Record companies have filed about 13,300 similar federal lawsuits against Internet users across the country since September 2003. Nearly 3,000 of those lawsuits have been settled. The offending music traders have agreed to pay an average of $4,000 to $5,000 and promised not to illegally download copyrighted songs anymore.
None of the cases has gone to trial.
That may change. And it may change with a soccer mom [Patricia Santangelo] who said she would rather pay a lawyer’s fees than give in to what she calls intimidation tactics by the record companies to get her to settle.
“I am still nervous about the whole thing,” she said. “I just got so aggravated about how threatening they were.”
The risk she is taking is that, if she loses, she may wind up paying much more than the $7,500 the record companies initially wanted from her to settle the case.
[…] Santangelo’s lawyer, Morlan Ty Rogers, who works in New York City and grew up in Sleepy Hollow and Ossining, said no one has challenged the “boilerplate” language of the lawsuits, adding that the record companies don’t have enough evidence to bring their claims to court.
“Many of these lawsuits have been brought against people who are simply the names on the Internet account,” Rogers said. He said that’s not good enough to sustain a lawsuit. The companies have sued unsuspecting mothers, fathers, grandparents — people who have only grudgingly made the switch from vinyl albums to compact discs.
“It’s really surprising” no one has attacked the record companies’ basis for the lawsuits, he said, “because the record companies’ claims are actually very weak.”