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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 1:34 pm 
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From http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i6c3a49109c5609b6bcd108368c36b406:

Quote:
The recording industry secured a resounding victory when a Minnesota jury awarded the four major labels $1.92 million in damages after unanimously finding that Jammie Thomas-Rasset had willfully infringed on their copyrights by downloading and sharing 24 songs on the Kazaa peer-to-peer network.

The mammoth size of the verdict, representing $80,000 per track, may help dissuade more P2P users from illegally downloading music, and for that the labels are happy. "We appreciate the jury's service and that they take this as seriously as we do," RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth said in a statement.


So.....$1.92 million in damages. 24 songs illegally downloaded. 24 songs. $1.92 million. Ummm, thoughts?


Last edited by yovargas on Sat 20 Jun , 2009 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 2:28 pm 
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A man named Robert Fulghum made a great deal of money collecting standard bits of basic wisdom and putting them in a book called "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten".

Here is one line:


Don't take things that aren't yours.

We teach that to little children. We hope it sticks with them forever as they grow into adults with their own children who they will teach the lesson to. It is too bad that some children grow up and think of elaborate mindgames to trash that wisdom and negate it for their own selfish purposes.

The US Constitution gives the US Congress the power to grant and protect copyrights in Article I, Section 8, paragraph 8.

I have participated in discussions on this topic for several years now on many sites. Expect people to come forward with the argument that nothing is really being taken so thus there is no real theft...... rights to authors were suppose to be limited ..... copyrights are elitist ..... technology has rendered the law obsolete and that reality trumps and law or ethics or morality...... there is nothing you can do about this anyways given the massive practice of illegal copying .... everybody does it thus nobody can speak from a position of purity .... entertainment corporations stifle true creativity and artistry ..... some artists are already embracing free delivery systems of their work so everybody should embrace free delivery systems.....and other such intellectual rationalizations for appropriating or taking what is not rightfully yours to use or take. This is not rocket science.

The price of the penalty and the number of songs is a red herring that has little to do with the basic issue.

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 2:49 pm 
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A legal definition of Theft would be something along the line of "The taking of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner thereof." There is really no deprivation with permanent taking here. Therefore no theft. But there is copyright infringement. The record labels would like to paint this as theft because practically everyone knows instinctively that theft is wrong. So if they can get everyone to think about infringement in those terms they have just about won the whole issue that is being argued in our (and other) society and legal system.

I have read that the defendant was offered a chance to settle before court for very little and refused. The award seems over the top but it sounds as if a jury awarded the damages. Not having heard the arguments put forth by the petitioners I won't say that I know it is out of line but it sounds excessive.

Frankly I think the issues at stake here are a lot more nuanced. The record labels have a right to make a profit. And an excessive one if the market will allow. But in a capitalistic market they should not be able to maintain excessive profit margins because the competition.

The whole fair usage thing is confusing. I can go to a library and check out a CD, book, or movie and the record label, author, etc. gets nothing but one payment for the original copy. Why can a library do that and no one else can?

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 2:59 pm 
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sauronsfinger wrote:
The price of the penalty and the number of songs is a red herring that has little to do with the basic issue.


Except that I just started a thread about the penalty, thus making it the issue.


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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 3:16 pm 
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Its your thread and you or anybody else can say what they want about that topic. I suspect someone will attempt to introduce a line of thinking along the lines of "the punishment should fit the crime and if they paid for those songs it only would have been 20 dollars or so so this is excessive and government at its worse". Its a red herring.

REL - one of things that is being 'taken' is money out of the righful pocekts of the copyright holders and the people who they have contracted with to pay them in return for the license to that copyright. That financial loss is real.

The library is permitted by the copyright holder to do just what you describe that a library does. It is legal. It is up to the legal copyright holder to decide what to do with their property and they have decided to allow the library to use it in the fashion that they do.

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Last edited by sauronsfinger on Sat 20 Jun , 2009 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 3:20 pm 
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It seems obvious that they're making this woman an example and that the damages are excessive. Not knowing the particulars of this case, my initial reaction is to think that she deserved some reasonable penalty; this is simply exorbitant. (I can't think of the right words this morning! Argh! :bang: ) Isn't there some kind of thing (law? amendment?) about excessive punishments?

