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Sotomayor's Position On Copyright Damages

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-chump-change dept.

The Courts 456

Too Lazy to Login writes "Wired reports that, based on her previous decisions, Sonia Sotomayor will likely affirm high damages (read: RIAA excessive) in cases where copyright claims are at issue. Good thing I'm not a betting man, because I'd have guessed the exact opposite." We discussed the nominee's cyberlaw record in general last week.

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Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187055)

What did you expect given Barack Obama's political philosophy and how he's acted in office?

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (5, Insightful)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187131)

It is a bit annoying that we always fall for the bread and fishes scam . . . will we ever learn!? A politician is a politician because he has two skills, one is his ability to use convincing rhetoric and the other is putting that rhetoric to the defence of the powerful, no matter they be the military, industry or some other interest group.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187263)

It is a bit annoying that we always fall for the bread and fishes scam . . . will we ever learn!?

But, but... change and stuff! Surely we won't see the Federal Government still beholden to the well connected at the expense of John Q. Public, right? It's not like the Democrats just represent a different set of freedoms that will be eroded, is it?

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (4, Insightful)

bhima (46039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187801)

As far as I am concerned that is exactly the choice I made when I voted: a different set of freedoms to be eroded. I thought I made a good choice. The policies Obama has been supporting lately leave me to question my decision. Either he is making a deliberate effort to force the courts to acknowledge and rule on unconstitutional policies of, and the war crimes perpetrated by, the Bush Administration or I made a erroneous decision.

The way I see things, I will not know that for a while... at least until these issues run their way through the judicial system.

In any account... let me know when I can I vote for a someone running with Pirate Party in the US.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (3, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28188011)

How's that hope and change working out for you?

Like I told people...you were going to get what you asked for but not what you wanted.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (5, Insightful)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187483)

This is one of the more insightful things I've read in the comments on slashdot... I wish I had mod points today. I *do* forget the above, but it's true. Also, the kind of person that would go through the trouble to be a president isn't the kind of person you'd ever want to be your president.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (1, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187609)

That does not explain George W. "Nukyuler" Bush. If anything, it goes to serve as evidence for how completely useless the office of the POTUS actually is. It is my opinion that Obama did win because of his powerful rhetoric and charisma, but like JFK, is now being introduced to the dark forces that actually run and influence the government. JFK was planning to act against any number of those forces and paid the price. (Yeah, yeah, yeah... save the conspiracy theory nut crap. The crap that we all know about today actually pales in comparison when you think about it. There are people who will kill you for $1000 or less... why would it be unthinkable that someone would want to kill a president over business and other powerful interests?)

The POTUS does not "run the country" anyway. The POTUS is "the decider", however, (thanks GWB for making that clear) and he decides on the things placed before him based on the information issued to him. He doesn't do much in the way of initiating legislation... at least not directly. (But those "war time powers" are pretty scary and ominous though right?) The interests of big money are what really drives things these days and I think that is pretty well known and accepted. That's not to say "there is no government" in the way that we were taught in schools... there is and there will always be some people who will push back against "big money" interests. When we see the return of law and regulation of the banking and financial services industries that kept the nation stable since the great depression, we will see signs that the government of "we the people" still exists to some degree.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (0, Redundant)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28188039)

You don't buy that a guy with about 5 years of legislative experience (2 years nationally), far to the left of mainstream politics could single-handedly organize a fund-raising monster that would shatter all previous campaign treasuries?

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (5, Insightful)

skelterjohn (1389343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187685)

It's not like Obama ran on a platform of copyright abolition.

There is no misrepresentation going on here, even if you had hoped that since you agreed with him on one thing that he would agree with you on another.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (3, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187791)

A politician is a politician because he has two skills, one is his ability to use convincing rhetoric and the other is putting that rhetoric to the defence of the powerful, no matter they be the military, industry or some other interest group.

No, they don't defend the powerful with words. At least, Saddam didn't die of their words after he offered to sell oil for EUR too, instead of USD only.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187821)

More precisely, the politically influential.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187215)

Honestly, I think that this issue doesn't have the visibility that Obama would take into account. It's probably making his media buddies happy, but that's probably just a happy coincidence.

