Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 17:41 UTC
Legal Like many of you, I kind of lost my faith in the US justice system (when it comes to piracy cases) when a judge awarded USD 1.92 million in damages for downloading 24 songs in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case. At the same time, also like many of you, I was very pleased with the outcome of the OiNK case in the United Kingdom last week. As it turns out, some of my faith in the US system has been restored: the USD 1.92 fine has been reduced by 97%, to a mere USD 54000.
Order by: Score:
US judge
by Cody Evans on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 17:53 UTC
Cody Evans
Member since:
2009-08-14

It's refreshing to see common sense used in the U.S. judicial system, it's a rare occurrence...

Reply Score: 2

RE: US judge
by Ford Prefect on Mon 25th Jan 2010 15:52 UTC in reply to "US judge"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

It's not so rare actually. The extreme cases just get press all the time, and then there are urban legends.

Not that the U.S. judical system is perfect, actually it could be a lot better, see for example the German system. You just should stay with the facts.

See for example Hans Reiser's case, where the system worked very well. :-P

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: US judge
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE: US judge"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

I agree. While there are a number of high-profile cases where things aren't working out so well, they're the exception, not the rule. There's a huge volume of pretty mundane trials -- parking tickets, divorces, workers' comp cases, possession charges, and so on -- where the system on the whole works pretty damned well.

It might be worth considering that the problem may not be the courts, so much as it's the legislature. The judiciary really just evaluates and applies the laws that the Congress feeds 'em, and our dear friends in Congress are the guys who decided that file sharing was apparently the greatest existential threat to our society.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: US judge
by Ford Prefect on Tue 26th Jan 2010 11:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: US judge"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

So true!

Reply Score: 2

@_@;
by bornagainenguin on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 18:23 UTC
bornagainenguin
Member since:
2005-08-07

Really? Common sense? Really?

This fine is still the equivalent of the cost of a nice house. It's still way more than the average person makes in a year's salary in America. It's still far far too much for the sin of making available twenty four songs--two albums of music, if even that!

The older sentence which was just as ludicrous was large enough to be useful as propaganda, now this reduction destroys that value while still ruining Jammie Thomas-Rasset's life and destroying her economically.

At least with the older sentence it was possible to point to it and show the average person just how out of control the copyright lobby has become.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 12

RE: @_@;
by righard on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 19:51 UTC in reply to "@_@;"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

It is the cost of a impossible cheap slum in the Netherlands. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: @_@;
by re_re on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 21:08 UTC in reply to "@_@;"
re_re Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know where you live, but USD 54k would would buy a cardboard box in an ally where I live, and the cost of living is pretty average here in southeast Wisconsin. As far as the average income...... 54k is not to far off of the average income in the states.
That having been said, I still think 54k is crazy, I could understand a $500 fine and a week of community service.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: @_@;
by cb88 on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 21:44 UTC in reply to "RE: @_@;"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

yeah on that topic urban inflation is also insane... ~700k in atlanta for a duplex is insane IMO it would be maybe $70k around here and still have a hard time selling it

Edited 2010-01-23 21:44 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: @_@;
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 16:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @_@;"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

I live in Midtown, Atlanta -- one of the nicer areas, I think I can say, altho I've only been here for 14 months, so a native can correct me. I rent my apartment, I didn't buy it, so I can't tell you exactly what the price to buy my unit would be -- but, I pay about $900 a month in rent, and it's a pretty decent place (albeit a one-bedroom).