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 3:54 pm 
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from the article itself

Quote:
Thomas-Rasset lost her previous trial in 2007 and was ordered to pay $222,000, only to achieve a now-pyrrhic victory when the court tossed the verdict because of a faulty jury instruction.


She should have quit when she was only that far behind.

Quote:
The RIAA's Duckworth indicated after the verdict that the recording industry doesn't intend to collect $1.92 million from Thomas-Rasset. "Since day one, we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so," she said.


So the idea of the nearly $2 million penalty is not the issue since the industry is willing to settle for far less.


Quote:
The Copyright Act provides for awards of statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringed work, in the case of willful infringement.


24 times $150,000.00 comes to $3,600,000.00. The award was within the law. Perhaps the $2 million is a bargain?

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 4:00 pm 
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It does sound like she should've quit while she was ahead. Was there something she was trying to prove?

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 7:12 pm 
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Alright, so here are my thoughts on this:

I am completely in favor of copyright laws and totally support copyright owner's rights to determine how their product will be used, distributed, ect. But damage awards in the hundreds of thousands...and then millions??? Something is clearly wrong with the laws that allow that kind of penalty. "Stealing" 24 songs from the internet for personal use is a crime at worst roughly equivalent to shoplifting a couple CDs from Wal-mart (what would be a typical punishment for that?) and there are reasonable arguments to think it is a lesser crime than that. My main thought upon hearing this - and I may me way off base in this - was, it looks like a very powerful and desperate lobby has gained a ridiculous amount of government pull if this sort of thing can happen in our courts. Absurd.


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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 8:04 pm 
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Man rapes 4 year old gets one year.
Woman steals a few songs gets a 1.92 million dollar fine

He steals a lifetime of innoncence and trust.
She steals from already rich people and gets fined far more than what the songs were worth to begin with.


American Justice at it's best.

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 10:13 pm 
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It's silly and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay OTT.

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun , 2009 10:22 pm 
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I would like to remind everyone here though the according to the article the jury decided the amount of the damages. Not the lawyers or the Judge. I am sure the lawyers threw figures around. But the amount was awarded by a jury of the defendants peers. Average joes as it were.

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jun , 2009 8:44 am 
Als u het leven te ernstig neemt, mist u de betekenis.
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Was the jury an a commission?

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jun , 2009 11:18 am 
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RELStuart wrote:
I would like to remind everyone here though the according to the article the jury decided the amount of the damages. Not the lawyers or the Judge. I am sure the lawyers threw figures around. But the amount was awarded by a jury of the defendants peers. Average joes as it were.



I assume the jury was acting according to the law as they must and, according to the article, damages per song can go up to $150K. I very much doubt this is the price tag a jury would have set themselves without legal guidelines.


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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jun , 2009 5:49 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
RELStuart wrote:
I would like to remind everyone here though the according to the article the jury decided the amount of the damages. Not the lawyers or the Judge. I am sure the lawyers threw figures around. But the amount was awarded by a jury of the defendants peers. Average joes as it were.



I assume the jury was acting according to the law as they must and, according to the article, damages per song can go up to $150K. I very much doubt this is the price tag a jury would have set themselves without legal guidelines.


TOk... So here is the law regarding the damages amounts

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#504

§ 504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits3

(a) In General. — Except as otherwise provided by this title, an infringer of copyright is liable for either —

(1) the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer, as provided by subsection (b); or

(2) statutory damages, as provided by subsection (c).

(b) Actual Damages and Profits. — The copyright owner is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement, and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages. In establishing the infringer's profits, the copyright owner is required to present proof only of the infringer's gross revenue, and the infringer is required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the copyrighted work.

(c) Statutory Damages. —

(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.