Basically it's:

Loose constructionist: check

Woman: check

Hispanic: check

High court experience: check

Anything else, as I said, is likely to simply be a bonus. Not to mention that it can be hard to pin down a Supreme Court justice to a general game plan that you think he's going to play *cough*Souter*cough*, let alone specifics on damages, etc.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (5, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187911)

I'm waiting for her to get on the bench and come out of the closet. Hispanic lesbian female - the affirmative action trifecta.

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (3, Informative)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187261)

Yup, seeing as he already put some top RIAA lawyers into top DOJ spots, who's surprised? Really, raise your hand if you're surprised at Obama's copyright preferences. Come on, we won't laugh... Hard

Re:Well, Obama is nominating Sotomayor... (0, Troll)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187633)

No doubt about it... Obama is a traitor to the people. He has mortgaged my daughters, children children future and it just a butt boy to the Mafia, I mean RIAA/MPAA.

What has happened? (-1, Flamebait)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187557)

How did we get to a place where a racist is a serious candidate for the supreme court?

Re:What has happened? (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187887)

First I've heard of this. Care to point me at your source?

Re:What has happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187981)

Sure, Sotomayor herself:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Also:

Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench.

And:

But I accept there will be some [bias] based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Re:What has happened? (1, Informative)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28188077)

Uh, don't listen to the news do you?

I'm pretty sure he's talking about the speech where she said a female latina Judge would come to a better decision (on the basis of her being female and latina) than a white male judge.

Now, I fell off the political correct bandwagon a long time ago, but I do believe that the bulk of the people that make up the Democratic party would've had themselves a little uproar if John Roberts had said something of the lines of "I think a white male judge can come to a better informed, fairer decision than a black female judge".

Here is another good one (2, Informative)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187077)

People who don't understand the concept of diminishing return shouldn't be allowed to graduate high school, much less become a judge.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/01/sotomayors-record-environmentalists-hope-business-leaders-pause/

Re:Here is another good one (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187241)

I only skimmed it, but she appears to be upholding the letter of the law there.

I would think that makes her conservative.

Re:Here is another good one (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187635)

Not so. The original letter of the law came into being circa 1970 with the full 70's environmental movement that created the EPA and such. Once Reagan got into power, he pursued, and eventually codified, some more business-friendly directives, specifically, enshrining cost-benefit analysis [archives.gov] . Clinton modified it, and Obama is looking to overhaul [reginfo.gov] [pdf] or even rewrite it.

The problem is that we have two laws in conflict: the original laws forming the EPA (among others) from the late 60's to early 70's, and then executive orders which seek to mitigate them. Now, I'm not really a big fan of executive orders, but it does seem to me that taking into account the full costs and benefits of regulations would be a more prudent method of achieving environmental change than a system that took as much money from employers as possible, and received little to no further health or environmental benefit. Requiring a business to overspend for negligible amounts of further benefit to society seems unreasonable to me.

Anyway, since it seems that she is supporting the original (Democrat, I think) version of the law, and ignoring the (Republican) executive order that applies, I'm not sure that "conservative" is the right moniker.

Re:Here is another good one (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187245)

People who quote Fox news as a source for anything in a serious conversation shouldn't be listened to at all.

Re:Here is another good one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187531)

And the Clinton News Network is any better? Maybe 'Make Sure No Bush Compliments' (I know a stretch)
Every network has bias and every network aims to get viewers with whatever it takes.

Re:Here is another good one (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187953)

Here is the NYT article if it makes you feel any better.....

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/05/27/27greenwire-enviro-groups-like-what-they-see-in-obamas-just-6076.html

Re:Here is another good one (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187321)

People who don't understand the concept of making a hyperlink shouldn't... uh... throw rocks. Or something. I really didn't think this joke through to a punchline.

In any case: Sotomayor's Record Could Give Environmentalists Hope, Business Leaders Pause [foxnews.com]

I find it quite disheartening the number of replies you've gotten trying to explain it away as "strict interpretation of the law" given that it's one of the many cases of hers that were overturned the instant it hit the Supreme Court. So obviously if it was "a strict legal opinion," it was wrong.

