Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Patti Santangelo's 16-year old son Robert Counterclaims against the RIAA for "failure to warn"

In the case we have dubbed Elektra v. Santangelo II, Patti Santangelo's 16-year-old son Robert has gone on the offensive, filing a counterclaim against the record labels:

Answer and Counterclaim*
Exhibit A to Answer and Counterclaim*
Exhibit B to Answer and Counterclaim*

Editor's note: Query: Since no guardian ad litem has been appointed for this 16-year-old child, aren't both the RIAA's commencement of the suit, and the answer and counterclaim filed on the child's behalf, both nullities? Just asking.
-R.B.

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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Keywords: digital copyright online download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs

9 comments:

dave said...

Somebody just turned the heat up...
Watch this space for some impressive ducking and diving by the RIAA.

Richard Stands said...

I've just read about this case and have an observation to make. The facts of the case do not accurately represent what is alleged to have happened. Specifically, copyrighted music, per se, is not being downloaded on any P2P network or system, instead, an different entity is what is downloaded (a MP3 file), it is factully true that a MP3 file was never the entity copyrighted by the copyright holder. By analogy to a copyrighted book, say the equivalent of that book, as a MP3 version, would be a much smaller (extracted) book where 9 out of every 10 words had been removed by a mathematical process, and the only entity actually transferred over the P2P network was the was the much smaller book having only one word out of 10 of the original copyrighted book. My point here is that the copyrighted work never did exist on the accused computer, but instead, a new type of entity existed which the copyright holder never anticipated for. Moreover, the alleged P2P participant in this case never did have any access to the original work (on the P2P network) that was the music that the copyright holder did have rights to, he only had access to a type of music entity that was clearly not the same thing. The "facts" as reported in the details of this case completely overlook the exact, precise, specific nature of the difference between the original work (say a CD music track) and a radically different work (a MP3 music file) that actually existed on the users computer. These are not the same thing, they are not equivalent, they are different things. Would any reasonable person say that a book consisting of 1/10 the words of another book was exactly the same thing? One more question, is it true that mere possession of the book having 1/10 the words is somehow a case of copyright infringement of the full book? I don't see how this could be true, since the user never did have any access to the copyrighted book. Remember, that which is being transferred on P2P are only the 1/10 book equivalents. The RIAA surely knows this distinction, yet they pretend something else is being transferred. The defense needs to know this distinction too.

StephenH said...

I cannot beleive how many defenses they are raising here. They are also demanding a jury trial. They have sited UMG v Lindor in regards to the wholesale pricing too. The same is true of the Sharman Networks Settlement. Additionally, they claimed about how this is to benefit RIAA and Settlement Support Center. The same with how the public was misinformed. I feel that the friend involvement and computer destroyed by a fire also play a role.


Here are some counterclaims I wish someone would try in one of these cases (I thought of these myself):

1) A declaration that an IP address, time, and computers mac address is not enough to prove the indentity of the actual user of the computer at the time alleged.

2) A Declaration that one is not liable for the copyright infringment and other legal actions of a person using a connection paid for by someone else, except if the person is married to the person paying the bill for the internet connection.

3) A declaration that liabilty follows the person doing it, not the computer they are on in cases of computers and connections with more than one user, and that it should be the plantiffs burden to prove they have the correct individual.

4) A declaration that the operator running a connection sharing system to allow multiple computers to share an internet connection via a network hub, network switch, router, network address translation device, wireless network access point, wireless router, residential gateway, or other device is not be required to log the indentity of each user using the device at any given , nor can they be subject to direct, contributory, or vicarious liability for any copyright infringement action commited by another user on their network by simply sharing a connection to others.

5) A declaration that to prove copyright infrignement, that the plantiffs must prove files were actually illegally copied, and show that the file on the other end where the file was actually copied to matched the file on the plantiffs own hard drive, floppy disk, CD-ROM disk, or other media.

6) A delcaration that simply "making available" according to the WIPO treaties is intentionally vague and unenforceable with proving on the other end that a file was actually copied.

7) A declaration that simply "making available" violates one rights to "inncoent till proven guilty" under the constitution, as well as "fair use rights".

dave said...

Sadly, until one of these cases can be bulldozed through to trial then these many defenses will never see the light of day and help establish some decent case precedent. That said I do feel the tide is slowly on the turn. Courage mes braves.

pepper said...

I think if nothing else, everyone has learned the best way to get the riaa off your back is to seek a jury by trial. They cower then and drop cases like a rock.

Ray Beckerman said...

By the way, StephenH, just wanted to mention that Judge Karas in the Barker case rejected the RIAA's WIPO argument.

recordjackethistorian said...

I have been following another Copyright infringement case the last few years, namely SCO vs. IBM.

SCO has made the same kind of dubious claims about IBM's involvment LInux. IBM of course has denied and has asked this:

"For each line of code and other material identified in response to Interrogatory No. 12, please state whether (a) IBM has infringed plaintiff's rights, and for any rights IBM is alleged to have infringed, describe in detail how IBM is alleged to have infringed plaintiff's rights; and (b) whether plaintiff has ever distributed the code or other material or otherwise made it available to the public, as part of a Linux distribution or otherwise, and if so, the circumstances under which it was distributed or otherwise made available, including but not limited to the product(s) in which it was distributed or made available, when it was distributed or made available, to whom it was distributed or made available, and the terms under which it was distributed or made available (such as under the GPL or any other license)."

That is quoted from IBM Exhibit 12 Interrogatory 12 in that case.

IBM's lawyers have got things down to the periods and spaces line numbers. Mr. Santangelo should ask no less. Down to the exact moment and second each infringement took place, the exact track, from which recording and the exact length of the track in question. If they cannot identify these tracks this specifically, the tracks aren't theirs.

You see, I can play Rogers & Hart's "Blue Moon" a thousand different ways, but only one of those ways is copyright on any one recording, the other "Blue Moons" are irrelevant. Any artist might record a song twice. They aren't the same track nor are they entitled to claim copyright infringement on anything but the exact track in question. They ought to be able to identify it that way.

Cheers
David
TRJH

Jim said...

one (of the many good) articles in the blogosphere found via the link from Mr. B. that is worth to read:

[...] Judging by well the RIAA has responded in the past to victims who stood up for themselves, it will be interesting to see how they react to the continued obstinate refusal of their targets to simply give up. What I'm more excited about, however, is that the RIAA's dismal track record when actually forced to argue their case in court will encourage more mothers and grandfathers who are sued by them to get lawyers and fight back.

dave said...

Excellent link. It echoes many of the issues we have all raised here but sets them out quite succinctly. A must read for anyone coming new to the forum.