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RIAA Santangelo Case 'Settled In Principle' 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the mum's-the-word dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's long-running war against Patti Santangelo, her children, and even her children's schoolmates has been 'settled in principle,' with final settlement documents expected to be submitted by March 18th. Patti Santangelo is believed to be the first RIAA defendant to have made a motion to dismiss the RIAA's 'making available' complaint. The case first caught the attention of the Slashdot community back in 2005, when a transcript of Ms. Santangelo's first court appearance became available online. The case attracted national attention in December of 2005. According to the Associated Press report of the settlement, neither side was able to comment on the terms of the settlement."
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RIAA Santangelo Case 'Settled In Principle'

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  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @12:25PM (#27023257) Homepage Journal
    This was also the case that introduced me to Slashdot. One day I discovered that people on some crazy place called "Slashdot.org" were going nuts analyzing the transcript of Patti's court appearance. I couldn't understand what I was seeing. It looked like an online Talmudic debate. The people seemed a little like lawyers -- but they clearly were not lawyers -- and many of them seemed to be smarter than lawyers. So I asked a few people, and eventually found one -- my youngest son who is a techie -- who explained it to me.

    Since discovering Slashdot, my life hasn't quite been the same.
    • by areusche (1297613) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @12:42PM (#27023347)
      I'm sorry to hear that your marriage has suffered. It's been difficult finding a date personally. Hopefully I can find one of those many elusive slashdottettes that lurk around here.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @12:47PM (#27023369) Journal

      I have just two things to say (basically)

      1 - I have high hopes that the RIAA settles in such a way that it damages all their other cases, and Patti is both vindicated and compensated - even if we never known what that compensation was.

      2 - I wish that there were some way for Slashdot and readers were able to label NewYorkCountryLawyer's posts as a news service rather than just another post. Yes, I realize I can go and list all his posts, but I wish there were a way to quickly do so from the front page so that all users could easily benefit from this hugely beneficial information source. Lets not forget groklaw either.

      Many of us like to assume we know something about the law here. These two people (perhaps others) have done much to keep such discussions and news both current and held in a view that does not stray very far for very long from goodness. I believe that they have done more to educate the public than anyone else and their efforts deserve some recognition here.

      • I have just two things to say (basically)

        1 - I have high hopes that the RIAA settles in such a way that it damages all their other cases, and Patti is both vindicated and compensated - even if we never known what that compensation was.

        I doubt it - they probably will keep the settlement private; and since it was not decided at trial there is no impact on other cases.

      • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @01:23PM (#27023591) Homepage Journal

        I wish that there were some way for Slashdot and readers were able to label NewYorkCountryLawyer's posts as a news service rather than just another post. Yes, I realize I can go and list all his posts, but I wish there were a way to quickly do so from the front page so that all users could easily benefit from this hugely beneficial information source. Lets not forget groklaw either. Many of us like to assume we know something about the law here. These two people (perhaps others) have done much to keep such discussions and news both current and held in a view that does not stray very far for very long from goodness. I believe that they have done more to educate the public than anyone else and their efforts deserve some recognition here.

        Thank you very much, for your kind words, zappepcs, and especially for mentioning me in the same breath as PJ who is a real professional journalist; I am just an amateur.

        I would remind you that Groklaw's main feed is available on Slashdot as a "Slashbox"; I know because I (of course) subscribe to it.

        Also I recently figured out (I'm a little slow, sometimes, I know) how to find out the RSS Feed for my Submissions on Slashdot, so you can pop it into a feed reader, or "follow" me on Twitter. The feed is: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=rss&content_type=rss&fhfilter=%22author%3A+NewYorkCountryLawyer%22+submission&orderdir=DESC&orderby=createtime&color=black&duration=-1&startdate=&logtoken=912032%3A%3ADbgOV9ng3HbPRRrcloMyqC [slashdot.org]

        Thanks again.

      • I wish that there were some way for Slashdot and readers were able to label NewYorkCountryLawyer's posts as a news service

        When I have mod points and one of his posts is within my moderation window I tend to mod his posts +1 Informative - because they are!

      • What'll happen is there will be some Anonymous leaks that make it look like the RIAA actually won or at least make Patti look bad something like the McDonalds hot coffee leak case, but she wouldn't be able to defend herself with the truth because of gag orders.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Patoski (121455)

      This was also the case that introduced me to Slashdot. One day I discovered that people on some crazy place called "Slashdot.org" were going nuts analyzing the transcript of Patti's court appearance. I couldn't understand what I was seeing. It looked like an online Talmudic debate. The people seemed a little like lawyers -- but they clearly were not lawyers -- and many of them seemed to be smarter than lawyers. So I asked a few people, and eventually found one -- my youngest son who is a techie -- who explained it to me.

