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Recording group, family settle in illegal music download case


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – After battling a suburban family for four years over music downloads, the recording industry has agreed to accept $7,000 – paid in installments – to settle its federal piracy lawsuit.

If approved by a judge, the settlement will end a well-publicized tussle that began with five record companies accusing Patricia Santangelo, a mother of five, of illegally downloading and distributing music.

Santangelo, 46, of Wappingers Falls, said she couldn’t have downloaded anything because she didn’t know how.

At one point during the lawsuit, which alleged the use of file-sharing computer networks, a federal judge described Santangelo as an “Internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo.”

Santangelo, one of thousands of people sued in the Recording Industry Association of America’s anti-piracy campaign, refused to settle. An Internet campaign raised about $15,000 for her defense.

The industry eventually dropped its suit against the mother. But it filed a new one against two of her children, Michelle and Robert, ages 20 and 16 at the time. The new lawsuit alleged the youths had downloaded and distributed more than 1,000 songs, including “MMMBop” by Hanson and “Beat It” by Michael Jackson.

Under the terms of the settlement, filed in court in White Plains late Friday, the Santangelos will pay $7,000.


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