It's my understanding that those astronomical, absurd prices are on new units. Once they get more then a few years old, the price drops quickly -- there are plenty of other, similar-to-or-larger-than-mine apartments that are available for less than $1,500 a month around here, too. Apparently, there exists a large number of people with lots of money to spend, who highly, highly value their apartments being really, really new; these people massively inflate the price on any apartment that's less than two years old.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: @_@;
by bornagainenguin on Mon 25th Jan 2010 04:12 UTC in reply to "RE: @_@;"
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

I grew up in central Illinois, USA. I did a quick search for houses $25,000 USD to $50,000 USD in that region and this is what came up:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ylqrgcq

Some of these places undoubtedly have issues, but for many people they're home. To anyone not making well over $50,000 USD a year, this fine is a crushing impossibility. This fine is the very definition of a cruel and unusual punishment, which is precisely its intent. The **AA want their sentences to be high enough to cause fear and panic, while being low enough that those who could fight against them will hold their peace until it is too late to protest or challenge their cartel.

This ruling is not the victory it is being portrayed as.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: @_@;
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @_@;"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

I grew up in central Illinois, USA. I did a quick search for houses $25,000 USD to $50,000 USD in that region and this is what came up:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ylqrgcq

Some of these places undoubtedly have issues, but for many people they're home. To anyone not making well over $50,000 USD a year, this fine is a crushing impossibility. This fine is the very definition of a cruel and unusual punishment, which is precisely its intent. The **AA want their sentences to be high enough to cause fear and panic, while being low enough that those who could fight against them will hold their peace until it is too late to protest or challenge their cartel.

This ruling is not the victory it is being portrayed as.

--bornagainpenguin


I don't know about that: I think that that dramatic a reduction -- essentially on exactly the grounds you're talking about, that a huge, disproportionate fine in the name of deterrence is a mild form of cruel and unusual punishment -- is, in general, a very good thing. I dare wonder if this decision might be used to dramatically reduce the fines awarded in other file-sharing case -- I hope that we might be seeing some kind of precedent set here.

Is the fine still comically too high? Sure, but I think a 97% reduction on grounds that might be generalizable to many other cases is still something worth celebrating. ;)

Edited 2010-01-25 16:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: @_@;
by Cody Evans on Sun 24th Jan 2010 00:28 UTC in reply to "@_@;"
Cody Evans Member since:
2009-08-14

Sorry for the way it came out, I was actually referring to this part:

"In the case of individuals who infringe by using peer‐to‐peer networks, the potential gain from infringement is access to free music, not the possibility of hundreds of thousands - or even millions - of dollars in profits," Judge Davis wrote, "The need for deterrence cannot justify a USD 2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music.

Reply Score: 1

RE: @_@;
by JonathanBThompson on Sun 24th Jan 2010 01:30 UTC in reply to "@_@;"
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Anywhere that you live where $54,000 is enough to buy a nice house in the US is no place you'll be able to afford it based on your crazy assumption that the average person makes nowhere near that: $54,000 a year is a salary someone with many types of college degrees can command straight out of college. Of course, if you don't go to college, there are fewer jobs like that at that age, but they're not completely out of reach.

Back in 97, I bought a house in Indianapolis Indiana, a place where housing is well below the US median, with 1309 square feet of space on a fairly small lot, and it cost me $90K then. Before that, in Terre Haute, Indiana, I was looking at houses in 96. I could have bought a house in 96 in Terre Haute for $30K, but it wouldn't have been a nice house, and... it would still have been in Terre Haute, where only doctors, lawyers, and other such types of high-end professionals have meaningfully paid jobs above $50K a year that aren't subject to going away. You see, Terre Haute has very little in the way of high-paying jobs: other than the local universities/colleges and hospital, there's not much in the way of manufacturing or anything that pays all that much overall, and the population base is around 100,00 in the county, total, and in many cases (say, software development, engineering of many types) if you lose your job there, your next place to find relevant employment is... Indianapolis, 70 miles due east, where even in 96, the only houses you'd be able to buy in Indianapolis for $54K are in slums and have bullet holes in them (I looked!). At the time I was laid off in Indianapolis, with < 10 years experience as a paid developer or anything in that realm, I was very close to $54K a year, in 2001, in a place where the salary is a LOT lower than most places for a comparable job due to the costs of living differences.

