Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Patricia Santangelo and Counsel Agree to Substitute Ms. Santangelo as Her Own Counsel

Patricia Santangelo and her lawyers, Beldock Levine & Hoffman, have agreed that Ms. Santangelo should be substituted into the case as her own lawyer, in Elektra v. Santangelo, and submitted a stipulation and proposed order to that effect to Judge Colleen McMahon, who on November 28th had denied Ms. Santangelo's motion to dismiss complaint. (See Motion to Dismiss Denied in Elektra v. Santangelo)

In his affidavit submitted with the stipulation and proposed order, Ray Beckerman, one of Ms. Santangelo's lawyers, said:


[I]t was jointly decided by defendant and by her counsel that it would be in defendant's best interests for defendant to be substituted as her own counsel, and to proceed pro se.
4. Additionally, (a) defendant does not appear to have the financial resources that would be required for the pretrial discovery, and summary judgment and/or trial work, that lay ahead, and (b) it is clear to the undersigned that the plaintiff's case is frivolous, so that it would be unwarranted for defendant to go to extraordinary means to finance her defense of this case.

Keywords: copyright download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaaradar

41 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Same question; I'd like to find out the ultimate result of this case. Hopefully you guys keep in touch with her and can keep making updates on what happens.

Anonymous said...

this is strange as of course she does not have enough money to afford expensive lawyers!

But I am surprised that do not do the work for free as if they won imagine all the work they would get!

However, I do think that a Jury may see this as a david v goliath situation and that it may help her - but we will see - I would like to know the reasoning behind the desicion but they won't tell us as it would breach their professional conduct rules!

Anonymous said...

By the way you realise that the last line says that the record companies don't have a case and that therefore trying to defend a case that is non existant is not worthit!

It seems to me that there are som games going on here but I am not quite sure what the idea is!

Anonymous said...

This doesn't exactly sound like what you said a month ago "We will fight to the end. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't take on something unless I am prepared to fight to the end. Also, anyone who knows me knows that the one thing I can't stand is a bully. The RIAA will give up long before we do, because sooner or later it will dawn upon them that their attorneys are taking them for a ride."

So if you feel the case is so airtight, are you abandoning Ms. Santangelo in order to save the RIAA money? I mean since you said she would get damages involving the RIAA paying her legal costs once she wins. I'd still like to believe in you, but the fish stinks at the head.

Anonymous said...

Can Miss Santangelo set herself up with a paypal account so that we could send her donations for her case?

Anonymous said...

So, does this mean that Beckerman has worked out a deal with the RIAA?

Few people had ever heard of your firm before this case, Mr. Beckerman. It seems like you just used Ms. Santangelo for free advertising and now you're throwing her to the wolves.

Anonymous said...

You have lost a lot respect by your "throwing your client to the wolves". As someone else stated. There are other options - for example, I would be very willing to contribute to defence fund for this woman, she must know she is not alone.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't plan to shoulder the burden of this case, you shouldn't have taken it.

Lawyers suck.

Ray Beckerman said...

Just to clarify some facts:

1. It was a mutual decision between Ms. Santangelo and myself.

2. It is not a done deal unless and until the judge "so orders" the stipulation.

Anonymous said...

You have been bought off, haven't you? They Got To You and now you are cowering. Just like a lawyer, you can tell they are full of it because their mouths are moving.

Anonymous said...

I believe you're missing the point.

It was a 'mutual decision' most likely because she doesn't have any option except to go into debt to pay you.

Are you saying that she wouldn't want your pro bono services? That she'd prefer to represent herself if finances weren't an issue.

Don't you see that weight of public opinion is totally against you thus far? You wanted the publicity and now you have it, but you can't control publicity at a certain point.

This is just starting to hit the blogosphere and it's going to be ugly for you - and that's fair given your decision. It seems greedy and cruel. You should consider just biting the bullet and standing up for principle, not money. Even if your only concern is self interest, the benefits of that for you are far greater than the harm to your reputation by the worldwide public cyber flogging you're about to recieve. Not to mention, it's good karma.

DAVE RACINE WI said...

