Mum Fined $2m For Illegal Music File Sharing

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dong20, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. dong20

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    "Jammie Thomas-Rasset downloaded 24 songs then put the tracks on the file-sharing website Kazaa. But six record companies sued the 32-year-old single mother of four from Minnesota for breach of copyright.

    Thomas-Rasset denied having a Kazaa account and claimed the songs were downloaded by her children or ex-husband. But her arguments didn't convince the jury and she was ordered by the court to pay $1.92 million - or $80,000 per song.

    Alex Jacob from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the record business' trade body, said it was a significant ruling.
    "It's important to remind people what they're doing is illegal, and highly damaging. It threatens the whole music industry from musicians to record companies," he said.

    "Worldwide it costs the industry £40 billion a year. Record sales have been falling rapidly over the last ten years as illegal file-sharing booms, and more people chose to access music for free."

    This was a test case in the US. The American recording industry has sued thousands of people in the states for illegal downloading, but so far most have been settled out of court. Jammie Thomas-Rasset is the first to take her case to trial."

    I'm unsure of the relevance of her parental status, other than affording a potential out - by blaming her children (nice), but I agree with the judge who described the award as "wholly disproportionate" and "oppressive."

    A fresh new low for the Music industry. Talk about a lack of perspective. Lots more to be said here, but then, that's what the thread is for ...

    Mum Fined $2m For Illegal Music File Sharing - Yahoo! News UK

    PS, I posted this here, not in etc because I believe this is a political issue, one that goes beyond 'mere' copyright infringement.
     
    #1 dong20, Jun 20, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  2. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    Seriously, who can afford to pay judicial damages like that?
    Man, I miss my old mini-tower. It had a huge anti-RIAA sticker on the top.
     
  3. Shandforthe Shroomstick

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    This is such a controversial topic in my opinion. If someone is going to offer you something free, you're going to take it. If two guys are selling, let's say..apples. One has them for 1.50 each, and the other is giving them away. Which one are you going to go to?

    I also don't think it's fair to single out the individual downloading them. If you want to stop it, stop trying to make examples out of people and go after those that offer out these free things. ~File sharing companies/websites~ You get on a file sharing website and what are you going to see? A whole section on MUSIC. I mean really...If you really want to stop it, put an end to those who are offering it out to the world.

    Besides..in this economy, how many people can go out and afford to buy CDs left and right? Of course you're going to go the free route..Idk, just my opinion on the matter. ~_~
     
  4. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    I'm all for artists getting paid and for labels going after culprits that steal everything and share music for anyone to grab. But there's a point where these so-called lawsuits for sharing music becomes excessive and this is one of these cases. Many CDs, especially mixed ones, come with high track counts and I've seen a few compilations that had 24 tracks or more in them. At 99 cents a download (through iTunes), you're roughly looking at $24-$26 with taxes. There is NO reason why the RIAA should be going after someone who only downloaded this amount of music with a $2 Million lawsuit. It isn't as if this extremely small amount of free downloading is doing ANY damage to the music industry. They can talk about the numbers of lost revenue all they want. Most of the reason why they lose money is because they were too busy fighting the technology back when it should have been used in the first place. Perhaps if major labels would have adapted Napster back in the late 90s to help set new standards for MP3 downloads, implemented a pay per download system and not waited until nearly a decade later for Apple to do it, people wouldn't be so adamant to try and download everything for free now? By the time this all changed, many more peer-to-peer sites emerged and people continued to grab music for free. By the end of it, the problem was so large that the music industry could never repair it.

    Kazza, as well as many other download sites, work on a system where people need to make files available for others to grab. The people doing the downloading isn't the problem. The real problem arises with the people who actually place the music available for others to download. They are the ones doing the sharing. Some people leave their share folders wide open for people to see, and they have thousands upon thousands of tracks just sitting there to be grabbed by anyone. THESE are the people that need to be shut down and sued... not the person who goes on and grabs barely a CD's worth of music.

    I, being a music lover, own LOTS of music on CD and on wax (hence the nickname). I don't always carry my entire record collection with me, but if I'm somewhere in this big world of ours and I wanted to listen to a song I would also go to a website and download it. The RIAA has made it a point to just go after anyone with lawsuits, and probably don't even check to see whether or not a person actually purchased the music in some fashion in the past. If I bought a song back in the late 80s on Cassette Single, the label has already made its money from me for the purchase of that song. Legally, I SHOULD be able to download it in the future. Alas, none of this goes into the minds of greedy record execs when they go after people for downloading tracks.

    I also make my own music, and I get a little upset when I see my music being shared without my permission. However, once a record is out there I cannot control where it will go. Artists and labels need to be more focused on making music that is actually worth purchasing and focus on live performing, instead of trying to sue all of the freeloaders who don't pay for downloads. These people are just like the ones who would tape a song off the FM radio. They had no intention of buying the record anyhow, so the fact that they downloaded the record for free doesn't really mean a thing.
     