So, any place where $54K gets you a nice house had better be a place you want to live in and have no need for employment that pays much, preferably retirement, because it's clear due to the law of supply and demand that there's not much demand for the supply of housing because there's not much supply in the way of viable employment where employees can demand a meaningful wage.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: @_@;
by WereCatf on Sun 24th Jan 2010 02:55 UTC in reply to "RE: @_@;"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Do take into account that the definition of a nice house can vary, especially if the person speaking doesn't speak English natively. To me that'd also include a comfortable apartment in some multi-story building, with no yard of my own or such. Such apartments can be surprisingly cheap depending where you plan to move and how much space you need to be comfortable (atleast here in Finland, I don't know how it goes in the US). Again, to me anything above 45m2 is perfectly comfortable whereas some people want 120m2 even when living alone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: @_@;
by JonathanBThompson on Sun 24th Jan 2010 03:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @_@;"
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

In the US, when a "house" is described, the standard definition is a free-standing building. As such, your 45 m^2 apartment is a 2 car garage in the US, or may be an efficiency/studio apartment in the US that's one large room outside of the bathroom usually being closed off. For those that are used to US measurements, 45m^2 is 484 square feet, or a square 22 feet on a side. In the US, likely the majority of houses aren't allowed to be built that small: there are minimal size requirements in many jurisdictions that are at least around twice that large for a free-standing house, however wasteful that may seem. Thus, no, you aren't going to get "a nice house" in the US for $54,000 in a reasonable place to live, that qualifies as a "house" because that would be a decent garage for size, but that'd be the entire house.

I myself grew up in a house a bit over 100m^2, but keep in mind, that was with 6 brothers and sisters and my parents, and that house was built in the early 1900's (about 1913). That house, when it was sold after my Mom died, was in a condition it couldn't meet code and couldn't be made to meet modern code without basically destroying it, on the edge of the downtown district of a small city north of Detroit: in 2000, it sold for around $120K then, before this big real estate bubble ran up. Yes, sufficiently large to raise a family, but it was never what could be considered "nice" for the house itself when my family lived in it, though the location was excellent, which, to me, helps define whether or not a house is worthwhile. In the US, a "nice house" for $54K is likely so far away from any employment that what you save in mortgage payments you more than pay for just in traveling expenses to and from work to pay for it, never mind your time presumably being worth something: for whatever reason, a lot of people decide they want a house so bad that they commute over 50 miles one-way to employment, keeping in mind that very little of the US has any useful mass-transit available at all, so they have to maintain cars and feed them gas to do so, often through traffic jams. For example, "rush hour" in the Seattle area tends to be from about 3:30 P.M. to about 7 P.M. on weekdays for the afternoon: since moving to this area, I've worked towards attempting to eliminate/reduce any meaningful time commuting, since I've seen many times where it takes 55 minutes to go 5 miles or less. Oh, yes: not only can you not get a "nice house" in this area for $54K, you can't even get a slumlord condominium that's 45m^2 for that in this county, and a lot would cost more than that, bare, and while the Seattle area isn't nearly the cheapest real estate in the US, it's definitely not the most expensive! Why is it as expensive as I'm saying ($200K will get you a cruddy small house in bad condition next to SeaTac airport in their flight path, after the real estate crash, unless you buy a house on auction)? Well, again: it's a mostly desirable area to live, even with the reputation for always raining, and... there's far better nearby employment options than anywhere where you could find *any* house in the US for $54K.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: @_@;
by Laurence on Sun 24th Jan 2010 10:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @_@;"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Do take into account that the definition of a nice house can vary, especially if the person speaking doesn't speak English natively. To me that'd also include a comfortable apartment in some multi-story building, with no yard of my own or such. Such apartments can be surprisingly cheap depending where you plan to move and how much space you need to be comfortable (atleast here in Finland, I don't know how it goes in the US). Again, to me anything above 45m2 is perfectly comfortable whereas some people want 120m2 even when living alone.


Generally speaking, when one defines a house, one thinks of a house rather than a flat, apartment or anything else that is not at least a terrace.

