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Collection for anti-RIAA case

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An online news service is collecting money for Patricia Santangelo's defence fund - the New York woman who is defending herself against a lawsuit from the Recording Industry Ass. of America(RIAA).

The RIAA accuses her of illegally distributing copyrighted material. The divorced mother of five children believes a friend of the family may have put Kazaa on her machine - she says she had not heard of it before the legal action started.

The "Fight Goliath" campaign has already collected some $3,678 which will be kept in an escrow account to pay Santangelo's legal fees. Any money left over will be distributed to other "victims" of the RIAA.

The organisation is pursuing legal action against 14, 800 US individuals accused of "illegal file-sharing". It is running similar scare campaigns in other countries - the RIAA's British counterpart, the BPI, is taking action against some 150 individuals accused of sharing music files. Many people decide to settle out of court rather than rack up large legal fees.

Santangelo is the latest poster child for the file-sharing community although some bloggers remain cynical about the collection scheme.

Late last year Cecilia Gonzalez lost an appeal against the RIAA and was ordered to pay $22,500.

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