I CAN UNDERSTAND THE LAW FIRMS SIDE BECAUSE OF WHAT IT COST ME TO FIGHT 6200.00 JUST FOR PRE TRIAL DISCOVERY BECAUSE I NEVER OPERATED AN ONLINE MEDIA SYSTEM. THE RESULT WAS A SUMMONS SERVED ON MY 15 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER SO WE ARE NOW BEING SUED TOGETHER AND GET TO GO THROUGH DISCOVERY TOGETHER. WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY THE RIAA HAS COME UP WITH TO BOND WITH YOUR CHILD. I THINK A JURY WILL SEE MS SANANGEGLO IS A VICTIM OF THE MUSIC MAFIA AND SHUT THIS MONEYMAKER DOWN.

Anonymous said...

Typical lawyers. Make a big show of how magnanimous you are and then cut and run with your tail between your legs. Cowards. Your firm is apparently populated by a bunch of scumbags and you deserve whatever misfortune comes to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You had a chance to make history and lead the charge against the RIAA and their strong arm tactics! You could have made a difference in a postive way and helped someone out as well.

Too bad you decided to let money decide what was best.

Anonymous said...

Ray I think many readers of your blog, myself included, thought you would represent her pro bono. I don't understand why you cannot do this - I mean this could go to the supreme court, you'll be famous!

This is a sad day. I really don't think her chances are good if she represents herself. The RIAA scumbags will run rings around her.

Emil

Anonymous said...

Way to get loads of free publicity and then dump this poor lady. Why in the world did you not agree to take the case pro bono? Afraid you would lose?

Anonymous said...

Proof positive that lawyers are money-hungry scum.

I've got loads of money and am very tempted to drop private investigators on your team of lawyers. Find out who's cheating on their wives and what other unscrupulous activities you may be up to (i.e. being paid off by the RIAA to drop the case).

Hope you guys have really, really deep pockets. You're not going to have a cent left when I'm through with you.

Anonymous said...

This now puts you in the same class as the RIAA. I hope Karma comes back to bite you in the...

Anonymous said...

I think this situation shows alot of what lawyers are really about " SHOW US THE MONEY"
What is read and brown and looks good on a laywer?
A Doberman pincher!!

Anonymous said...

"I hate the poor, the poor can't pay"

- Denny Crane

Anonymous said...

"I've got loads of money and am very tempted to drop private investigators on your team of lawyers. Find out who's cheating on their wives and what other unscrupulous activities you may be up to (i.e. being paid off by the RIAA to drop the case).

Hope you guys have really, really deep pockets. You're not going to have a cent left when I'm through with you.
# posted by Anonymous : 12:34 PM "

If you got tons of money why not help Ms. Santangelo. Do you really think this law firm, no matter how unethical they may be, really feels threaten by an anonymous person claiming to have money. Really.

As for this law firm. Way to go guys. You got alot of attention, but it just might backfire now.....

Anonymous said...

Will you continue to assist her behind the scenes, but just not sign the court documents?

I can see that as a strategy to get even more sympathy from the court.

Anonymous said...

I hate to see so many people come down on you, as up to now, you've been so supportive of Patricia. Please, talk to us, tell us if this is some form of strategy that you all came up with as a weapon against the riaa.

Anonymous said...

You got free publicity for promising to defend her, in a frivilous lawsuit (ie, one that you would almost certainly win).

But you drop out, anyway.

How much did the RIAA pay you?

Pig.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me this is a deliberate attempt to portray the RIAA as the big, bad villain in court against the poor, defenseless homemaker. I have to believe that they'll be giving her back-room guidance on what she should be doing. Since it sounds like this is a to be a jury trial, hope it gets decided on facts and not emotions. This doesn't sound like it's shaping up to be a precedent setting case.

Ray Beckerman said...

I'm sorry, folks, I cannot discuss internal conversations between Mrs. Santangelo and myself, so if you want to come to all kinds of conclusions, that is your prerogative.

But:

1. It was a mutual decision.

2. It is not a fait accomplis unless and until the judge signs the proposed order.

3. There is no basis whatsoever for your conclusions that Mrs. S. will lose without a lawyer. She did not infringe any copyrights and she will win the case, one way or the other.

Jessica said...

This appears to be a smart strategic move. With expensive discovery coming, not having the deep pockets necessary is a big advantage. It might even shift more of a burden onto the RIAA. I am also guessing that Ms. Santangelo will have wise "counsel" whispering in her ear.