Leaving us wondering whether or not she really understands the concept of diminishing returns.

In the case quoted, the theory is probably correct (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187083)

The case quoted involved businesses who were wilfully infringing, and the decision was that the fines should be punative to act to disuade others.

This may not be true for the RIAA and dealing with individuals, but its probably true when dealing with businesses.

Re:In the case quoted, the theory is probably corr (2, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187301)

Umm... Wut?

The entire point of the RIAA cases* is to increase the risk of file sharing so that it becomes less common. If they only sued for a couple hundred bucks, then no one would care. These cases are all about punitive action and would be worthless without it. If Sotomayor supports punitive infringement suits, she will almost certainly support the RIAA's.

* Certainly part of the RIAA's plan is to also leverage the life-crushing nature of their lawsuits to extort money out of others, but that doesn't change the deterrent 'ideal' of their suits.

Re:In the case quoted, the theory is probably corr (1, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187307)

Meanwhile, the Supremes rule on questions of law, not amounts of damages, so TFA asks a silly question and gets a silly answer.

Re:In the case quoted, the theory is probably corr (3, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187405)

Not true in the slightest (well, maybe the slightest). It is neigh guaranteed that some time in the lifetime of whoever is appointed the Supreme Court will hear a case regarding the excessiveness of damages in a (personal) infringement suit. Their ruling would basically decide if the present statue (regarding damages) is constitutional.

So true, they will not be deciding how much money _you_ have pay. However, they will be deciding something much more important: the minimum and maximum that _anyone_ should have to pay.

Re:In the case quoted, the theory is probably corr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187469)

Meanwhile, the Supremes rule on questions of law

Wrong. The Supreme Court rules on questions of law. Dianna Ross and Mary Wilson, while talented singers, have no legal standing.

In this case they may (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187803)

So the reason damages are so high in copyright cases is because there is a statue about it. Normally in civil suits damages are limited to actual damages and then something in the realm of 3x actual for punitive, if warranted. Ok so for copying a CD the maximum you could possible argue in actual damages would be the retail cost of the CD (and that might be questionable since it is a copy, not a theft). That would end up with a total damage range of like $30-60 per CD, and then only if they can get punitive damages.

However copyright law provides for incredibly high statutory damages, we are talking like $100,000 per incident. Thus the RIAA can go after people for tons of money and use it as leverage to force a settlement. The problem with that is that it runs contrary to the 8th amendment.

So this is well an issue the SC could be hearing soon. A defendant could claim that the statutory damages are unconstitutionally high, meaning the law should be struck down.

Re:In the case quoted, the theory is probably corr (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187427)

Right,

by the way, in case you have some spare time, visit mybrute.com [mybrute.com] , where you can make your own brute and put it in arena ;-) great game.

Re:In the case quoted, the theory is probably corr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187507)

Die, spammer.

Based On One Case from 1996? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187085)

Wired reports that, based on her previous decisions ...

Huh, that's odd, I only found the article to list one case -- the TopRank suing the host of a tavern in 1996. And the statement she added as:

"A willful infringement, which the magistrate judge found, combined with a willful default, however, warrant an award greater and more significant than one which corresponds so closely to an estimated loss to the plaintiff,"

Are there more decisions I missed? Are we basing our image of this woman off of one action and one statement?

It's not a good indication but it's hardly conclusive. Things have changed with the advent of the internet since then. Here's to hoping, I guess, but I think we're being a bit unfair and too hasty.

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187253)

You can also base it on the fact that she has always ruled in favor of giving the government more power and the fact that Obama has been filling the Justice Department with RIAA lawyers (see signature).

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (1)

Dopefish_1 (217994) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187545)

Your signature gives a 404 error.

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187273)

Are we basing our image of this woman off of one action and one statement?

Of course not. There's a lot of blatant prejudice and paranoia too.

and hyperbole as well. (1, Flamebait)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187625)

because the method of intimidation favored is to claim the opposing views are only driven by prejudice and paranoia.

Figuring her panel's overturn rate by the Supremes is probably a better indication of why she should not be on the Supreme Court but is fine where she is.