      Since discovering Slashdot, my life hasn't quite been the same.

      Thanks a bunch Ray. I know a lot of people here have the same warm feeling towards you. It's a great feeling knowing that there are others out there fighting for justice.

      It's also really pleasant to see a principled and eminently competent lawyer getting some exposure. Keep up the good fight!

    • by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @01:07PM (#27023491) Homepage

      Have you by chance ever been to kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org]?

      These days it's cesspit, but during its best days it was a site where users published long, well thought, and often technical articles about interesting subjects, some of which had effect beyond the website. For instance, Opennic (alternative root DNS servers) got started at an article on K5. Users submitted stories, and other users offered criticism during an editing period and collectively approved or rejected the story.

      See for example a few links in the hall of fame [maddash.org] to see what it used to be like.

      I'd really like to find another place like that, its degeneration was very unfortunate.

    • by Bysshe (1330263)
      Umm, you didn't specify if your life had improved or degraded. I will assume improved, afterall who wouldn't want to hang out with a bunch of nerds who all have an opinion [xkcd.com] but no credentials to fall back on.
      • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @02:06PM (#27023875) Homepage Journal

        Umm, you didn't specify if your life had improved or degraded.

        I didn't, did I?

        Hmmm... I guess I could argue either proposition.

        I will assume improved, afterall who wouldn't want to hang out with a bunch of nerds who all have an opinion but no credentials to fall back on.

        I, for one, welcome the opinions of my Nerd Overlords, especially those with no credentials. (Credentials, it seems to me, are an overpraised attribute. What matters is that the opinion be formed through rigorous reasoning, based on provable facts, advance human thought, and prove to be empirically infallible -- i.e., that it should be in agreement with mine.)

    • by rts008 (812749)

      ...my youngest son who is a techie -- who explained it to me.

      That explains your 'slash-fu' improving so quickly!

      I for one, am glad you crossed our path then. (hah! thought this was going to be another lame overlords post?)

      You should be nominated (along with PJ [Groklaw]) for the /. Hall of Fame....if we had one!

      The world needs more lawyers like you, successfully fighting on behalf of 'the common man' against the big corporations, getting word out to the masses, and just being an all around 'fine chap'.

      • You should be nominated (along with PJ [Groklaw]) for the /. Hall of Fame....if we had one!

        Thank you for your kind words!

        Technically, there is a Slashdot "Hall of Fame" [slashdot.org] and, I am honored to say, I am in it, being in 8th place on the list of "Most Active Submitters" (which is actually kind of a misnomer; it is based only on accepted submissions; rejected submissions aren't counted). What is even more gratifying, though, is the list of people who have named me as a "Friend" on Slashdot. The list is so long I can barely load the page. If and only if you are confident in the speed and power of your

        • by rts008 (812749)

          I stand corrected, and better informed...again!

          BTW: Congrat's, you've earned it.

          The 'friends' list (yes, i checked your link) is impressive, but hardly surprising. Just confirms what I said previously! :-)

        • here [slashdot.org]'s the URL.

          It says (Chrome):
          "This webpage is not available."
          "Error 2 (net::ERR_FAILED): Unknown error."

          Maybe your fans page has been Slashdotted?

          • It says (Chrome): "This webpage is not available." "Error 2 (net::ERR_FAILED): Unknown error."

            Don't say I didn't warn you. It's a very tough page to load. Over 1600 people there.

      • The world needs more lawyers like you, successfully fighting on behalf of 'the common man' against the big corporations, getting word out to the masses, and just being an all around 'fine chap'.

        OK, NYCL: He's been properly brainwashed. You may commence taking over the world now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          The world needs more lawyers like you, successfully fighting on behalf of 'the common man' against the big corporations, getting word out to the masses, and just being an all around 'fine chap'.

          OK, NYCL: He's been properly brainwashed. You may commence taking over the world now.

          Not until you come around as well. I am waiting until all pockets of resistance have been subdued.

    • by plaxion (98397)

      Since you discovered Slashdot, Slashdot hasn't been the same either... and I mean that in a good way.

      Thank you for your contributions. With you around, the signal to noise ratio is much more bearable.

    • The people seemed a little like lawyers -- but they clearly were not lawyers -- and many of them seemed to be smarter than lawyers.

