Judge Lowers Piracy Fine from Millions To Thousands

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It is pretty sad that we are happy a judge has reduced that $1.9M fine down to $54k for Jammie Thomas but at least “only” has to pay $2,250 a song now. The RIAA has 7 days to accept the new fines or ask for a new trial on damages.

The court in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case today reduced the jury's award of $80,000 per song to just $2,250, concluding that the "verdict [of] $2 million for stealing 24 songs for personal use is simply shocking.
 

Elledan

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At the very least it should set a precedent that tens of thousands of dollars per 'pirated' song is ridiculous. I'd be more worried if the $80,000/song fine got upheld.

It's a tiny bit of sanity in what is generally the lower levels of the Hell of Insanity :p
 

StoneTZ

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54k is reasonable I guess but still wtf.

What would they do to people that download 50gigs?

I agree piracy is bad but someone downloading a CD in grandma's basement shouldn't force grandma to take out a 2nd mortgage on that basement to keep him out of federal pound me in the ass prison.
 

Blakestr

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How is it the penalty for stealing money or burglary (let's say you steal less than $500 from a register or something) is less than downloading from some dude on a torrent?

You'd be much better off literally taking the cd out of the store...
 

Tytalus

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54k is reasonable I guess but still wtf.

What would they do to people that download 50gigs?

I agree piracy is bad but someone downloading a CD in grandma's basement shouldn't force grandma to take out a 2nd mortgage on that basement to keep him out of federal pound me in the ass prison.

Says who? Break the law and pay the price. If you are a parent that follows what your children do online (and in their life/lives) then this isn't an issue, as you either know the child performs illegal acts while on the internet or you are assisting the child in performing illegal acts on the internet.

There really is no middle ground here, so far as I can tell. Seeing the fines reduced in this way is a nice start.

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phide

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54k is reasonable
No, it isn't.

How is it the penalty for stealing money or burglary (let's say you steal less than $500 from a register or something) is less than downloading from some dude on a torrent? You'd be much better off literally taking the cd out of the store...
That would be more morally objectionable, in my opinion, as you'd be depriving an entity (the store) of a material possession (the CD). It's interesting how morality and law seldom go hand and hand, ain't it? :)
 

ashmedai

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54k is reasonable I guess but still wtf.

$1.9M is obscene, unconstitutional, or just f@#&ing nuts. $54k is sane. $500 is reasonable.

To be more specific, $1.9M is a strong-arm abuse of the legal system as a weapon against lower socioeconomic castes.
 

Ehren8879

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How about a federal flat fee per song for pirated music, or at least a cap. These judgements are such bullshit and everyone knows it.
 

Blakestr

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Says who? Break the law and pay the price. If you are a parent that follows what your children do online (and in their life/lives) then this isn't an issue, as you either know the child performs illegal acts while on the internet or you are assisting the child in performing illegal acts on the internet.

There really is no middle ground here, so far as I can tell. Seeing the fines reduced in this way is a nice start.

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The punishment does notfit the crime. We are not arguing that a crime is not occurring, rather, that "justice" is not being served.

In terms of finance, 54K a song is equivalent to pulling a speeder out of the car, flogging them into unconsciousness, then throwing gas on their car and lighting it on fire. Yes the person was speeding, it will probably deter speeding, but is it justice? Are we operating under the U.S. Constitution here or the code of Hammurabi?

And just so you know, at $15 a CD, for 54k you could buy 3,600 cd's.
Personally you would be better off stealing less than $300 in cd's..in Florida the penalty for that for a first time offense is basically $500 dollars. To put other punishments in perspective, the penalty for manslaughter, financially speaking, is $10,000.

You KNOW copyright laws were intended from keeping someone from stealing someone else's work and pawning it off as their own. 54k is reasonable for a corporation perhaps but charging the yearly salary of someone is fucking ridiculous. Anyone who says, "Yes, $54,000 a song is justice," is a fucking sadist in my opinion.