The real problem, she was selected for what she is, not who she is or how she ruled... at least according to the speech the teleprompter provided.

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187701)

Of course not. There's a lot of blatant prejudice and paranoia too.

I agree. Statements like this are blatantly prejudice: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life"

If you don't think that sounds prejudice, just replace "wise Latina woman" with "wise white woman" and replace "white male" with "black male" and tell me what you think.

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187409)

Are there more decisions I missed?

I just assumed they were talking about her decision to ignore reality.

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (1)

FilterMapReduce (1296509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187585)

"A willful infringement, which the magistrate judge found, combined with a willful default, however, warrant an award greater and more significant than one which corresponds so closely to an estimated loss to the plaintiff,"

I don't know anything about the facts of this one case, but by itself, this seems reasonable enough to me. I mean, if you download a music album and happen to get sued for it, and the court forces you to pay the $15 that the CD would have cost in a store, that's virtually no risk at all. I would support punitive damages equal to two, three, or perhaps as high as ten times the retail value of the CD.

Which, of course, doesn't even come close to the tens of thousands of dollars that the RIAA thinks is fair. They and common sense are in different galaxies.

Re:Based On One Case from 1996? (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187603)

Wired reports that, based on her previous decisions ...

Huh, that's odd, I only found the article to list one case -- the TopRank suing the host of a tavern in 1996. And the statement she added as:

"A willful infringement, which the magistrate judge found, combined with a willful default, however, warrant an award greater and more significant than one which corresponds so closely to an estimated loss to the plaintiff,"

Are there more decisions I missed? Are we basing our image of this woman off of one action and one statement? It's not a good indication but it's hardly conclusive. Things have changed with the advent of the internet since then. Here's to hoping, I guess, but I think we're being a bit unfair and too hasty.

eldavojohn, you are quite right to be skeptical of the Wired article. In fact, there is no basis for the author to have drawn the conclusion he did. The Top Rank case is a garden variety, 'bar and tavern' case, in which the statutory damages awarded are usually 2 to 4 times the actual damages. The Magistrate's decision was below the normal range, despite his finding of wilfulness. Judge Sotomayor merely raised the award to within the typical range. It appears that she awarded between 2 and 3 times the actual damages.

In RIAA-land that would translate to from 70 cents to $1.00, as opposed to from $750 to $150,000.

No reason in the world to think Judge Sotomayor would disregard a hundred years of Supreme Court precedent and dance to the RIAA's tune.

always? (0, Flamebait)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187101)

Would she favor high copyright damages against latino female file-sharers?

(sorry, had to go there. you may now release the hounds.)

Re:always? (5, Funny)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187119)

latino female

What's a latino female? Is that a codename for hispanic shemales?

Re:always? (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187213)

Male, female, shehe, or heshe I'm betting there will be a mustache.

Re:always? (1)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187737)

The preferred term is Latina, pronounced the t as th. And no, I'm actually being very serious here...

Re:always? (0, Flamebait)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187881)

The preferred term is Latina

No shit, Sherlock. That was kind of the whole point of my post which was mocking his use of a masculine version of the adjective to describe a female.

Re:always? (0)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187775)

What's a latino female? Is that a codename for hispanic shemales?

Would that be a cockerhispaniel? (I'm gonna be so downmodded for this.)

she's a cunt (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187125)

fucking twatfaced cunt, fuck her and her humble beginnigs to rising to suck the RIAA's cock

Revolution (4, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187133)

Is the only answer. Throw them all out.

Re:Revolution (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187317)

Is the only answer. Throw them all out.

That's a good idea. A revolution is long overdue! I'll bring the tar and feathers. You bring the pitchforks and torches. We'll get started tonight.

Oh wait, American Idol is on tonight. Hmm, can we do the revolution tomorrow? What were we talking about again? I remember being angry about something.... hmm, Kris Allen is cool isn't he?

Re:Revolution (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187619)

kinda hard to cry oppression when you can pop back a cold one and watch a bunch schmoes battle it out on a cheesy singing contest on hdtv, then fire up the xbox 360 for some video games.. write whatever we want on slashdot... what is it that we were revolting over again? oh, Obama might take my guns away but lucky high powered lasers are getting pretty affordable. why would I want an assault rifle when I can cut a stadium full of people in half from 500 miles away.

