Last week, a wittle wittle baby, accused of copyright infringement, filed a claim accusing the RIAA of "violating antitrust laws, conspiring to defraud the courts, and making extortionate threats," according to the AP (and Michael Ocean!). Robert Santangelo, now 16, was originally 11 when the "piracy" supposedly happened, but he denies ever having shared the files (shit, at 11, the boy couldn't even spell "piracy," let alone hate Eric Clapton as much as I do). Santangelo sound familiar? If you hop in the DeLorean with me, you might recall the PR disaster that was the RIAA vs. Patti Santangelo, the 42-year-old mom who famously refused to settle with the RIAA. (Yes, Robert's her son -- good work detective!)
As if that lawsuit wasn't enough, the RIAA faced another major setback this week. Another mom, Deborah Foster, recently won a case against the RIAA, in which the trade group has been ordered to pay the case's legal fees. Deborah was originally the target of litigation until the case was dropped, because it was her daughter who committed the actual infringing. Like the Santangelo case, the RIAA proceeded to sue Foster's daughter, which is significant because it clearly discerns who specifically is in trouble if there's file-sharing in a household (the person who downloaded the tracks, not the person who pays the bills). Furthermore, previous cases concerning legal fees were decided in the RIAA's favor, so this victory can be seen as a warning to the RIAA and its bullying tactics.
Or not. The RIAA recently filed a fresh copyright infringement lawsuit against some 23-year-old dude from Maine for sharing FIVE songs. Each song priced at $750. Again, he shared FIVE songs. With all this talk about everything as culturally relative and how there are no universal truths, I guess it's oddly comforting to know that the RIAA's shittiness is a constant.