The past few days have been very busy for the (Blood Sucking, Ambulance Chasing) Lawyers representing the RIAA. I thought It would be good to bring everyone up to date with the latest news.

The RIAA is suing so many people that to produce a comprehensive report would take an army of researchers, however there are two cases in particular that are worthy of mention.

Elektra v. Santangelo is a case where the RIAA is trying to sue Patti Santangelo, and after a year of hounding Patti Santangelo the RIAA has decided to drop the case against her.

This sounds like good news for Patti Santangelo? Well not exactly, the RIAA wants it dropped ‘without prejudice’, this has a two fold effect, they can come back and sue her again if they want to, and the RIAA manages to dodge the bullet of paying Patti Santangelo’s legal bills, which by this time are building up.

Of course the RIAA does not like to lose so their legal retards Eagles have now filed suit against two of her children who incidentally were 12 and 16 at the timed of the alleged downloading.

The other really interesting case involves UMG v Lindor, in this classy law suit the RIAA are suing a lady that can barely switch a computer on never mind download music. The one thing going for Ms Lindor is her legal representation, Ray Beckerman. Mr Beckerman has made quite a name for himself representing the little guy.

The latest twist in this David and Goliath tale is that Mr Beckerman has introduced a court ruling from Holland. The RIAA actually subcontracts the dirty work of tracking music pirates out to an organization named MediaSentry. A Dutch court threw out a case of music piracy because the MediaSentry data was ambiguous, it did not prove that the accused person (in internet terms IP) downloaded any copywrite infringing materials). In fact the MediaSentry data was very suspect as to even tying the IP address to the physical computer.

This has the RIAA very upset indeed, and they have asked that the evidence be removed.

The way I see it, you cannot have it your own way all the time, the RIAA has been very lucky so far. They have picked on the little guy with no money or resources and have settled out of court. The average settlement being $3,000.

Now they have some opposition, and this is going to hurt them. If they lose just one case, they will completely lose their legitimacy in the legal system. If their paid henchman at MediaSentry are proved in the US courts (already have been in the Dutch courts) to contain less than reliable data, it is game over!

Other entertaining DRM news was the Bill Gates interview where Bill stated his opposition to DRM and recommended that people just buy CD’s and rip them! I’ll bet the RIAA didn’t send Bill a Christmas card for that!

Of course an article about the RIAA and DRM would not be complete without a quick mention of the Sony BMG group. It was almost exactly a year ago that news started to break about the dangers of listening to Sony BMG CD’s in your Personal Computer.

The CD’s contained something called a rootkit. In layman’s terms it was a virus, actually a combination of virus and spyware. The hue and cry made Sony cease and desist fairly quickly, and culminated in the settlement of a class action suit.

Two states. Texas and California opted to pursue their own claims against Sony. That case was settled this week, Sony has agreed to pay $1.5 million plus up to $175 per person that can prove computer problems caused by the rootkit.

Sony got let off the hook without pain in this settlement. What I do find interesting is that the company that created the problem for Sony. First4Internet seem to have disappeared into the world of, their web site has been down for months. 

Simon Barrett  

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