With this in mind, you'd be hard pushed to find a house for 54k USD that wasn't either run down or in a bad neighbourhood (and this is coming from a UK citizen who took out is first mortgage on a "cheap" property not 3 months ago)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: @_@;
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @_@;"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Yeah: while you might not be able to get a proper house that cheaply, you probably would be able to find a very comfortable apartment/condo/whatever at around that. I live in a pretty comfortable apartment, and my rent is pretty damned low. And I don't consider myself much the worse for living in an apartment rather than a house, especially given the difference in cost.

Reply Score: 2

RE: @_@;
by NeoX on Mon 25th Jan 2010 18:01 UTC in reply to "@_@;"
NeoX Member since:
2006-02-19

Really? Common sense? Really?

This fine is still the equivalent of the cost of a nice house. It's still way more than the average person makes in a year's salary in America. It's still far far too much for the sin of making available twenty four songs--two albums of music, if even that!


While I agree that 54k is still excessive, where in America can you buy a "nice" house for 54k? You sure can't buy one for that here in California. If you could, I would buy 4 of them. Heck my Mom's motorhome cost $130,000.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: @_@;
by bornagainenguin on Mon 25th Jan 2010 18:43 UTC in reply to "RE: @_@;"
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

NeoX asked...

While I agree that 54k is still excessive, where in America can you buy a "nice" house for 54k?


See here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/ylqrgcq

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

What I don't get
by darknexus on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 18:30 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

First off, I agree the previous fine, and this one still, are ridiculously high. What I do not get however, is I see a lot of people saying that she should not be punished at all. Here's the thing: She broke the law, she needs to pay the consequences. I'm a firm believer that consequences should be proportionate to the harm done. A fair fine for this, I'd say, maybe $500 to $2,000. The current fines are ridiculous, but by no means should she get off scott free. Just because you don't like the law doesn't mean it doesn't apply to you.

Reply Score: 6

RE: What I don't get
by WereCatf on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 18:43 UTC in reply to "What I don't get"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

A fair fine for this, I'd say, maybe $500 to $2,000.

I personally agree. That's still a punishment, especially for someone who has low income, but is not ridiculously high nor will cause that person to go bankcrupt. Unfortunately, RIAA wants to cause maximum damage without any thought process involved at all, and even worse, it seems most US judges and courts rather play by RIAA's rules and do as they wish.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What I don't get
by frajo on Sun 24th Jan 2010 13:13 UTC in reply to "What I don't get"
frajo Member since:
2007-06-29

Here's the thing: She broke the law, she needs to pay the consequences.
Here's another thing: Many people broke the law without any need to pay the consequences. Why should poor people pay for a small damage when mighty people don't pay for huge damage?

Reply Score: 2

Hefty fines
by spaceLem on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 18:37 UTC
spaceLem
Member since:
2007-07-26

What's the standard fine for drink driving, with or without causing death these days?

Is it just possible that the law seems to favour property over human life? If so, I think the law makers seriously need to be made aware of the implications of what they're doing.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Hefty fines
by hollovoid on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 20:39 UTC in reply to "Hefty fines"
hollovoid Member since:
2005-09-21

I agree, especially on the DWI part.

The average cost of a DWI after lawyer, fines, probation (if the judge goes that way) counseling (its forced in some cases) is upwards of 10k in a first offense. And this is doing something irresponsible that could end up killing another person. In NO WAY should downloading, and sharing files cost more than that.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Hefty fines
by FunkyELF on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Hefty fines"
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

I agree, especially on the DWI part.

The average cost of a DWI after lawyer, fines, probation (if the judge goes that way) counseling (its forced in some cases) is upwards of 10k in a first offense. And this is doing something irresponsible that could end up killing another person. In NO WAY should downloading, and sharing files cost more than that.


