If you remember, about two weeks back I wrote right on this here blog about Michelle Santangelo and how the courts ruled against her, forcing her to pay thousands of dollars to the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally downloading music.
As I wrote then, the RIAA originally sued Patti, the mother of Michelle and Robert, but then realized the kids were the ones who actually did the downloading. The courts ruled against Michelle, but had yet to decide on Robert, who was as young as 11 when the alleged crimes happened.
Patti went on national TV, talked to any media member who would listen and generally spewed nonsense in papers, magazines, shows and more. She blamed the RIAA. How could her precious little children be at fault? Why should they take responsibility for doing something illegal?
The RIAA, which, as many of you know, does a lot of crappy and dumb things. Suing individuals is probably the worst strategy; you're going to alienate your potential consumer base. Spend the money on developing software that fixes the problem. But still, it's well within the organization's rights to sue thieves. After all, Target can sue anyone who steals merchandise from its stores. And this is no different.
So the RIAA attempted to settle its lawsuits amicably, making the family pay a hefty, but not unreasonable fine. Well, Mommy Patti would hear none of it; her children did nothing wrong! So it went to court and Michelle got hit with a huge fine.
Now Patti (er, Robert) strikes back. From the AP today:
Robert Santangelo and his lawyer, Jordan Glass, responded at length Tuesday, raising 32 defenses, demanding a jury trial and filing a counterclaim against the companies that accuses them of damaging the boy's reputation, distracting him from school and costing him legal fees.
His defenses to the industry's lawsuit include that he never sent copyrighted music to others, that the recording companies promoted file sharing before turning against it, that 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 Santangelo also claims that the record companies, which have filed more than 18,000 piracy lawsuits in federal courts, "have engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to defraud the courts of the United States."
So let's take this ridiculousness a paragraph at a time. Damaging the boy's reputation and distracting him from school? Well, wouldn't that have not happened if the family just paid the damn fine! I seriously doubt other middle-school kids really taunt him, also. "Oh, look, there's goes little Bobby; he stole Michael Jackson songs!" Come on.
My favorite part is that these morons keep claiming they were never warned downloading songs was illegal. First, it's common sense. Second, this argument may have worked in, say, 1998. Not today, not in the 21st century when court battles have raged and the issue has become front-page news.
Not to mention, all downloading software makes you click on a box that says you aren't going to grab copyrighted material. Of course, everyone still does, but the warning is there. If you can try and claim you didn't know it all was illegal, you're just admitting that you're a moron — plain and simple.
Lastly, who's abusing the court system? You're suing the RIAA because it sued you for theft. You did it; you admit it. And do not, do not, tell me Big Sis already had these songs on purchased CDs. I know everyone I know goes out and downloads less-than-perfect versions of songs they already have on CD every day. Of course.
What can you say to that kind of defense? Well, here's what I would say: You're stupid, not us. Don't try to insult us with flimsy, idiotic defenses. More importantly, Robert, tell your mom to leave you alone and pay the fine. Then maybe all those bullies would stop harassing you about downloading Hanson songs.