I can't produce it but I need to find it, there was a study out that, although I doubt it's entirely legit, speculated that pirating actually may HELP the artist because it generates a fanbase and interest that prompts people to go see the artist in concert.

By the way, record companies are no longer necessary to produce good music. Discuss.
 

keenan

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I can't produce it but I need to find it, there was a study out that, although I doubt it's entirely legit, speculated that pirating actually may HELP the artist because it generates a fanbase and interest that prompts people to go see the artist in concert.
I think there have been several, and personally I don't think it's very far-fetched at all. The one I think of was commissioned by Industry Canada, a presumably impartial party, and seems to be fairly credible and well-researched. You can read it here.
 

rhouck

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You KNOW copyright laws were intended from keeping someone from stealing someone else's work and pawning it off as their own.

This. The law is struggling to come to terms with the concept of people violating copyright for no financial gain. Similar issues with things like publishing trade secrets on the internet out of spite, rather than trying to sell/blackmail.

The internet has really thrown things for a loop and who knows when (if ever) logical deterrents will actually exist.
 

phide

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How about a federal flat fee per song for pirated music, or at least a cap.
I think $.99 is fair myself. Buy a copy of the track you downloaded. Buy copies for other users you distributed the entire file to. Problem solved; no hard feelings; have a great day!

If I got a letter from the RIAA for having downloaded a 17 track album, demanding $16.83 in penalties, I'd just write 'em a check. If they demand $50,000-$120,000 per track, I'll tell them I'll see them in court. They'll get absolutely nothing from me yet spend thousands in legal fees.

Your call, RIAA.
 

Elledan

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I think $.99 is fair myself. Buy a copy of the track you downloaded. Buy copies for other users you distributed the entire file to. Problem solved; no hard feelings; have a great day!

If I got a letter from the RIAA for having downloaded a 17 track album, demanding $16.83 in penalties, I'd just write 'em a check. If they demand $50,000-$120,000 per track, I'll tell them I'll see them in court. They'll get absolutely nothing from me yet spend thousands in legal fees.

Your call, RIAA.

Meanwhile here in the Netherlands downloading music is 100% legal as it's considered a personal copy :)

I doubt our local RIAA (BREIN) could change this no matter how hard they tried. And they are trying, believe me.
 

krupted

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god dammit, why cant they just go by what they fine people for stealing cd's? 24 songs? thats about 2 cd's. whatever you just fined the last kid from stealing from best buy (probably $1500?) then thats what jamie thomas should get, period. if anything he should get fined less because physically stealing media not only costs the victim more money, its also much more dangerous for everyone involved.
 

phide

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Meanwhile here in the Netherlands downloading music is 100% legal as it's considered a personal copy :)
Do you still buy a little/some/most/all of your music though? I'm comfortable with grabbing music illegally every now and then (a hard to find album or two a year, on average), but I wouldn't be at all comfortable with the idea of getting all of my music for free.
 

Exavior

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Says who? Break the law and pay the price. If you are a parent that follows what your children do online (and in their life/lives) then this isn't an issue, as you either know the child performs illegal acts while on the internet or you are assisting the child in performing illegal acts on the internet.

There really is no middle ground here, so far as I can tell. Seeing the fines reduced in this way is a nice start.

2.png

agreed

No, it isn't.


That would be more morally objectionable, in my opinion, as you'd be depriving an entity (the store) of a material possession (the CD). It's interesting how morality and law seldom go hand and hand, ain't it? :)

It shouldn't matter if it is a meterial object or a digital object. When you pay for a CD you arent' paying for the plastic and getting the content for free. Most likely you are paying for the content and getting the plastic for free. Same with a movie or software. It has nothing to do with morality. Somebody produced something be it a movie, music, or software and wants you to pay them $x per copy to obtain a copy. If you use a copy of it without paying them their money then they are going to want to come after you. If it was told to everyone that there was no punishment for downloading stuff like that and payment was optional then nobody would pay and they would not make money. As long as they keep fighting this stuff. Most people will pay, some will download and everything stays with in the balance.