It doesn't cost more than that. Divided by 24, thats only $2,250 per song. So a DUI is about 4 times as expensive as downloading a song.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hefty fines
by hollovoid on Mon 25th Jan 2010 16:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hefty fines"
hollovoid Member since:
2005-09-21

The original fine was, and the fact that they want that much per song for a non lethal crime is detestable. even 500 dollars per download is still a deterrent for most any downloader these days, not many people I know could even afford to pay that if they got nabbed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hefty fines
by mrhasbean on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 23:46 UTC in reply to "Hefty fines"
mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

What's the standard fine for drink driving, with or without causing death these days?

Is it just possible that the law seems to favour property over human life? If so, I think the law makers seriously need to be made aware of the implications of what they're doing.


There is one factor that will inevitably increase the severity of penalties for things that are considered to be crimes - ie. is this a hot topic with the public and can we make an example of this person to show we are doing something to "protect" Joe and Joanne Lunchbucket and / or our corporate buddies who pay for our election campaigns?

Sound cynical?

Man's Lamborghini impounded under anti-hooning laws because a mechanic at the garage that was servicing it was caught doing 100k/h over the speed limit in it.

An 8 year old put on sex offenders list for exposing his bum in class, and another charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate. (In most countries that have these lists you're more likely to find a 14 year old on there than a 54 year old!)

Laws introduced to require mandatory (and very expensive) pool fencing around even $200 inflatable pools following toddler drownings in fenced, in-ground pools where the children were left unattended near the pool.

Man released for good behaviour after serving 8 months of a six year sentence for shooting his three kids (he was supposedly under significant stress when he did it), meanwhile a 19 year old man receives a six year custodial sentence, is added to a sex offenders list (for life) and upon release is required to wear an electronic tracking device (for life) because of a consensual relationship with a 14 year old (which in many countries of the world is not even illegal).

Man arrested and charged under anti-terrorism laws for commenting that the only way to get any attention on a flight would be to take a bomb on board.

Woman walks free after stabbing her 15 month old daughter to death because she actually thrust the knife at her partner with whom she was arguing - she apparently wasn't aware he was holding the baby at the time.

Drug barons and war lords receive presidential pardons yet a student sits in jail for 22 years (reduced from death on appeal) for downloading and distributing an article about women's rights.

Man jailed and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets seized for producing an all natural skin cancer cure and marketing it as such without performing the millions of dollars worth of tests to have it approved by the FDA.

:and of course you can always go scouring the so-called news and current affairs sites to find hundreds of other examples every day. The law is pure shit and you know where shit comes from - we call it the legal system - and it's full of arseholes.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Hefty fines
by Doc Pain on Sun 24th Jan 2010 00:46 UTC in reply to "Hefty fines"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Is it just possible that the law seems to favour property over human life?


At least in today's Germany it is the case. Imagine you get beaten: The felon gets accused of battery, that's a minor crime, punished with a low money fine or probation (which does not have any effect, because the felon doesn't "feel" anything). If the felon beats you and takes your money, even if it's just 5 Euro, the act is placed in an upper class of crimes (here: robbery and severe battery), causing imprisonment or a very high fine. Furthermore, the vitcim has very few rights in the German criminal system. In opposite to the felon, the victim is not allowed to study the court files. If the victim requires satisfaction (e. g. "Give my money back" or "You destroyed my legs, I can't walk anymore"), they have to begin a new civil court process (which can last many years) on their own costs - with NO guarantee that, even if the felon was adjudged by law already, they will gain anything in this process (except costs).

In the case discussed, the (still high) fine would "buy" the felon to beat multiple persons ready for hospital and steal all the money they're carrying.

By the way, I do agree with the concept of following the law and the ruling to call for a fine, but it's not an amount fitting the crime. A lower fine would have been completely okay, valid, and understandable, maybe even by moral judgement.

If so, I think the law makers seriously need to be made aware of the implications of what they're doing.


No, law makers don't think about implications because they will never be subject to them. They are more equal than others. The same is true for those in whose interests laws are made.

