Thursday, April 30, 2009

RIAA finally scrapes some cash out of the Santangelo family

After four years, an out-of-court settlement has been reached in the legal battle between the Santangelo family and the RIAA.

This is the charming one, you'll recall, where - having failed to prove a case against the mother, the RIAA then went after the kids instead.

The family are going to give the RIAA $7,000 to settle the case, says the AP. The Santangelo family explicitly have not admitted any wrongdoing; they're only settling now to allow the kids to concentrate on college.

Still, seven grand, eh? That must more than compensate the RIAA for the costs of a four year legal-harrying campaign against a one-parent family, right?

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Santangelos," Cara Duckworth, spokeswoman for the RIAA, said in an e-mailed statement. Asked how much had been spent to win the $7,000 settlement, and whether it was a victory, she said, "We don't break out costs per case, and it's not a question of it being 'worth it' or a 'victory.'"

Surely it's not a casde of being worth it or a victory because, erm, it wasn't worth it and it's not a victory.

It's interesting to hear that the RIAA don't bother to apply any consideration of if crushing families is worth the candle before spending the money. If I were a shareholder in a music company, I'd be thrilled to hear that I was supporting an organisation that embarks on the most expensive processes imaginable without thinking through the consequences.

Oh, hang about: Duckworth is about to explain that it was a victory, and that it was worth it.
She said the lawsuit had succeeded in showing that breaking the law has consequences and in steering music fans toward legal online services "that fairly compensate musicians and labels."

Given that the RIAA hasn't actually demonstrated that the Santangelo family did break the law, that's a bit of a dangerous claim. And I'm pretty certain that Duckworth would be hard pressed to prove that a single person has started using iTunes or similar as a result of their folly. But it must make them feel better to think that it wasn't totally pointless.