Chicago (IL) - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has agreed to settle a controversial federal piracy lawsuit with the Santangelo family for $7000. The Santangelos already remitted half of the amount on April 20 and are expected to make six additional payments by October.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Santangelos," RIA spokesperson Cara Duckworth said in an e-mail statment quoted by the Associated Press. According to Duckworth, the lawsuit had successfully encouraged music fans to patronize legal online services "that fairly compensate musicians and labels."
Patricia Santangelo, a mother of five, was accused by five record companies of illegally downloading and distributing music. Santangelo, who denied the charges, was described by a federal judge as an "Internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo."
The RIAA eventually agreed to drop the charges against Patricia, but then filed a fresh suit against two of her children. The new lawsuit alleged that Michelle and Robert had downloaded and distributed more than 1000 songs, including "MMMBop" by Hanson and Michael Jackson's "Beat It."
Attorney Jordan Glass explained that the latest settlement offer was accepted only for financial reasons, as it was "preventing the kids from moving on."
A guide on the RIAA website, written by Childnet International, warns that "unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted music is breaking the law, and that includes file-swapping of any copyrighted music on certain P2P networks such as LimeWire."
The guide also notes that the recording industry has "taken action" against individuals who engage in unauthorized downloads.
"Remember, parents and guardians can be held responsible for what happens on the family computers even if they are not themselves engaged in illegal activity."