      If I was smarter than a lawyer, where would I be? ... in a really huge house with the bazillions of dollars I'd be making doing something even more lucrative than law practice!

  • 3 stressful years (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @12:25PM (#27023259) Journal

    For 3 stressful years the RIAA was able to hold this citizen in fear.

    Such extortionate practices should not be allowed.

    • Correction: It's been almost 4 years since RIAA first sent the "Pay $5000 or else" extortion letter. Tyrants.

    • For 3 stressful years the RIAA was able to hold this citizen in fear.

      Such extortionate practices should not be allowed.

      Which is why we few honest citizens left, should do the following. 1) Start a petition 2) Go after the RIAA family members 3) Hold said family members for ransom, and explain that if the RIAA does not step down from all cases and disband, then we will start chopping off parts of the people til each person is unable to survive. 4) If the RIAA does not back down because of a few dead bodies, then we will up the ante. We will start on a much more massive scale, kiddnapping, extortion, more chopping off of bo

    • Though interestingly enough this does set a precedent, even if not a legal one... Sure, sue me. But I will fight tooth and nail until you are forced to secretly settle with me. I'll quite happily keep silent about how much I'm getting, as long as its plenty...

      (Disclaimer: I live in a country without a working legal system or an independant judicial system so anything I say on a legal matter may have no meaning)

    • by 1,$d (635533)
      "Such extortionate practices should not be allowed."

      Such extortionate practices should be punished. Disallowing future misdeeds isn't good enough. The RIAA should be (legally) punished for bad behavior. Otherwise there's no real incentive for organizations like that to stop.

  • Probably a "Wash" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by resistant (221968)

    Without knowing the details of the settlement, I suspect the RIAA agreed to drop the entire case, in return for silence on the subject and a non-binding secret precedent. Ms. Santangelo and her family are doubtless by now dreadfully tired of the entire mess and anxious to see it go away, and the RIAA is doubtless in a thug lawyerish way dreadfully tired of the entire mess by now and anxious to sweep it under the rug, leaving them with freedom to continue their other cases without an embarrassing public prec

    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @01:06PM (#27023489) Journal

      So when an org. with a testosterone plasma cannon has to "settle and go secret", they are probably 3/4 in the wrong and only using bully powers to silence her.

      The solution is to publish using the glorious powers of the net encrypted synergistic simultaneous codexes against every single unreleased act they have which, when joined against the innocent song lyrics of the nicely broadcast music, tells the whole story in subtitles on every retail demo tv in the world.

      Oh, Hi Echelon. You're a nice little compy. But Slashdot has prior art.

    • by belmolis (702863)

      a non-binding secret precedent.

      Trial court decisions and settlements are never binding on anyone else anyhow. The principle is that decisions of a higher court are binding on the lower courts within its jurisdiction. If, for example, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issues an opinion, that opinion is binding on the federal trial courts within the 2nd Circuit, but not elsewhere. Since a trial court has no lower courts within its jurisdiction, its decisions are binding only on the parties to the pa

    • She probably got something money wise, which will be cutoff if she talks about the case publicly.

  • What does settled in principle mean?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What does settled in principle mean?

      They've agreed on basically what the settlement terms will be but havent formally committed themselves through a binding set of words.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      What does settled in principle mean?

      It means that no principles were involved.

  • Time to stop RIAA corporate conglomerate racketeering. There misuse of legal systems and there use of gangster like methods has completely gone wild. It can't be accepted anymore in a democratic society. Corporations are not higher ranked entities, we citizen must act.
    • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @02:03PM (#27023861) Homepage Journal

      Time to stop RIAA corporate conglomerate racketeering. There misuse of legal systems and there use of gangster like methods has completely gone wild. It can't be accepted anymore in a democratic society. Corporations are not higher ranked entities, we citizen must act.

      Yes, corporations are higher ranked entities here in the land of the free.

      As long as we have a system where politicians are allowed to receive money from corporations, the politicians will, of course, pass laws favoring their campaign contributors.

      And, as long as we have a system where corporations are given all the rights of, but not all the duties of a citizen, the individual will always have to fight a pitched fight.

      One day, the average American will figure out that if he doesn't want to give power to the government because a government might not have your best interest at heart, the alternative is invariably that corporations seize the power, and corporations will never have your best interest at heart.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        As long as we have a system where politicians are allowed to receive money from corporations, the politicians will, of course, pass laws favoring their campaign contributors. And, as long as we have a system where corporations are given all the rights of, but not all the duties of a citizen, the individual will always have to fight a pitched fight. One day, the average American will figure out that if he doesn't want to give power to the government because a government might not have your best interest at heart, the alternative is invariably that corporations seize the power, and corporations will never have your best interest at heart.