Re:Revolution (1)

VulpesFoxnik (1493687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187741)

Our constitution (and amendments) gently weeps.

Re:Revolution (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187865)

Never said that the people at large have the balls to do it, but i think many agree that its the only true answer.

Be it armed revolution or voter revolution ( if you haven't lost total faith in the system yet ) its the only way out.

Re:Revolution (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187895)

Hey I'm all for democracy as long as I don't have to participate!

Re:Revolution (1)

ZOmegaZ (687142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187605)

If you're in my district, vote for me. If you're not, tell others to vote for me, and run in your district. I've gotten fed up enough to actually do something. How about you?

No surprise (5, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187173)

One more time:

Republicans: Oil and gas

Democrats: Hollywood, the movies and recording industry

_Never_ be surprised at Democratic support for DRM, the RIAA or MPAA.

Re:No surprise (5, Informative)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187373)

Yeah because no Republicans have ever supported DRM, the RIAA/MPAA and the DMCA. Oh wait, only 1 Republican obstained from the DMCA vote and the rest all voted for it in the Senate. Oh and I won't even bring up that the DMCA was introduced in the House by a Republican and considering how the House at the time had a Republican majority that they would have had to have backed it in a significant amount for it to pass. And I also won't mention how in 2003, Republican Mitch Bainwol become the CEO of the RIAA in 2003. Yep those Republicans sure are anti-DMCA, DRM and RIAA/MPAA. *rolls eyes* Or maybe we can stop with the stupid rhetoric and recognize that both parties are in bed with the copyright interests.

Re:No surprise (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187485)

Oh and let's look at this list of 50 senators who took campaign contributions from the RIAA in 2007 and let's notice that 28 of the 50 were Republicans. Hmmm... now who exactly is in their pockets?

Re:No surprise (2, Interesting)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187501)

Oops the link got cut off. It's this page [consumerist.com] that has the list.

Re:No surprise (-1, Flamebait)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187639)

Flamebait? Awww, did the truth hit a little to close to home for some little Republican troll?

Re:No surprise (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187817)

Funny as it might seem, apparently it wasn't flamebait. The only person you've succeeded in trolling is yourself. That's why you've replied three times in your own little mini-thread to your own comment, right??

Re:No surprise (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187841)

Yes, I replied to myself to provide additional information that was left out of the first post.

Re:No surprise (1, Redundant)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187375)

Republicans: Oil and gas, banks

Democrats: Hollywood, the movies and recording industry, banks, unions, Detroit

Fixed that for you. You were missing a few. Funny how the bankers appear on both lists, isn't it? I don't know if I should complement them for being such clever bastards or hope that they are the first ones up against the wall if the brown stuff hits the fan.

Re:No surprise (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187385)

One more time:

Republicans: Oil and gas

Democrats: Hollywood, the movies and recording industry

_Never_ be surprised at Democratic support for DRM, the RIAA or MPAA.

You still miss the point...
Republicans - Get all the power they can while paying lip service to conservitives.
Democrats - Get all the power they can while paying lip service to liberals.

They just play off each other to distract the public. There is no difference between them.

Re:No surprise (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187503)

The good news is I can completely ignore Hollywood & the RIAA & have been doing so for almost a decade. They need us waaaaay more than we need them. We just have to show them that.

In light of his other appointments (also read:**AA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187187)

excessive), why?

I'd have guessed the exact opposite

RIAA (3, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187197)

I reckon RIAA and those persuaded by their arguments will continue to try to tighten their grip as much as they can wherever they can. Whether or not Sotomayor will decide in ways that favour RIAA or not is something I hesitate to speculate about. However if people want their government representatives and judges to understand their reservations about RIAA's way of doing business they have to continue to speak up; not only to protest but also to try and find solutions to the situation we are at now.