In Germany, state officials and politicians, as well as wealthy upper-class representatives of industry, financial sector and public authorities can, in the case of a criminal trial, if it should ever take place, use their money to buy "no consequences", if the law doesn't already say that they are immune and / or not responsible for their decisions and acts.

So maybe if the women would be the wife of a federal state minister, a mayor or somebody "important", nothing would have happened...

Reply Score: 3

OK let me get this straight
by fury on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 19:03 UTC
fury
Member since:
2005-09-23

If you applied the original damage model from this case to the OINK case, the admin would've been charged $720,000,000,000 ($720 billion). That's $80,000 per song, 600,000 albums of approx. 15 songs a piece (a total of 9,000,000 songs). Now, the OINK guy didn't actually obtain 600,000 albums, but he was making money from them. If you apply the new model that's $20,250,000,000 ($20.25 billion). Ellis made approx $322,320 from OINK.

So how's that. When someone profits from a music piracy venture, they must pay back their profit to the industry 62,825 times! Even when you cut that in half that's still $10.125 billion, 31,412.5 times his profit.

The Rasset model is not only ridiculous for noncommercial piracy, but for commercial piracy too!

Reply Score: 5

Uploading
by DrillSgt on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 20:46 UTC
DrillSgt
Member since:
2005-12-02

The fine is still ridiculous, but at the same time, this is the law in the US. It may suck, but that's just the way it is. I'm glad I live in a country where downloading content - even if it has been uploaded illegally - is not against the law.


Thom, I too live in a country where downloading is not illegal, and it is called the US. This case was about the sharing/uploading of the content over P2P networks, namely kazaa. The fine was for the distribution of the content. I still disagree with the outcome, thinking it is no different than if I hand a CD to my neighbor to borrow, which is apparently also illegal. The fine is still absolutely ridiculous.

Read about the actual case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_v._Thomas

make sure to go into the external links as well so you actually can see what everything was about.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Uploading
by daveak on Sun 24th Jan 2010 10:32 UTC in reply to "Uploading"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

I see comments like this all the time that state downloading isn't illegal and often wonder what is the basis for such a comment? The act of downloading reassembles a copy of the file on your machine and stores it, and is therefore in breach of copyright law. If computer software requires an eula to be allowed to make a copy into the computers memory then surely creating a copy by downloading also requires the permission of the copyright holder.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Uploading
by WereCatf on Sun 24th Jan 2010 11:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Uploading"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I see comments like this all the time that state downloading isn't illegal and often wonder what is the basis for such a comment? The act of downloading reassembles a copy of the file on your machine and stores it, and is therefore in breach of copyright law.

There difference here is that you're not distributing the said material if you just download it for yourself. Copyright law explicitly denies distribution of copyrighted materials without permission, not the act of having such yourself or even modifying such works for personal use. There is no clause in copyright law which makes it illegal to f.ex. draw on a famous painting if you own it, and drawing on a painting is indeed an act of modifying copyrighted content. The same applies to computer software; you can modify it, you can discard parts of it, you can do whatever you please as long as you don't distribute said software.

So, in essence, if you obtain a copy of some copyrighted work, be it a painting, song, game, book etc, you're not the one committing fraud. It's the one who passes such copy to you.

Now, do keep in mind that this doesn't apply to the US.

If computer software requires an eula to be allowed to make a copy into the computers memory

That applies only to the US as far as I know. It sure doesn't apply here, nor do I think it applies in Netherlands.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Uploading
by daveak on Sun 24th Jan 2010 13:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Uploading"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

At least in UK it is illegal to make copies even for personal use. Everyone who rips their cds to store on their media server or mp3 player is technically breaking the law here even though you haven't distributed it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Uploading
by WereCatf on Sun 24th Jan 2010 13:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Uploading"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

That's one of the reasons why I am glad I don't live there ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Uploading
by daveak on Sun 24th Jan 2010 19:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Uploading"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

One of the reasons, and we have plenty more reasons from which to select another ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Uploading
by DrillSgt on Sun 24th Jan 2010 16:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Uploading"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

I see comments like this all the time that state downloading isn't illegal and often wonder what is the basis for such a comment? The act of downloading reassembles a copy of the file on your machine and stores it, and is therefore in breach of copyright law. If computer software requires an eula to be allowed to make a copy into the computers memory then surely creating a copy by downloading also requires the permission of the copyright holder.


