White Plains Teen Sues Record Companies for Collusion

We reported in 2005 on the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) lawsuit against Patricia Santangelo and her suit in response to the trade group's allegations that she had participated in peer-to-peer file sharing. The record companies dropped their legal actions against Ms. Santangelo in December 2006, instead deciding to charge two of her children, Robert (16) and Michelle (20), with downloading songs from Kazaa.

On January 30, Robert Santangelo and attorney Jordan Glass filed 32 defenses against five labels, counter-claiming that the suits damaged Santangelo's reputation, distracted him from his schoolwork, and impose a financial burden. Santangelo denies that he shared copyrighted material with others, claiming that the music detected on his computer was ripped from his sister's purchased CDs. He also claims that the record companies are engaged in a conspiracy to defraud US courts. Jordan Glass argues that the record labels, which are "ostensibly competitors," are actually "a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and public policy" when they jointly sue individuals. The filing calls the suits "extortionate threats . . . to force defendants to pay."

The RIAA's response was, "The record industry has suffered enormously because of piracy. That includes thousands of layoffs. We must protect our rights. Nothing in a filing full of recycled charges that have gone nowhere in the past changes that fact."

Note the language: "piracy." Yo ho ho.

Website www.webpronews.com calls the Santangelo suit "a pivotal case for the future of peer-to-peer networks, and definitely one worth keeping an eye on."