Woman fined 1.9 million $ for downloads

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Music_Producer, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

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    #1
  2. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #2
    Seems to be a clear Eighth Amendment violation.

     
  3. Music_Producer thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    I read the article on CNBC where they more details .. seems the jury was 'angry' at her for downloading illegally. She may not have to come up with anywhere near that money anyway as the RIAA is willing to settle for $3000-$5000.

    Scary to think the fate of someone's life rests in the hands of a jury who clearly lack common sense.
     
  4. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #4
    If I were on the jury, I may have found her guilty, but the only fine I would have voted for would have been $95.04. Actual cost + treble damages. That's as punitive as most courts allow. Oh, maybe court costs, too, and considering what the RIAA's paying their shysters, $3-5K total is probably getting off light, then.
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #5
    Are "treble damages" like when you play a Kenny G solo on your CD player and the alto sax offends your speakers? :eek: :eek:

    Seriously, I didn't see all the details, but don't these lawsuits typically at least in part rely on the defendants serving the file via the filesharing system as well as having downloaded it? So the actual damages to the entities the RIAA represents is more than $1/song.

    However, I think this jury award is a bad idea, since it's going to massively disincentivize anyone else from fighting back against the RIAA and the $3000-5000 settlements are (to me) as unreasonable as letting her go with a $95 fine.

    I dunno... there should be some reasonable deterrent middle ground. Maybe about $15 a song. That would be, in her case, around... $400? And then perhaps a tiering system so that if she ever does this again, she gets charged more substantially... Maybe the second offense would be $1200 or something. I dunno. But right now the RIAA is effectively extorting money out of people who did something wrong, but not necessarily diabolical. She should have to make reasonable amends. But it should end there. The jury shouldn't be feeding the RIAA profiteering.

    EDIT: And too bad none of these jurors were involved when it was determined how Sony should have been punished for their cybercrime of rootkitting hundreds of thousands of American computers.
     
  6. benlee macrumors 65816

    benlee

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    #6
    With the number of people that illegally download/ share (which it sounds like this woman didn't do) does the RIAA just randomly pick someone to go after?
     
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    why do they decide an amount they know she will never be able to pay out?
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    I've been wondering this for some time, too. I had sort of assumed that they targeted "low hanging fruit" -- that in cases like this, they "prove" 24 songs but perhaps there were many thousands of "likely" songs they couldn't prove for whatever reason. But that might be totally wrong. I think there's probably a non-disclosure on the settlements, and so little seems to be known about exactly what is happening. At least, when I looked in the past, I could not find an answer to this question.

    I think they're trying to send a message, but I don't think their intent was for the message to be, "We are idiots and we have no idea what the consequences of our behavior are, nor do we care to think about it before we act."
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    Lawyers are very good at convincing people of anything. The lawer likely gets a 30% cut so of course he argus for a million dollar fine
     
  10. benlee macrumors 65816

    benlee

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    #10
    An MPAA lawyer is most definitely either salaried or paid hourly.
     
  11. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

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    #12
    It will be appealed, and any judge with common sense will reduce the judgement.

    Don
     
  12. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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  13. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #14
    Bravo Courts and Music Industry. Now you'll be respected :rolleyes:

    Morons.

    BBC story on same item.
     
  14. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #15
    The problem with this is that it will go from a payment that is so utterly unbelievably stupidly out of this world that it can't be allowed to stand on grounds of insanity to a payment that is just below this threshold, but still nowhere near anything that could be justified.

    The problem here is that they used "statutory damages": If you make copies of one work, then the statutory damages are to be set between $750 and $150,000 according to the law. Now if one of million downloaders is caught with 24 songs in her "shared" folder, then a jury apparently takes $80,000 in statutory damages multiplied by 24 infringed works, which comes up with a ridiculous result. If I made copies of Mathematica or some CAD software that costs far beyond 1000 dollars, and sold them for $100 on eBay, statutory damages would be a maximum of $150,000, even if I sell 5000 copies. Much less than the profit that I made, and much much less than the actual damage.

    That is because "statutory damages" counts the number of works (I bought a box set with 10 CDs of Vivaldi music for £9.99. I think it is about 150 songs. If I shared them that would be statutory damages of at least 150 x $750 = $112,500, and maximum of $150 x $150,000 = $22.5 million. So one box set that I bought for £9.99 counts as 150 times as much as Mathematica which costs somewhere above £1000).
     
  15. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

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    #16
    Totally, do they really think this will stop people from using P2P? If I were to torrent something, say CS4, and get charged millions of dollars that I couldn't and wouldn't pay because of chap. 11, would that stop me? It seems I'd have bypassed the consequences.


    *I am not a lawyer and I probably don't know what I'm talking about.
     
  16. Fizzoid macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Is it not the Judge who decides on the punishment and the Jury simply decide innocent or guilty?
     
  17. JBazz macrumors 6502

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    #18
    She did more than download 24 songs.

    She had been on Kazaa for years allowing others to download her songs.
     
  18. opinioncircle macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    So how did they pick the jury? I mean chances are people in the jury ACTUALLY downloaded content from Kazaa or other P2P sources...bunch of hypocrites if you ask me...
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #20
    Thanks, yeah, I figured that was the case but I didn't see it in any of the reports....
     
  20. hmmfe macrumors regular

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    #21
    No offense, but I think it would be best to understand the meaning of the 8th Amendment before pronouncing a violation. This was a civil proceeding and the "fine" was awarded to the record labels not the government. Court precedent has long established that "fines" in the meaning of the 8th Amendment refer to situations where the gov't was a party to the action and was the recipient of the payment. Specifically, jury awards in a civil trial are not covered by the 8th Amendment's prohibition against excessive fines.
     
  21. lighthouse_man macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    To scare everybody else.
     
  22. Dagless macrumors Core

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    #23
    So she was sharing the files? That's not good.
     
  23. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #24
    There's a fine line between "Yikes, I'd better take this seriously" and "That's just ridiculous".

    Take speeding as an example. How many of us have broken the traffic speed limit laws? Pretty much all of us, yes? We know we risk getting caught and being issued a ticket for somewhere in the range of $50-100, but we take that risk. We also know that enforcement is minimal, and fairly lenient, and that (in Canada) a posted speed limit of 100 km/h means we can actually drive 120 km/h.

    What if the minimum fine attached to a speeding ticket was $1,000? Would we all be paying far more attention to our speedometers then?

    What if it was $1,000,000? Now we've gone too far. We'd all say "Oh, pshaww" and ignore it, and the first poor sap that got pulled over and issued a ticket would be fighting it in court until the settlement was something more realistic... which would immediately render the law, and the $1,000,000 fine, a total joke.

    I think a reasonable fine for pirating music could be on the order of $20 per song. Usually when people pirate music they copy entire albums, so the fine would be around $200. That's enough to make you think twice about doing it again.
     
  24. MrSmith macrumors 68040

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    #25
    I can't think of a crime more deserving a ruined life than copyright infringement...:rolleyes:
     

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