    #4 B_VinylBoy, Jun 20, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  5. Zeuhl34

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    When I read this story on my homepage, I remember she said something along the lines of that she's really not going to try because she can't afford it.
     
  6. HazelGod

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    As you can well imagine, this case has been closely followed by the tech community, particularly those with a legal bent.

    This was easily the most popular story on Slashdot this past Thursday...here's an excerpt from the OP there calling into question the legal competence of the team representing Ms. Thomas:


    I expect this will be appealed.
     
  7. FuzzyKen

    FuzzyKen New Member

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    Many years ago before retiring from a different portion of the entertainment industry, I was a Union Musician and a member of the Local 47 in Hollywood, CA. Because my College Degrees were Music with a Law Minor, I had also learned early on about belonging to A.S.C.A.P. For those who are not familiar this is the American Society of Composers Arrangers and Publishers. There are people who refer to them unkindly as the Music Police.

    On multiple occasions these people helped me preserve my work and get paid for the labors I had done.

    ASCAP is the second largest litigant in the world. They do not back down period. If you work with them up-front on issues they are great, composers arrangers and publishers often waive royalties for numerous reasons. When I was doing arranging I waived fees numerous times.

    I think the fine here is rediculous, but I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for the individual who violated copyright. To this very day on rare occasion, because of contracts I had, I still get an occasional royalty check. These people were how I got paid for my work.

    It is true that there are rules that are absolutely idiotic. As with all musicians I also simultaneously sold high end pianos and church organs. In addition to that I taught both piano and organ as well.

    Most of you probably do not know that to be legal, I could in the demonstration of a piano, if the demo music was under BMI or ASCAP protection, I could not play as a demonstration any more than (8) measures of music or according to the rules I would owe ASCAP licensing/performance fees. I had never heard of any of us getting in trouble for that one, but, the rules for licensing and use were very clear on that at that time. There is in fact TONS of music that is under "public domain" and therefore has no fees due for it's usage.

    Music for free is really not free. Illegal usage and copyright violation is one of the reasons that sheet music for various instruments is now so very high in cost. If the horrific copyright violations were not taking place recorded media you buy in the form of CD's and DVD's would be about 1/4 of the cost you pay right now. The idea is to see to it that those who originated and created it get something.

    I am not for banning public music in any manner there are times when this in fact sells recordings and or sheet music. The problem relates to the particulars of the incident.

    I am saddened for the excessiveness of the penalties, but as far as the conviction I am not saddened in the slightest. . . .




     
  8. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    There was another lawsuit like this in the past regarding Kazza, where one mom was sued for a ridiculous sum of money because her 12 year old daughter used it to download the theme songs of the TV shows like "Family Matters". That one was even more ridiculous than this one because of the age of the so-called criminal, and the fact that some of the songs weren't even available for purchase anyhow.

    Kansas City Music - Courting Disaster - page 1
     
  9. tripod

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    I can download an entire album in less time than it takes my computer to rip and encode a CD. Sometimes I just download the CD instead of being bothered to walk over to my music collection, find the CD, walk back to the computer, put it in the tray and rip and encode it. We are talking about maybe cutting the CD ripping process time in half. Plus, when I rip a CD, my computer is taken over and is out of commission until the rip is done. When I download a CD, my computer can still multi-task during the download and decompression process... it's a win win.

    The only thing that is better when you are ripping a CD is having the peace of mind that every track is what it says that it is and that the "songwriter" tag is present and correct. I'm anal about my mp3 tags... and I like the songwriter tag filled out correctly, but I can find that info on wikipedia if I have to.

    It's better to download music from blogs using a premium rapidshare account... a German search warrant is required to see one's info and it is rather difficult to get here in the states... plus, rapidshare has a proven track record of attempting to shield it's customers from the authorities. Kazaa is old and nobody uses it anymore, but limewire is what everyone uses and that is where the attention is... so the blogs are a much safer way of file sharing. If I am an artist and don't like my file being shared by rapidshare or megaupload and know the link... rapidshare will remove it promptly after being contacted. It's a much more intersesting game of cat and mouse than limewire which is like a gigantic store where they are letting everybody steal whatever they want like in the "The Chappelle Show" internet skit.

    I absolutely cannot believe the amount of the fine, it's absolutely Draconian.

    We as consumers of the recording industry need to be able to legally make a copy of our CD's, until we do, I will not be buying any more retail CDs and will just pay a dollar a song or ten dollars an album through iTunes.
     
  10. transformer_99

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    Well from what I read she could settle for the $ 3-5K still, the industry would still allow her that, even after going thru this whole process. That's either fact or just lip service in the story ? $ 3-5K over 5 years paid monthly, $ 50-83/month ? Maybe she gets even longer to pay it off ?
     
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