By Jon Newton 11/29/05
It's a bad day for ordinary men, women and children across the US. But it's a good one for the venal Big Four record labels, Sony BMG, Vivendi Universal, Warner Music and EMI, all of whom are absolutely delighted with themselves.
First came the news that an appeal against their demands for the identity of a Jane Doe had been turned down, and now judge Colleen McMahon has denied Patrica Santangelo's motion to dismiss a case brought against her by the labels' RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
Santangelo will have to file an answer and go through pretrial discovery, and possibly a trial, as a result.
"We're very disappointed in the court's ruling," Ray Beckerfman, who's representing her, told p2pnet.
"The meaning of it, if other judges follow it, is that no one will be able to get the RIAA's baseless lawsuits dismissed without going all through all the expense and anguish of pretrial discovery, and either a summary judgment motion or a trial.
"It also means that no one will be able to get a Copyright Act attorneys fee award until after months or years of litigation. As a result, it would be economically impossible to defend these lawsuits.
"Under the federal rules, the order is not appealable, so it is the law of the case until a final judgment is obtained by the RIAA or by the defendant.
"From this point on I will have to advise any litigants who are sued in Judge McMahon's Part, that they have no way of defending themselves without spending thousands, probably tens of thousands, of dollars."
Santangelo is the 42-year-old New York mother who refused the Big Four's 'settlement' offer under which it demanded $7,500 to stop harassing her.
McMahon recently said "love to see a mom fighting one of these" [a settlement offer].
The Big Four are relentlessly hounding people such as Santangelo in their attempts to gain control of how, and by whom, music is distributed on the Net.
Among other victims are schoolchildren and senior citizens.
The cartel is fighting a losing battle against the p2p file sharing networks which sprang up as a form of citizen protest against the labels, and people such as Santangelo are the victims.
Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.
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