Jonathan said...

I agree with the above comment -- given the "evidence" the RIAA has, representing herself pro se in front of a jury is probably Ms. Santangelo's best option in any case.

An awful lot of people are terrified of the law, lawyers and courtrooms, probably because they've heard legends and seen movies of lawyers spinning truth into lies, convincing juries that black is white, etc. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm willing to bet it doesn't usually happen that way.

If the RIAA hasn't got anything, chances are very good they're going to lose, no matter who they're up against and who they have on their side. Then Ms. Santangelo can retain a lawyer -- for navigating the complex web of filing a counter-suit. I'm willing to bet she'll have takers :)

Patti said...

I would like all bloggers to know that I appreciate your support very much. It was a joint decision that I respresent myself so stop blaming Mr. Beckerman he has been fighting a very good fight and I thank him for all he has done. Have a peaceful holiday.

zi said...
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Martin Osterman said...

Now, now, why don't all you anonymous attackers be reasonable for a second and stop sounding so high and mighty?

Do you have any idea what it costs sa a lawyer to go through with a trial? You have to pay money to the courts for documents filed, you have to pay professionals to collect evidence and information for you -- you even have to pay for your own costs during the trial. If you give someone a deposition, it costs money for the court reporter to come in and transcribe the deposition -- and good court reporters/transcriptionists can charge $75 - 100 per hour or more! You have costs to bring in professionals in the field, and their "consultation" fees can be quite high as well!

That covers the cost aspect. Now, for those of you upset that Beckerman is going to be substituted out, let me remind you that he likely will remain as her legal advisor. Yes, that's right. He just won't be able to make arguments for her -- that will be her job. He can still advise her on the law and suggest things, but it will be her decision what to do and how to do it.

So, before everyone starts denouncing Ray here, let's take a second and think about what's actually being said. if he could afford to do all these cases pro bono, I'm sure he'd do it in a heartbeat. But let's remember -- even lawyers have to eat!

--Martin Osterman

Chas said...

Is Ms Santangelo accepting donations to help defray her costs? I'd be interested in helping. chashollow@cox.net

Greg said...

I respect the fact that Ms. Santangelo and her legal team decided together that she defend her self.

It is about time that some one stood up to the RIAA. I also feel that if more have followed this path we would not be seeing the RIAA flinging their power around the way they have.

I will say one thing this is a lady has a lot of guts! And I respect her and will cheer her on to a win in this case. I would also like to know if their is a way to donate to her defense fund. I would be willing to do so.

Keep up the fight and don't let them drag you under.

Greg,

koozie said...
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koozie said...

This is by far the most ridicules case I read so far. They want to take this lady to trail due to the fact that she has these files on her personal computer at her own home! First off RIAA had no rights of what so ever to intrude into her PC and look for these files. There is a privacy law out there that protect our american citizens from companies snooping into our PC as they damn please. They had just broke a law right there by hacking into her computer to look to see if those files were there. I hope that if this lawsuit gets throw out that she will counter-suit for privacy. Maybe once and for all the RIAA will think twice before making another mistake of looking into someone's computer for such files. Second off, y is the RIAA targeting personal users when they should be targetting the big ones, for example; MP3 Portable players ( I will not mention names cause everyone already knows them ). I mean think about it, these Portable players now adays hold anywhere from 30gigs to about 120gigs of music. I mean do you really know how much it would cost to fill one of those Portable players with music, I seen people everywhere with Portable players full of music, do you really think they are all bought music?

In order to fill a 30gig Portable player meaning that usually MP3 files rages about 4.5megs per file. 1gig is consist of 1000megs, so 30gigs would be 30,000megs. Now divide this by 4.5megs and you will get 6666.66 repeating, meaning you can put up to 6,666 songs on this freaken Portable player and I seen that many before on numerious Portable players. Just go on any search engine and seach up ( -portable player names goes here- ) Music List and you will see what I mean. So in theory you can fit about 15 songs per CD if you were to go and buy a Music CD at the stores it would cost about $19.99 per Music CD and has about 15 songs. So if you divide the 6,666 songs by 15 for per CD you would have 444.4 Music CD's bought in-order to fill these portable players. So now in conclusion if you take the 444.4 and times it by $19.99 for the cost of 1 Music CD. It would cost $8,875.56 to fill that Portable player and this is not even including taxes. Let alone that one of these Portable players cost close to $300, I mean do you believe that everyone who has one of these Portable players has exactly a little over $9,000 to fill one?