Downloading itself is not in breach only because it is stated that it is not in the copyright law. The current copyright law does however specifically talk about sharing/uploading. In other words, the basis for such has been reading through http://www.copyright.gov/, including the FAQs. That is where you will find everything to do with US copyright law, which this case followed.

Reply Score: 2

97%
by invent00r on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 21:15 UTC
invent00r
Member since:
2009-04-27

Now let's do another 97% reduction on 54k and it will start to look more acceptable.

And even so not really.

Reply Score: 4

out of all proportion
by transputer_guy on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 23:15 UTC
transputer_guy
Member since:
2005-07-08

Over on Treehugger there was a story of a fireman driving past a cyclist who had a child on a back seat of his bicycle. The fireman took offense to the cyclist and pulled over and shot the father point blank in the head because it wasn't right to be carrying a child on back of bicycle on such a busy road. He didn't die though. Of course the child saw their own father getting shot too. The fireman got 3 months if I recall right.

Mean while steal a couple of songs and get a $2M fine. What on earth is the fairness of these two punishments, that says that attempted killing a person is worth a tiny fraction of a song. No wonder so many people with guns in the USA will kill for almost nothing, the justice system has got punishments upside down.

Reply Score: 6

RE: out of all proportion
by WereCatf on Sat 23rd Jan 2010 23:35 UTC in reply to "out of all proportion"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Mean while steal a couple of songs and get a $2M fine. What on earth is the fairness of these two punishments, that says that attempted killing a person is worth a tiny fraction of a song.

As said before, RIAA and all the companies behind it got really deep pockets, and apparently the justice system is different for people with lots of money to throw around. The court favors people who can provide the judge and jury with all kinds of pleasures after the trial, unfortunately.

Personally, I sure as hell wouldn't count even 25 000 songs worth a single human life.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: out of all proportion
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 17:13 UTC in reply to "RE: out of all proportion"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

I am... highly dubious of this story. Having said that, I think the problem is more the RIAA buying legislators than the RIAA bribing courts. While having deep pockets can obviously be an advantage at trial, I would be extremely surprised if the RIAA had gone as far as actually bribing a judge or jury (or even contacting them outside of the trial, which would be extremely illegal, as far as I understand it).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: out of all proportion
by WereCatf on Mon 25th Jan 2010 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: out of all proportion"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I would be extremely surprised if the RIAA had gone as far as actually bribing a judge or jury (or even contacting them outside of the trial, which would be extremely illegal, as far as I understand it).

I wouldn't be surprised if RIAA did exactly that. And besides, they don't have to contact the jury or judge during the trial, nor do they even have to contact them at all. There's plenty of ways of delivering all kinds of goods and services without it being clear whom their from.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: out of all proportion
by boldingd on Mon 25th Jan 2010 18:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: out of all proportion"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

It is still exceedingly unlikely. That type of conduct is highly illegal, and the risks would be tremendous. I do believe we have a pretty low corruption rate in our judiciary, and I'm pretty confident that the RIAA could not systematically engage in such conduct without being caught pretty damned quick, and then flayed alive for it.

And they'd be crazy to do it, when it's both much more effective and safe and legal to just lobby the heck out of Congress.

Reply Score: 2

Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

This is a reasonable fine.

Don't forget that she did break the law, and then she later lied about it on multiple occasions. She also tried to hide evidence.

That makes her deserving of the $54,000 fine.

Other people mention minuscule sentences for violent crimes. People should know that those are the rare exceptions, and not the norm.