What should be the principles behind music and movie distribution? I for one would hope for something that those purchasing and creating such material would both find acceptable. Though it is hard for me to say what that would be. At the moment what we have are many reacting to what they see as negative trends, and some saying so in well argued ways, but as long as RIAA can claim even an inch of legitimate concern for the artists and their rights they will continue to resist reforms they cant adequately, in their eyes, influence.

Re:RIAA (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187461)

Adding a speculation. As technology evolves and knowledge (guides, e-books, videos, forums etc) continue to proliferate I could become (and already is according to some musician mates of mine) easier for independent bands and musicians to gain access to people with the equipment and knowledge of how to record and mix music at a high level of quality. While such equipment is by no means cheap it is cheaper, and easier to get than it has been in the past. For those with the drive and ambition to push their own career forward, and at least a day job to pay for it, producing an album outside the domain of those associated with RIAA is possible.

My speculation would be that should a growing segment of the industry become autonomous, recording and distributing independently, then RIAA's mandate and position would become increasingly weakened. And thus their power to push for prosecution of their own potential customers would be much diminished.

Re:RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187969)

This is exactly what's already happening, and why the companies the RIAA represent are doing everything they can politically to work against it all - even if it's perfectly within their power to join them and use the same tools everyone else can, to their own advantage.

Unfortunately they don't feel it would give them ENOUGH of an advantage anymore, and that scares them...

Re:RIAA (2, Funny)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187835)

The more they tighten their grip, the more star systems will slip through their fingers.

er... I mean pirates!

Re:RIAA (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187935)

I need to pipe up here:

Sell live shows. Right after the show is done press the shows and sell them to ticket holders. There. You have something that is scarce and that, if the band was good or people had a great time, others want to buy!

Hell, record it in binaural sound! It will feel like you are *at* the show! It's really easy, frankly.

Let the RIAA charge a small fee on the recording or something, I don't know. Everyone gets what they want and there's profit!

I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (1, Interesting)

Tanman (90298) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187279)

. . . is wrong with her. I mean, she's sexist, racist, pro-corp, anti-individual rights, pro-handout, anti-responsibility.

1. There is no excuse for her statement regarding how the richness of a latina's life experiences give them the ability to make better decisions than a white man. News flash: That is racism, bigotry, the whole works. As a white male, I've moved around the country, lived on both coasts, attended schools in three states, had two friends kill themselves, had many others not. I've seen both financial ruin (my parents were hundreds of thousands in debt after their business failed when I was a child -- they did not declare bankruptcy and eventually paid back every dime) as well as upper-class lifestyle. I've had pets. I've traveled the world from Honduras to Hong Kong. Fact of the matter is that her lack of respect for MY opinions is greatly disturbing.

2. She holds a hard-line, firm belief in affirmative action, regardless of the circumstances. By god if the percentages aren't represented, then the reason must be RACISM! Never mind that statistics and probabilities may mean that the 15 people who ace a test might just be more qualified for their job.

There's more, but I'm busy and you have better things to do than read my rantings. Needless to say, I hope she flunks.

Re:I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (1)

SchizoStatic (1413201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187341)

She is gonna soar through because Republicans won't want to be seen as racist or sexist and of course the Dems will vote for her because Obama wants her in.

Re:I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187853)

"She is gonna soar through because Republicans won't want to be seen as racist or sexist and of course the Dems will vote for her because Obama wants her in."

And for anyone who would argue with that statement, I have 2 words: Roland Burris

Re:I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (1, Interesting)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187901)

It's actually okay for her to be seated, IMHO. Because, to be frank, she doesn't seem that bright. She has made foolish off-the-cuff remarks easily interpreted as racist. She appears to be someone who thinks you win an argument by being loud and verbally dominant. She seems to personally be a beneficiary of Affirmative Action: translation- someone fairly mediocre compared to her judicial peers.

That makes her a safe place-holder. Now, I'd be pissed if I wanted a real, effective, judicial activist, liberal judge. Because she's going to be feeble and easily cut down in argument.

oh for god's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187525)

the richness of a latina's life experiences give them the ability to make better decisions than a white man

Seriously, did you read the speech she gave from which that specific segment is taken? If you actually read the sentence in context, it doesn't mean what every single right wing freak has claimed it does. God, man, think for yourself.