Now this is just the 30gig version, think of those that are 120gig version! GOD DAMN! It will cost you $35,502.24 just to fill and also no taxes included.

An average american does not even make that much in a year!

These companies that makes these Portable players makes more people to want to go and download these music. Seriously, do you have that kinda of money to blow?

This goes to show how the RIAA is being run, I mean they might as well just let me run the RIAA. I mean with me being the CEO of RIAA, it would not really makes a diffrence, cause it can't get any worst then it is already being is. LOL

koozie said...

I also wanted to add the fact that the RIAA hacked into her personal home computer to find these files that they are using in the trail. I mean they did not have a search warrent to search her computer, you RIAA are illegally access Patricia's home personal computer without consent. To me this sounds like hacking. Anyhow as the news been going on about the goverment snooping and tapping into people phone calls and computers and instant messages cause this prevent terrorist act on american soil, I mean did patricia committed any terrorist acts into for the RIAA to have the right to hack her personal home computer? How is our goverment so screwed up that they are letting RIAA take this poor lady to trail when it's the RIAA that broke the law to being with? Does this make any sense? I mean if the RIAA can hack into someone's computer and look at files, doesn't that give me the right to hack into any one of your personal home computers and look at any file I well damn please and get away with it. Cause if this is exactly whats happening and they do get away with it, All hackers should start doing it and all to blame is the RIAA for starting the trend for hacking is ok. I think that if they got the info off Patricia's computer without a search warrent, that would mean a mis-trail and should be thrown out. Does the RIAA have search warrents to search patricia's computer?

Kevin Mesiab said...

All of these people who clammor about doing pro-bono work are likely welfare cases themselves. If you really feel strongly about this woman winning her case, then open your wallet and shut your mouth, because that's essentially what you're asking this law-firm to do.

It costs money to go through the motions of litigation (no pun intended), real money. You cant win a trial on happy thoughts and fuzzy feelings.

To those of you willing to donate, good for you, thats the right way to do it.

To the lawyers in this case, I somehow doubt the idiotic ramblings of a socialist-slanted rabble impacts you much. Do what you must, you don't need our permission.

-Kevin

winner1 said...

I think this is an excellent legal strategy. 1st - based on the costs involved in her own defense, she would most likely be able to file "IN FORMA PAUPERIS". 2nd - Going "PRO SE" she has much more latitude than an attorney would in court. And, if she does win, she can collect reasonable attorney fees (Which she gets!), and the RIAA has to reimburse the court for the costs that were waived for her.

Sorry to all the nay sayers, but this is a VERY good legal strategy!

I say this based on my own experience, I won every time!

curiouswonders said...

MR beckerman i was wondering if instead of blaming patti and people for downloading their music. Could the blame be placed on the industry itself for not doing enough to protect there copy-righted material for being copied. They have billions of dollars; yet they do nothing to try and incode their cds, although the technology has been around now for atleast a decade. I think that the industry is trying to say that only the consumer is responsible, what about their responsibility to their product, artist, and share holders.

If patti shoudl be responsible for every dick and harry that come to her home and use her computer, when she has no real knowledge of technical information. Then why shouldnt the RIAA, an industry with billions of dollars to spend not be responisble for aiding in that same protection.

-just a curious thought

curiouswonders said...

MR beckerman i was wondering if instead of blaming patti and people for downloading their music. Could the blame be placed on the industry itself for not doing enough to protect there copy-righted material for being copied. They have billions of dollars; yet they do nothing to try and incode their cds, although the technology has been around now for atleast a decade. I think that the industry is trying to say that only the consumer is responsible, what about their responsibility to their product, artist, and share holders.

If patti shoudl be responsible for every dick and harry that come to her home and use her computer, when she has no real knowledge of technical information. Then why shouldnt the RIAA, an industry with billions of dollars to spend not be responisble for aiding in that same protection.

-just a curious thought

ps. sorry if this is posted twice im unsure of if the first post went through.