for allowing children to
download music without parental permission. "I should have gotten at
least an e-mail or something notifying me," she said. Telephone and
e-mail messages seeking comment from the Australia-based owner of Kazaa,
Sharman Networks Ltd., were not returned.
Because some cases are settled just before a trial and because it would
be months before Santangelo's got that far, it's impossible to predict
whether she might be the first to go to trial over music downloading.
But she vows that she's in the fight to stay.
"People say to me, `You're crazy. Why don't you just settle?' I could
probably get out of the whole thing if I paid maybe $3,500 and signed
their little document. But I won't do that."
Her travail started when the record companies used an investigator to go
online and search for copyrighted recordings being made available by
individuals. The investigator allegedly found hundreds on her computer
on April 11, 2004. Months later, there was a phone call from the
industry's "settlement center," demanding about $7,500 "to keep me from
being named in a lawsuit," Santangelo said.
Santangelo and Beckerman were confident they would win a motion to
dismiss the case, but Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that the record
companies had enough of a case to go forward. She said the issue was
whether "an Internet-illiterate parent" could be held liable for her
Santangelo says she's learned a lot about computers in the past year.
"I read some of these blogs and they say, `Why didn't this woman have a
firewall?' she said. "Well, I have a firewall now. I have a ton of
On the Net:
Recording Industry Association of America: http://www.riaa.com
Defense lawyers' blog on RIAA cases:
Site focusing on peer-to-peer issues: http://p2pnet.net