Re:oh for god's sake (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187561)

Links or it didn't happen.

Re:oh for god's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187577)

I don't know about the OP, but I have, someone linked it in the last Slashdot discussion.

In a nutshell, her speech was: "My race and gender bias my decisions. But don't worry - I'm a Latina woman and not a white male. That makes it OK!"

I fail to see how that isn't blatantly racist.

Re:oh for god's sake (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187927)

Christ, do we have to do this again....From the speech:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice [Benjamin] Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.

[...]

I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.


For God's sake, just READ once in awhile rather than have things spoon fed to you from the talking heads.

Re:I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187537)

THIS.

+1

However, people have traded freedom for security, and will take what they get. Fortunately, by the time the country goes down the socialist crapper, I will be dead.

Re:I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (4, Informative)

syphax (189065) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187541)

Rantings, indeed.

To wit:

Are you aware of Sotomayor's dissent [salon.com] in which she defended the 1st amendment rights of a white NYPD employee when he was fired for having sent blatantly racist and anti-Semitic replies in response to charity requests he received in the mail?

That she ruled against the plaintiff in 80% of race discrimination cases [scotusblog.com] ?

That in her famous speech [nytimes.com] she also said stuff like:

I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.

There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope that I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering.

The horror!

I am so sick of people taking one fragment of a speech or one ruling and rushing to judgment based on their own biases and agendas. Take a deep breath. Read Ricci. Read the Pappas dissent. Then let us know what you think.

but, but... (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187607)

The facts are complicated and require thinking, and might result in a conclusion that 1) not what the GP expects to find or, 2) doesn't fit exactly inside of the predetermined possibilities.

This is Slashdot - people are confident in their computer skills and knowledge of sci-fi, which naturally translates into flawless wisdom in relation to all things. Socrates woulda loved this place.

Re:I feel like everything that can be wrong . . . (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187755)

> As a white male, I've ... had two friends kill themselves

Aha! She's had three friends commit suicide. So there, "tanman"!

WTF did you expect? (0, Flamebait)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187285)

I mean, seriously: Obama comes from the epicenter of corruption in this country. Did you think for an instant he would forsake his corporate sponsors?

Not neccesarily a problem (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187315)

First, the case quoted involved willful infringement by a business and other aggravating circumstances. Also, from a strict-construction viewpoint the law does specify the amount of statutory damages so her finding that, if infringement occurred and the claim qualified for statutory damages, damages in the amount defined by the law were to be awarded would hardly be unexpected.

The big question is how she views the whole question of whether infringement occurred. That's the area where the RIAA and MPAA tend to part company with the rest of us. It's pretty clear that mass copying and distribution of unauthorized copies is infringing behavior, whether or not it's done for commercial gain. Note please that making 10,000 copies of a tape and handing them out on the street-corner is a far cry from copying a couple of songs off a tape so your friend can listen to them. To my mind there's three categories: copying that's not infringing period (eg. the copies needed to listen to anything on a computer), copying that's clearly infringing (the aforementioned making copies in bulk for anybody who comes along), and an intermediate range where the copying's technically infringing but so inoffensive that we view it as unreasonable for the owner to complain about it absent some additional problems. Making a copy of a few songs for a friend falls into that third category, it's technically infringing but the general reaction to an owner complaining about just that would be "Jeesh, get a life, dude.". The usual way the courts handle things like this is to award some token amount of damages, like the retail price of the songs copied, and then deny any request for costs by the plaintiff. What I'm interested in is exactly where Judge Sotomayor draws the lines between those three categories.

Too Lazy to Login (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187345)

Good thing I'm not a betting man, because I'd have guessed the exact opposite.

Your gullibility is neither interesting nor novel.

Really? Your suprised? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187349)

Why on earth would you think the direct opposite!? Politicians are politicians. If he is willing to give the title of Secretary of Defense to Hillary Clinton then this should not come as any surprise that him and his nominee both support the RIAA and receive campaing donations from the RIAA.

Re:Really? Your suprised? (2, Informative)

Bourbonium (454366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187855)

Um, are you serious? Hilary Clinton is Secretary of State .

