The RIAA sued a 16 year old New Yorker for piracy , and now he’s fighting back. That’s the story in the a nutshell, but there’s so much more to it. Together with his lawyer, Robert Santangelo is defending himself and making a case against the RIAA saying among other things, that they “have engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the courts of the United States,” and further, that the companies “ostensibly competitors in the recording industry, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and public policy by bringing the piracy cases jointly and using the same agency “to make extortionate threats … to force defendants to pay.”
To add to the matter, this isn’t the first time the RIAA has gone after the Santangelo family. In fact, Robert’s mom was the first to deal with the RIAA after she was sued back in 2005. Just in December, her case was dropped after she refused to settle and went to court with it. Apparently the RIAA wasn’t done and came back to sue Robert and his 20 year old sister, Michelle.
Robert’s lawyer has raised 32 defenses and is demanding a jury trial saying that the boys reputation has been damaged, and he’s been distracted from school. They’ve also said that the “average computer users were never warned that it was illegal; that the statute of limitations has passed; and that all the music claimed to have been downloaded was actually owned by his sister on store-bought CDs.” Robert was 11 at the time that he accused of pirating.
Obviously, that was just a lot of legal lingo, but I think what anyone can get out of all of this is that people aren’t afraid to fight back. Certainly the RIAA is a big giant gorilla and could intimidate any accused pirate, but that’s not stopping people like Santangelo.
The RIAA is defending themselves by saying “The record industry has suffered enormously due to 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.”
This ought to be an interesting story to follow…