p2pnet.net News:- It was inevitable.
Having made New York mother Patti Santangelo’s life quite literally a living hell, Warner Music, EMI, Sony BMG and Vivendi Universal have now turned their attentions to two of her children, Michelle and Robert, going so far as to blackmail Robert’s best friend into making statements against him.
“With Christmas only six days away, the Big Four Organized Music labels are bent on using children to continue their bizarre attack on people they allege have shared files online,” p2pnet posted last year. Because, “looming over her children,” Michelle, Nicole, Bobby Jack and Ryan, was the RIAA.
Members of the Organized Music cartel, the Big Four, are raging completely out of control as they go after, and deliberately and knowingly terrorize, innocent men and women, and even children, around the world who don’t have a hope in hell of standing up to them, their billions of dollars, their corrupt political and media connections, their legions of lawyers.
‘Competition’ is an obscene word to Warner Music, et al. They have to have it all and as an integral part of their efforts to make sure they gain total control of how, and by whom, music is distributed online, they’re accusing their own customers of being ‘criminals’ and ‘thieves,’ aided and abetted in this by the mainstream media who repeat cartel allegations unchallenged as though they’re proven facts from credible sources.
Almost a year ago p2pnet readers decided to do what they could to help Patti Santangelo, the New York mother of five who decided she’d stand up to the Big Four and so far, they’ve so far contributed $14,299.41 to the Patti Santangelo Fight Goliath defence fund.
But who’s standing up for Michelle and Robert as their legal representative? At the time of writing, no one. But that won’t last and they’ll soon they’ll need $. So if you can help, drop a dollar or two into the Fight Goliath fund which, I guess, should now be re-named the Santangelo Fund.
‘Hard fought discovery and investigation’
Here’s part of what the Big Four say through Robinson & Cole and Holme Roberts & Owen, the companies fielding the teams of lawyers Warner Music, EMI, Sony BMG and Vivendi Universal are paying to savage the two Santangelos.
Notwithstanding the vigorous and public denials by Patricia Santangelo and by the Defendants of their involvement in the substantial copyright infringement alleged, which denials went on for over one year, the evidence developed from these themselves and other witnesses in the Particia Santangelo Action has conclusively established that these Defendants are, indeed, responsible for the infringement at issue, having downloaded and distributed over 1,000 sound recordings through such sharing programs.
…after a year of hard-fought and expensive discovery and investigation, Plaintiffs have discovered that both engaged in massive infringement at issue here. Indeed, notwithstanding their prior denials of their involvement, Defendant Michelle Santangelo has now admitted under oath to substantial and ongoing infringement of Plaintiff’s significant copyright interests. Similarly, although Robert Santangelo, Jr. testified under oath that he took no part in the infringement at issue, his former neighbor and best friend testified at length as to how he and Defendant Robert Santangelo, Jr. had together downloaded a file-sharing program and distributed these same recordings (the neighbor has settled Plaintiff’s claims against him by paying a settlement amount and by agreeing to the same injunctive language that Plaintiffs seek to have entered in this case).
The impression given is that Michelle was testifying during a trial. However, it was actually a deposition hearing during which is evidence given under oath for use in a court at some future date. In the US, it’s part of the discovery process through which both sides get information from each other for the upcoming trial.
Jordan Glass, Patti Santangelos’ lawyer, says he was there, but doesn’t remember Michelle “admitting or acknowledging” downloading.
Michelle is 20 now, but she was 16 when the RIAA first zoomed in on her, and Robert (Bobby was only 12.
Moreover, claims made in this kind of document are by no means evidence. In fact, they’re often little more than one step above the extortionate frighteners lawyers routinely mail and email to their clients’ victims as part of the softening up process.
The labels: haemorrhaging credibility and customers
File sharing is no more a form of theft now than it was the past when people taped music from the radio and vinyl discs, re-playing the music for themselves, or passing it around to friends. Music lovers do the same today, although in this digital 21st century, tracks come from CDs legally bought in record stores, or downloaded.
Warner Music, EMI, Sony BMG and Vivendi Universal claim sharing music results in sales lost, as though someone who’s received a track would have otherwise gone out and bought it.
However, the reality is the same now as it was in the 40s, 50s, 60, 70s, 80s and 90s. That’s to say if someone hears something they like, no matter from where, they’ll probably go and buy it.
Meanwhile, the labels are haemorrhaging credibility and customers wholly and solely because of bad product, bad business decisions, bad management, and bad taste.
The issue that’s most urgent, “for the four big companies that dominate the production and distribution of music – Universal, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI” is so far, they’ve been slow to embrace the Net, “which has seemed to them not an opportunity but their nemesis,” said The Economist.
And that was back in 2004. “Rather than putting their product on file-sharing applications, they are prosecuting free-download users for theft,” it said, concluding that online music, “might truly take off if the majors were to make a truce with the file-sharing networks”.
Making peace with the commercial p2p companies would indeed have been the intelligent thing to do. But that would have meant acknowledging and accepting them as competition.
Instead, the Big Four are doing the same thing to their competitors as they’re doing to their customers: crushing them with lawsuits.
‘Hundreds of millions of wicked file sharers’
I’ve known the Santangelos for more than a year now and they’re just like you and me. They’re no more criminals and thieves than the labels are honest, aggrieved companies trying to keep their heads above water as they’re being “devastated” (their word) by the depredations of hundreds of millions of wicked file sharers.
In fact, the only people being devastated are the families being sued by Warner Music, EMI, Sony BMG and Vivendi Universal.
The lawsuits are terrifying. Victims, all of them very ordinary people with very ordinary means, don’t know what to do, how to respond, how to find legal help, or how to pay for it if they can manage that.
And on top of it, they’re continually harrassed by the so-called settlement centres which try to extort payments on behalf of the Big Four.
Some people are lucky enough to find attorneys willing to represent them pro bono. But they’re few and far between and anyway, to be blunt, services rendered by a pro bono lawyer aren’t likely to be on the same level as those delivered by lawyers who are being paid for their time and whose clients can afford the “expensive discovery and investigation” processes flaunted by the Big Four.
But music lovers don’t depend on the Big Four. It’s the other way around and Warner Music, EMI, Sony BMG and Vivendi Universal can no longer get away with this kind of corporate terrorism unscathed, as they’re discovering.
They used to control the international press corps but today, thanks to the Net, people everywhere are now their own information providers and there’s a phrase the Big Four would do well to bear in mind:
around the world – RIAA sues wheelchair mother, November 1, 2006
stand up to the Big Four – RIAA victim talks to p2pnet, September 4, 2005
bizarre attack – RIAA ready to attack more kids, December 19, 2006
The Economist – Music’s brighter future, October 28, 2004