No basis for Wired's conclusion (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187489)

I don't see anything in the Top Rank decision which justifies the conclusion the Wired author has drawn. The only decision referred to was Top Rank v. Allerton Lounge, a typical 'bar and tavern' case. In those cases the statutory damages are frequently from 2 to 4 times the actual damages. The Magistrate appears to have awarded statutory damages on a 1:1 ratio. Judge Sotomayor raised the damages, but not wildly to some extreme multiple like what the RIAA looks for. It appears that her award was between 2 and 3 times the actual damages, which is within the usual range.

The RIAA seeks from 2,200 to 450,000 times the actual damages. It is well settled law that statutory damages awards have to bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages, and in keeping with economic reality. And it is well settled law that excessive disproportion to the actual damages is unconstitutional, as a violation of the due process clause.

There is no reason in the world to think that Judge Sotomayor would consider imposing statutory damages of $750 to $150,000 as against plaintiff's 35-cent loss for the download of a single mp3 file.

In the unlikely event that the RIAA could prove the defendant was a "distributor" -- i.e. someone who disseminated copies to the public by selling them, or by other transfers of ownership, or by rentals, leases, or lending -- then of course the actual damages would be higher than 35 cents. But the RIAA would have to prove its actual damages, and then the court could award statutory damages greater than that sum, but -- under established Supreme Court precedent -- the award would be constitutionally suspect were the ratio greater than single digits.

I'm just waiting for (3, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187515)

I'm just waiting for Sotomayor's Paris Hilton style homemade porn video to be released. I hope that long forgotten boyfriend held onto that tape they made that one rather forgetful night.

Re:I'm just waiting for (1)

Myrimos (1495513) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187905)

I'm just waiting for Sotomayor's Paris Hilton style homemade porn video to be released.

But for the love of God, why? She's not what you'd call "traditionally attractive." That really doesn't matter a damn for a prospective Justice, but it sure does affect what porn I watch.

Why the focus on damages? (2, Informative)

cybereal (621599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187589)

Granted, the damages do seem high, but these are only applied where the conclusion has already been made that a proper case was brought about and the crime proven without a reasonable doubt.

Why focus on this after-the-fact nonsense? In a perfect judicial world where only copyright violators were convicted, I would whole-heartedly support brutal monetary punishments to these self-entitled jackasses.

But in reality, shouldn't this crowd-sourced angst be directed at the flawed proceedings and discovery that is the real issue here? Please, for everyone who cares about "justice" and fair use and other copyright issues, let's focus the energy, however fickle it is, on what really matters here.

This was a little obvious (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187631)

I don't recall ever hearing of one politician who wasn't on the side of the RIAA. Many people are calling it corruption, but it is legal because the money that changes hands is "campaign donations". However Legal corruption is still corruption. It has been around longer than any of us posting on here and I don't foresee it changing any time soon. Big business runs the country, this is no different than a year ago when all the telecommunications companies got off the hook because they gave "campaign donations" to most of congress the largest of which were to the three presidential candidates Obama, McCain and Clinton. Hmmmm where's Charlie Wilson when you need him...or maybe Mr. Smith.

That decision tells us little (5, Informative)

snitty (308387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187767)

The folks at TechnicallyLegal (disclaimer, I'm a writer and podcaster there) wrote up a post as to why her decision in the copyright case will have little bearing on the outcome of the RIAA cases. And why her reasoning there isn't really indicitive of what her reasoning may be in those cases.

http://www.technicallylegal.org/de-fud-sotomayors-stance-on-copyright-infringement/ [technicallylegal.org]

Legislating from the bench? (1)

astra05 (987104) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187785)

Has anyone ever heard the poly-sci term "Legislating from the bench?" AFAIK and what I have learned is that Judges are only supposed to make judgments based on the original intents of the law, not create new policies and laws based on their judgment.

Re:Legislating from the bench? (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187861)

Yep. But if the law says statutory damages are to be in a certain range and the claim meets the requirements to award statutory damages in lieu of actual damages, which judge is legislating from the bench: the judge who awards damages in the range specified by the law, or the judge who decides that the damages are excessive and reduces the award below what the law specifies?

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