$1.9M is obscene, unconstitutional, or just f@#&ing nuts. $54k is sane. $500 is reasonable.

To be more specific, $1.9M is a strong-arm abuse of the legal system as a weapon against lower socioeconomic castes.

the point of the fines are to stop people from doing it. Not to be fair or reasonable. Maybe they should change the law where if a guy rapes a woman and doesn't get her pregenant or hurt her too badly then he isn't charged. After all he did was have sex with her. Why should he be put in jail for it? That doesn't seem reasonable that a guy should go to jail just for having sex with a woman.

There is a simple way to not have to worry about the cost of the fines, or the time for a crime. That is to not do it. Nobody forced these people to download the music then turn around and rebroadcast it for others to download from them. They made that choice on their own. Same goes for you and anyone else that does it. You run the risk of getting caught and getting punished in some way. There are plenty of cheap ways to get the stuff legal. A zune pass or other service, can you get unlimited music. Netflix and stuff like that give you movie rentals, game fly can give you game rentals (no pc games though as far as I know).
 

SixtyWattMan

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agreed



It shouldn't matter if it is a meterial object or a digital object. When you pay for a CD you arent' paying for the plastic and getting the content for free. Most likely you are paying for the content and getting the plastic for free. Same with a movie or software. It has nothing to do with morality. Somebody produced something be it a movie, music, or software and wants you to pay them $x per copy to obtain a copy. If you use a copy of it without paying them their money then they are going to want to come after you. If it was told to everyone that there was no punishment for downloading stuff like that and payment was optional then nobody would pay and they would not make money. As long as they keep fighting this stuff. Most people will pay, some will download and everything stays with in the balance.




the point of the fines are to stop people from doing it. Not to be fair or reasonable. Maybe they should change the law where if a guy rapes a woman and doesn't get her pregenant or hurt her too badly then he isn't charged. After all he did was have sex with her. Why should he be put in jail for it? That doesn't seem reasonable that a guy should go to jail just for having sex with a woman.

There is a simple way to not have to worry about the cost of the fines, or the time for a crime. That is to not do it. Nobody forced these people to download the music then turn around and rebroadcast it for others to download from them. They made that choice on their own. Same goes for you and anyone else that does it. You run the risk of getting caught and getting punished in some way. There are plenty of cheap ways to get the stuff legal. A zune pass or other service, can you get unlimited music. Netflix and stuff like that give you movie rentals, game fly can give you game rentals (no pc games though as far as I know).

Comparing stealing music on the internet to rape... :rolleyes:

Stay classy Exavior.
 

MisterSparkle

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Am I in before someone makes a post that essentially says "If you dont do anything wrong, you've got nothing to fear?"
 

LeninGHOLA

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Making an example out of someone to attemp to prevent future crimes might be considered cruel and unusual punishment (unconstitutional). In effect, you are punishing a single person for what many people *might* do.

The rape comments were pretty far off the deep end :(
 

phide

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It shouldn't matter if it is a meterial object or a digital object. When you pay for a CD you arent' paying for the plastic and getting the content for free. Somebody produced something be it a movie, music, or software and wants you to pay them $x per copy to obtain a copy. If you use a copy of it without paying them their money then they are going to want to come after you.
It does matter, however (or at least it should). Here's why:

Let's say Label X produces an album. Let's assume it costs them $2/unit to manufacture it. Let's assume they sell it for $15. Your local CD retailer buys this item for $13 (let's assume). They take $13 out of their pocket and pass it to the label (it's actually more complicated than that, but let's keep it simple here). When you walk in and steal it, you're depriving that retailer of the $13 they paid for that individual unit. This is attributable deprivation.