        Brilliant comment, arth_1. Hope you get modded to +5 for that insight.

      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        As long as we have a system where politicians are allowed to receive money from corporations, the politicians will, of course, pass laws favoring their campaign contributors.

        Amen. Private contributions to individual politicians are bad - many other countries have realized that a long time ago (genereally it's called bribery.) Such money needs to be funneled through an organization that spreads the money equally between candidates, typically the party.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @01:50PM (#27023759)
    Confidential settlements should be illegal - entirely! The courts are a public institution and once you drag people into them it affects the public. The public deserves to know who won and who lost here - and in all such cases!
    • the whole point in keeping the settlement private is so that others can't drag it into other cases and point to whats been agreed before. i don't think actually banning such orders is productive, since they would simply be replaced with agreements similar in effect, which could be harder to regulate. i do think there may well be a 'leak' here though, and i can guess which side it will come from
      • by wfstanle (1188751)

        You just have to phrase the prohibition so that there is no way around it. As for as setting a precedent, that is a not argument. As far as I know, settlements do not create a judicial precedent.

      • by sjames (1099)

        the whole point in keeping the settlement private is so that others can't drag it into other cases and point to whats been agreed before.

        Sure, but that's not the court's problem. If you don't want the public to see your dirty laundry, then don't air it in a public place (such as a courtroom).

        In this case, where the RIAA has many cookie cutter suits going and threatens many more, it is very much in the public interest that any weaknesses be exposed. If for no other reason, so that the courts need not waste more of the public's money re-inventing the wheel dozens of times over.

  • I'm tired of settlements where one or both parties agree not to talk about the case. I'm especially tired where only one side is prevented from speaking out after the case is over. What usually happens is that the side that can still speak out then spins a story about the case to the public and the other side is prevented from replying. At the very least, since all court documents are presumably public records, the judge should not be allowed to seal the court documents. I'm not talking about criminal c

  • Is anybody else tired of following highly public legal cases for several years, only to have them end in secret settlements? Highly litigious entities like the RIAA have full access to their own records of how they settled past lawsuits, but their new opponents have no such information. This hardly seems fair. The outcomes of lawsuits become, in effect, laws we have to live by, and people have a right to know the law. I think there should be a threshold for lawsuits, maybe a certain amount of court time. If

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Is anybody else tired of following highly public legal cases for several years, only to have them end in secret settlements? Highly litigious entities like the RIAA have full access to their own records of how they settled past lawsuits, but their new opponents have no such information. This hardly seems fair. The outcomes of lawsuits become, in effect, laws we have to live by, and people have a right to know the law. I think there should be a threshold for lawsuits, maybe a certain amount of court time. If it takes longer, the outcome should be made public. After all, the public pays much of the actual costs of operating the court system. I think we're entitled to find out how these stories end.

      I agree. And I have no doubt that the RIAA uses its financial might to determine which settlements are confidential and which aren't. Those they want the public to see, are public. Those they want to keep confidential, are confidential. It's important information not only to the public, but also to the defendants in other cases, and lawyers representing them.

      But the thing is I can't imagine the law being changed. Our courts are overloaded. The courts need for cases to be settled. And some settlements just

      • Perhaps if we generated some likely compensation scenarios the RIAA would feel that they had to publish the real figures to offset the damage caused by rumour-mongering............... I heard, on good authority, that she was granted free music for life plus a CPI index linked annual pension of $150,000. Scchhh! You didn't hear it from me.
      • The courts are overloaded because the system is being abused. Until such time as the courts start acting in a decent way against those that are abusing the system the situation will continue to exist - to the benefit of the abusers.

        I vaguely recall that there was a concept of "justice" wrapped up in this..

        All IMHO, of course, IANAL..

        • The courts are overloaded because the system is being abused. Until such time as the courts start acting in a decent way against those that are abusing the system the situation will continue to exist - to the benefit of the abusers. I vaguely recall that there was a concept of "justice" wrapped up in this.. All IMHO, of course, IANAL..

          Well perhaps YANAL but YAR.

      • by autophile (640621)

        Isn't it true that a settlement introduces no new caselaw because, in effect, the case is cancelled? In which case the "outcome of the lawsuit" mentioned above does not become a "law we have to live by"?

      • by JohhnyTHM (799469)

        Those they want to keep confidential, are confidential.

        *cough*wikileaks*cough*

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