Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Default Judgment Entered Against Patti Santangelo's Daughter

A default judgment has been entered against Patti Santangelo's daughter, Michelle Santangelo, in Elektra v. Michelle Santangelo and Robert Santangelo, Jr. ("Elektra v. Santangelo II"):

January 10, 2007, Default Judgment*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Commentary & discussion:


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


BasicTek said...

So does this mean the RIAA just successfully sued a child for about $31,000???

raybeckerman said...

No she's 20 years old.

The judgment is not against Robert, who is 16, just against Michelle.

I don't know if it's a "successful" lawsuit. It's just a default judgment, which means her attorney didn't put in an answer, and the RIAA rushed to take advantage of it.

I'm sure the judge will grant a motion to vacate it.

Scott Ferguson said...

Ray, you're on the side of the angels. But after reading that summary judgment -- half a million dollars in damages and attorney fees -- can you comprehend why so many of your "civilian" countrymen hold the courts in general, and your profession in particular, in such low esteem?

raybeckerman said...

Scott Ferguson said..."Ray, you're on the side of the angels. But after reading that summary judgment -- half a million dollars in damages and attorney fees -- can you comprehend why so many of your "civilian" countrymen hold the courts in general, and your profession in particular, in such low esteem? "

It is a reproach to our judicial system that it has allowed this fraud to be perpretrated for over 3 years, while the Netherlands and Canadian courts spotted the scam right away and shut it down.

But I expect our courts to eventually shut it down, too.

I expect justice to be done.

"Though the wheels of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small?"

Alter_Fritz said...

Scott, thank god you are at least a bit wrong; the sum is not half a million. It is "just" 41 songs a 750$ = 30750$ plus 490$ fee for the filing of the boilerplate court papers. So in total "only" 31240 (thirtyonethousandandafew) dollar.

(non the less an insane high ammount if you remember that the plaintiffs would have "earned" just a little less then 30 (Thirty!) dollars if they would sell the songs as mp3 instead of changing their business from producing product the customer want to make 1000 times more money by suing them)
Lets hope these cases with the "unconstitutional component"-defenses find judges that are sane to stop this ovious error in your copyrightlaw with this statuatory damage of 750$.

Scott Ferguson said...

alter_fritz, I think you misread it. The lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking to be compensated $490,000. That plus the $30,750 they claim for statutory damages equals $520,740, or about a half-million dollars.

Ray: Justice is not only a sword, it is a river. Seems that the river has run dry in American courts. All we have left are swords.

In another lifetime, I was involved in libel litigation between a union president and a newspaper editor who, in my opinion, both had monumental egos, and who worked for institutions with deep pockets. By the time they got around to deposing me, the case had been in litigation for four years, and a number of media outlets in the region had been dragged into it.

I sat there in a big law office conference room with a special master, a stenographer, and eight of the most expensive litigators in town answering inane questions for two days.

During a morning break, the attorneys were engaging in small talk, and the special master asked if I had any questions about what was going on. "Yes," I said. "Since the case has been in litigation so long, isn't it true that only the lawyers will end up winning it?"

Dead silence.

I hope that in that moment, at least one of the attorneys might have gotten in touch with their shame.

No matter the outcome, only the lawyers will end up benefitting from the recording industry lawsuit machine. To one who grew up imbued with a vision of this nation as inspired with high ideals, this is a detestable condition.

Alter_Fritz said...

sorry scott. luckily for the defendant I must contradict you

" 2. Defendant Michelle Santangelo shall pay further Plaintiffs' cost of suit herein in the amount of Four Hundred Ninety Dollars ($490.00).

Alter_Fritz said...

P.S. But with respect to the rest of your comment I agree with you; Only the RIAA lawyers will profit from all the money. I'm willing to bet that those artists of this 41 songs will see not a single cent from the 750$ the RIAA made with their recording now!

Scott Ferguson said...

Oops. Well what's a couple of decimal points among friends! =) thanks alter_fritz.

CodeWarrior said...

I was particularly interested in Scott's personal story. The "justice" system is an odd system. In a case I know of, attorneys had violated an individual's copyright rights, and despite appeal to that state's Supreme Courts, nothing was done to the attorneys, and not even a finding of copyright infringement was made (though it was a clear case in that the attys. had copied and printed pages (and distributed them)of a copyrighted, internet site in violation of the copyright owner's rights.

What I have seen of the law is kind of like a "good old boy's version" of the law here in the South in which the letter of the law is ignored, and the courts and judges decide what is legal and what is illegal.

Here in Texas, the Bar tends to ignore wrongdoings of attorneys unless the overtly rip off their clients, stealing settlement money.

And, the American legal system is based on a system that posits that the authority to rule over the people comes from God (and that rulers rule by virtue of God selecting them).

How about "consent of the governed"?
When was the last time the people were polled and asked if it was OK the government told them what to do.

I can guarantee you there are lots of people who call themselves "conservatives" here in Texas who would take issue with this idea.