When you download that album from BitTorrent (or whatever), you are not directly depriving the retailer of that CD. It could be said that you're depriving the label and the means for the retailer to acquire the revenue they might have received if you had purchased it from them, yet you could also argue that no attributable deprivation took place. With respect to personal use, I would say the majority of people would find illegal downloading to be less morally objectionable than outright theft, and that's a perfectly reasonable position.

I'm a content producer myself, yet I see no particular issue with piracy or illegal downloading/sharing. My attention is focused on producing content that has value and that consumers will pay for. There are many who could get it for free, but I find that acceptable. Digital piracy is just an element of the marketplace at the moment, and it can't possibly be suppressed. The smartest guy in the room is going to upload the torrent to popular trackers himself (or run his own tracker) rather than fight it, because the content is freely available anyway. You may as well use that to your advantage to build loyalty from your target audience for you and your brand.

...the point of the fines are to stop people from doing it.
And they seem to be largely ineffective. Maybe we should think of another way to manage the situation, don't you think?
 

IRSmurf

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$100 a song would be reasonable. That would get the message across.

This is not reasonable, it's just more reasonable that 80k / song.
 

Exavior

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Making an example out of someone to attemp to prevent future crimes might be considered cruel and unusual punishment (unconstitutional). In effect, you are punishing a single person for what many people *might* do.

The rape comments were pretty far off the deep end :(

How is it crual and unusual punishment? They aren't making an example out of anyone. The FBI warning on movies has told you for years that you can get fined up to $25,000 and 3 - 5 years in prision for copying the movie and for distributing it. Laws were set to protect the content, if you choose to ignore the laws then you are just being punished, you aren't being used to make an example anymore than people on trial for murder are being used to set an example to keep others from committing murder.
 

wolfen22

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How is it crual and unusual punishment? They aren't making an example out of anyone. The FBI warning on movies has told you for years that you can get fined up to $25,000 and 3 - 5 years in prision for copying the movie and for distributing it. Laws were set to protect the content, if you choose to ignore the laws then you are just being punished, you aren't being used to make an example anymore than people on trial for murder are being used to set an example to keep others from committing murder.

The point is that $2,000 dollars per song is still ridiculous. They're saying that by downloading the song, you've just cost them $2,000, which makes 0 sense. Even if they shared it with some people, I doubt that it was more than a handful. I think the few should be at most, $100 per song. When you start charging ridiculous amounts of money in fines, that people can't even afford, they just end up declaring bankruptcy. Fines need to be set that people can actually pay.
 

Nanan

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Am I in before someone makes a post that essentially says "If you dont do anything wrong, you've got nothing to fear?"

Until the laws get changed and you find yourself in violation. Mark my words, DVRs that can skip commercials will be illegal in 3 years or less.
 

Exavior

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It does matter, however (or at least it should). Here's why:

Let's say Label X produces an album. Let's assume it costs them $2/unit to manufacture it. Let's assume they sell it for $15. Your local CD retailer buys this item for $13 (let's assume). They take $13 out of their pocket and pass it to the label (it's actually more complicated than that, but let's keep it simple here). When you walk in and steal it, you're depriving that retailer of the $13 they paid for that individual unit. This is attributable deprivation.

When you download that album from BitTorrent (or whatever), you are not directly depriving the retailer of that CD. It could be said that you're depriving the label and the means for the retailer to acquire the revenue they might have received if you had purchased it from them, yet you could also argue that no attributable deprivation took place. With respect to personal use, I would say the majority of people would find illegal downloading to be less morally objectionable than outright theft, and that's a perfectly reasonable position.

I'm a content producer myself, yet I see no particular issue with piracy or illegal downloading/sharing. My attention is focused on producing content that has value and that consumers will pay for. There are many who could get it for free, but I find that acceptable. Digital piracy is just an element of the marketplace at the moment, and it can't possibly be suppressed. The smartest guy in the room is going to upload the torrent to popular trackers himself (or run his own tracker) rather than fight it, because the content is freely available anyway. You may as well use that to your advantage to build loyalty from your target audience for you and your brand.