Reply Score: 1

mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Other people mention minuscule sentences for violent crimes. People should know that those are the rare exceptions, and not the norm.


Methinks you need to go do some research. The severity of the punishment handed down in the majority of cases you will find in today's modern legal systems is directly proportional to the perceived social impact (which is often a public perception created through propaganda) of the "crime" and how it will effect the voting public. People have been desensitised to violent crimes through TV shows, movies and computer games - unless it is an (often perceived) crime against what our society wants to class as "children".

Example. Drink driving VS music downloading.

Drink driving kills people. Drink driving maims people. We see copious quantities of advertisements telling people not to drink and drive. HOWEVER, because the biggest majority of the population will at some point go out for dinner or to a party, have a few drinks and drive home, actually punishing it as it should be punished would create quite a public backlash - could you imagine the cries if a high profile local in your area had their vehicle impounded and lost their license because they were caught 0.005 over the limit? In other words it hits too close to home for most people. AND, it would impact negatively on the INCOME of the alcohol companies, many of which I'm sure contribute heftily to election campaigns.

Who does music downloading kill or maim? Nobody of course, but it effects the INCOME of the artists, and more importantly the INCOME of the big music companies - who also make political contributions. See the pattern here? But from the public's perspective it doesn't hit close to home for the majority of the population. What percentage of the population downloads music or movies illegally? Now compare that to the percentage of the population who will have a drink yet still jump behind the wheel (or handlebars) of a motor vehicle. Nowhere near the negative impact, and in fact it helps the INCOME of the campaign contributors, their corporate buddies, if they stop it (downloads). So this "crime" will cop the type of punishment that drink driving should, and drink driving will receive the punishment that this should get.

And in the end the winners are the govt.'s propaganda advertising - "we're doing this to keep you safe" - and the income of their big corporate buddies, and the loser as always is the man on the street...

Reply Score: 3

v Maybe
by Lumbergh on Sun 24th Jan 2010 06:35 UTC
RE: Maybe
by Sharkbyte on Sun 24th Jan 2010 10:09 UTC in reply to "Maybe"
Sharkbyte Member since:
2010-01-24

Must not feed the trolls... Have a nice day sir!

Reply Score: 1

Comment by LB06
by LB06 on Sun 24th Jan 2010 11:10 UTC
LB06
Member since:
2005-07-06

What happened to the presumtion of innocence? Doesn't the recording industry have to actually prove every single instance of alleged uploading in order to establish that they suffered loss?

Reply Score: 2

not a fair fine.
by graigsmith on Sun 24th Jan 2010 18:26 UTC
graigsmith
Member since:
2006-04-05

54000 dollars for downloading 24 songs? that's still obscene. i know they gotta stop people from doing that. but still a 3 or 4 thousand dollar fine would have stopped someone. 54 thousand dollars is 2 times what my college education cost me. it doesn't sound like a fair fine.

Reply Score: 1

Stupid
by johjeff on Mon 25th Jan 2010 01:15 UTC
johjeff
Member since:
2007-11-06

This is just ridiculous. At the most they should charge her $.99 for each of the songs in question, and make her show proof of ownership of every other digital song she has or pay for them. I mean, get real! We are too busy over here trying to make the banks and insurance companies look evil while this kind of crap is being done by the entertainment industry. They are the real crooks.

Reply Score: 1

Completely random fines
by spiderman on Mon 25th Jan 2010 14:16 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

Sometimes it costs $0.99, sometimes $20k, sometimes it's $2M, and now it's $54k. It all depends on the judge's mood today? This is getting ridiculous. They are pulling numbers out of their ass. Maybe they roll a dice?

Reply Score: 2

Destroyed life
by sgix on Wed 27th Jan 2010 20:37 UTC
sgix
Member since:
2010-01-27

If i would get such fine ($ 54000), i would need 257 years to pay it and yes i have a job. Even such reduced fine is massive for some people.

Reply Score: 1