(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200. The court shall remit statutory damages in any case where an infringer believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that his or her use of the copyrighted work was a fair use under section 107, if the infringer was: (i) an employee or agent of a nonprofit educational institution, library, or archives acting within the scope of his or her employment who, or such institution, library, or archives itself, which infringed by reproducing the work in copies or phonorecords; or (ii) a public broadcasting entity which or a person who, as a regular part of the nonprofit activities of a public broadcasting entity (as defined in subsection (g) of section 118) infringed by performing a published nondramatic literary work or by reproducing a transmission program embodying a performance of such a work.

(3) (A) In a case of infringement, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the infringement was committed willfully for purposes of determining relief if the violator, or a person acting in concert with the violator, knowingly provided or knowingly caused to be provided materially false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority in registering, maintaining, or renewing a domain name used in connection with the infringement.

(B) Nothing in this paragraph limits what may be considered willful infringement under this subsection.

(C) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “domain name” has the meaning given that term in section 45 of the Act entitled “An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes” approved July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the “Trademark Act of 1946”; 15 U.S.C. 1127).

(d) Additional Damages in Certain Cases. — In any case in which the court finds that a defendant proprietor of an establishment who claims as a defense that its activities were exempt under section 110(5) did not have reasonable grounds to believe that its use of a copyrighted work was exempt under such section, the plaintiff shall be entitled to, in addition to any award of damages under this section, an additional award of two times the amount of the license fee that the proprietor of the establishment concerned should have paid the plaintiff for such use during the preceding period of up to 3 years.

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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun , 2009 12:36 am 
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I'm pretty much anti-copyright in the first place (I'm an anime fan, it's complicated) but I'd like to point out that she kept them on Kazaa, so they were working on the assumption that a lot of people then downloaded them from her.

As an anime fan, I'd say that I would never blind-buy a DVD, and the industry is just too small to air episodes where I live, or even advertisments. Sure, there are legal streaming services, but they're all just for North America. I only have X amount of money in the first place, and I do whatever I can to support the industry. But the DVDs are so stupidly expensive that there's not that much I can buy. (No, really. They are stupidly expensive. Doujin Work, a twelve-episode series, recently hit the West with, I believe, three episodes a DVD, charged at standard DVD price - so if an R2 dub was released it would be RRP £30 a disc. The episodes are ten minutes long.)


-Pips-

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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun , 2009 5:43 am 
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So the Jury could have gone with the minimum punishment of $18,000.00 if my math is right.

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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun , 2009 12:39 pm 
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"Don't take things that don't belong to you" is one saying. Another is "let the punishment fit the crime". Sharing 14 copyrighted files is not a 2 million dollar crime. The law presumably allows for it, but that's just yet another sign that the law has not caught up with technology. And while these facts have no legal significance, it irks me to see record executives of all people getting up on a legalistic high horse and turning a single working mother into their debt slave in retaliation for the pettiest of crimes.


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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun , 2009 2:37 pm 
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Dave_LF wrote:
"Don't take things that don't belong to you" is one saying. Another is "let the punishment fit the crime". Sharing 14 copyrighted files is not a 2 million dollar crime. The law presumably allows for it, but that's just yet another sign that the law has not caught up with technology. And while these facts have no legal significance, it irks me to see record executives of all people getting up on a legalistic high horse and turning a single working mother into their debt slave in retaliation for the pettiest of crimes.



And a man can rape a four year old and get nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and sorry the registered for life thing is a joke in real world.

How about we let the single mother pay $20. per song and make her register her computer for life.

And make the rapist spend 30 years in jail and pay 10.5 million in damages to the victim.

Then we might be getting to some real justice, which our laws apparently are sorely lacking.

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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun , 2009 3:09 pm 
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RELStuart wrote:
I would like to remind everyone here though the according to the article the jury decided the amount of the damages. Not the lawyers or the Judge. I am sure the lawyers threw figures around. But the amount was awarded by a jury of the defendants peers. Average joes as it were.


In modern jurisprudence, judges give strict instructions to juries that jurors must obey or be removed from the jury. I would not be surprised if there were a few instructions regarding the amount.

Legal positivism at its worst.

I consider it a good thing when people apply common sense to the law. The law is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around.

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Last edited by Cenedril_Gildinaur on Tue Feb 30, 2026 13:61 am; edited 426 times in total


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