And they seem to be largely ineffective. Maybe we should think of another way to manage the situation, don't you think?

No laws, punishments or fines are going to stop 100% of crimes. People still commit murder, people still sale drugs, people still rape, people still steal....

However not everyone does it, so it does work to some degree.
 

Kelby

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I bet the RIAA is FURIOUS!!!

All that time wasted to track down 1 dude that stole 24 songs and now they can't fucking pay their own salaries with the court rulings. Poor bastards.

worlds tiniest violin ----> p
 

stevedave

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Laws are not made of reason but rather wealth. Thus many laws are morally wrong.

America exchanged physical property for intellectual property as a source of income, thus the laws to protect intellectual property are extremely unjust as they need to protect one of their last forms of property.

things will not change for a long time but things will change.
 

Nanan

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If I got a letter saying pay up X million dollars I would likely book a flight to a non-extradite country within the next 30 minutes.
 

LeninGHOLA

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How is it crual and unusual punishment?

Millions in fines for a few songs downloaded, jailtime, more punishment than the rape situations you are talking about make it cruel and unusual.

Clearly, since you can get off easier by commiting violent crimes than sharing files, it is making examples of the people who do it. RIAA and MPAA officials have even said as much.
 

evilsofa

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LeninGHOLA

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No laws, punishments or fines are going to stop 100% of crimes. People still commit murder, people still sale drugs, people still rape, people still steal....

However not everyone does it, so it does work to some degree.

Is the only thing stopping you from stealing and raping the fact that there are laws against it? For most people, I would say no, not at all. The vast majority of humans don't do these things because they find them morally objectionable to outright evil.
 

Uncle

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I have my doubts about the judge and his verdict. I think he was pressured into lowing the fine hoping that it would be acceptable because the RIAA would have no way of controlling what would happen if it went to the Supreme court. As long as the case doesn't go to the Supreme Court and it looks like that is where they didn't want it to go, then they still can bullshit their way around, continue to function the way they have, using extortion, and payoffs.
 

Nanan

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Laws that protect society are good, laws that protect business in-spite of society are bad.

Personally I think laws and punishment should fit the crime ala. Law of Hammurabi, I also think laws and punishments should be public, when you see someone getting their head cut off it makes a bigger impression on you that murder is bad.
 

Nanan

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Is the only thing stopping you from stealing and raping the fact that there are laws against it? For most people, I would say no, not at all. The vast majority of humans don't do these things because they find them morally objectionable to outright evil.

Not all of us are "good christian types" who do good because its good, laws are useful as a means of deterrent in the case of things like murder and theft. Had I my way this world would be short two assholes that I doubt a single person outside of their family would miss, but they still walk because of the odd sense of justice the law asks for.
 

phide

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No laws, punishments or fines are going to stop 100% of crimes. People still commit murder, people still sale drugs, people still rape, people still steal....However not everyone does it, so it does work to some degree.
To some degree, yes. Still, I think the proposition of overhauling the system such that a deterrent to illegal filesharing is unnecessary is pretty intriguing. You download an album; you pay for it and you're made aware of the terms of the license for that album you downloaded.

That's what I'd like to see happen eventually, and a system like that would make quite a bit of sense.
 

Kelby

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If someone fined me 54K for stealing 24 songs, I would pay that money back by selling hard drugs to their kids.
 

Obi_Kwiet

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Says who? Break the law and pay the price. If you are a parent that follows what your children do online (and in their life/lives) then this isn't an issue, as you either know the child performs illegal acts while on the internet or you are assisting the child in performing illegal acts on the internet.

There really is no middle ground here, so far as I can tell. Seeing the fines reduced in this way is a nice start.

2.png

That's like saying we should execute speeders. These laws are designed to punish business who are making a large scale profit on someone elses' IP. Applying it to infringement for personal use is absurd.
 
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