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How RIAA Case Should Have Played Out

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-hope-it-involves-clowns dept.

The Courts 296

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "If a regular 'country lawyer' like myself had taken a case like the RIAA's in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset to court, he or she would have been laughed out of the courthouse. But when it's the RIAA suing, the plaintiffs are awarded a $1.92 million verdict for the infringement of $23.76 worth of song files. That's because RIAA litigation proceeds in a parallel universe, which on its face looks like litigation, but isn't. On my blog I fantasize as to how the trial would have ended had it taken place not in the 'parallel universe,' but in the real world of litigation. In that world, the case would have been dismissed. And if the Judge had submitted it to the jury instead of dismissing, and the jury had ruled in favor of the RIAA, the 'statutory damages' awarded would have been less than $18,000."

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296 comments

That's odd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412025)

In my parallel universe, the trial would have ended when the Kool-Aid man came running through the wall and yelled "OH YEAH!"

Makes sense (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412037)

The RIAA represent imaginary goods, so their cases take place in an imaginary land.

Re:Makes sense (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412195)

Now if only I could use the imaginary money from my monopoly set to pay them off too, all would be well...

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412223)

I'll take being able to sink their battleship.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412255)

You would still need to buy over 120 monopoly games to get that much monopoly money. Much more reasonable but even that is probably excessive.

Re:Makes sense (0, Offtopic)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412859)

You would still need to buy over 120 monopoly games to get that much monopoly money. Much more reasonable but even that is probably excessive.

Wrong! [74.125.93.132] (using Google's cache b/c the normal link is dead)

One hell of a monopoly set (4, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412293)

From Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge:

> The newer (September 2008) editions have a total of $20,580

That wouldn't go far to pay off $1.9M. Perhaps if you had the most valuable set ever:

> The Guinness Book of World Records states that a set worth $2,000,000 and made of
> 23-carat gold, with rubies and sapphires atop the chimneys of the houses and hotels,
> is the most expensive Monopoly set ever produced.

but just barely!

Re:Makes sense (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412559)

I've started to wonder what the real value of "Jamie's playlist" really is.

If she would have had the option of "buying these works outright" what would
their appraised value be based on actual current revenue? What might the
asking price for those works be when compared to something like commercial
real estate?

I suspect that the RIAA made out like bandits and they got a payday for these
works that dwarfs their actually real value by far.

Really. How many copies of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" were moved in 2004 or even
today? This could be relevant Album sales, singles sales or tracks on iTunes.
This is information that seems to be sorely lacking from this discussion.

What is the actual value of a 25 year old Journey song?

How does this jury award compare to the actual annual revenue recieved from these works?

I think you have it backwards (-1, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412073)

The trial took place in the real universe, whether you agree with the outcome or not. Your fantasy-land in which intellectual property has no value, and clearly guilty people have the cases against them dismissed... that's the imaginary one.

Re:I think you have it backwards (5, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412157)

Your fantasy-land in which intellectual property has no value, and clearly guilty people have the cases against them dismissed... that's the imaginary one.

Did you even bother to read Ray's post? I'm guessing not.

Ray points out some extremely simple things that were overlooked. Here's one example:

The jury should have been required to make findings as to (a) the date defendant commenced using an âoeonline media distribution systemâ (Kazaa) and (b) the copyright registration effective date of each work they find was infringed. The jury could have been instructed that no statutory damages could be awarded as to any work whose copyright registration effective date was subsequent to the date of defendant's commencement of use of Kazaa [or the Court could itself have made that determination based on the answers to the verdict form].

I don't recall the exact details off the top of my head, but basically if you want to bring a lawsuit over copyright in the U.S., you need to have registered that copyright. Under Berne, copyright attaches at the moment of creation (fixation), but the U.S. requires registration of works if there's going to be a case about it (at least for domestic works). This is a simple technical detail, but if the works were registered after any copying or distribution happened, it is an important fact.

Also, Ray is not saying IP has no value.... sounds like you have an axe to grind and are just looking for a place to do it.

Re:I think you have it backwards (-1, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412181)

No, see, you think of Ray as some sort of amazing lawyer, because he's popular around here. But he was wrong about this. Plain and simple. Lawyers from both sides, and judges, and juries, all looked at this case, and the conclusion was that she was in the wrong and had to pay. For him to claim that all those people did it wrong, and his conclusion must be the best... it's the height of arrogance (or maybe just a play for more views for his blog).

Re:I think you have it backwards (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412279)

No, see, you think of Ray as some sort of amazing lawyer, because he's popular around here. But he was wrong about this. Plain and simple. Lawyers from both sides, and judges, and juries, all looked at this case, and the conclusion was that she was in the wrong and had to pay. For him to claim that all those people did it wrong, and his conclusion must be the best... it's the height of arrogance (or maybe just a play for more views for his blog).

Ray's not an amazing lawyer but he's a good guy and has helped inform us on Slashdot more than once. What he did in this article is point out some rudimentary laws and facts that he thinks should have not only influenced the trial but changed the outcome drastically. I think this interesting and shows one of two things: 1) the RIAA is definitely in bed with the judicial system on many levels and/or 2) the emergence of a new technology can often have differing effects on certified lawyers and lawmakers upon its advent. In our case, we have the amazing thing that is the internet and while some people are using one set of archaic laws to deal with it and keep it under control, other peoples might use other archaic laws. Some might even go so far as to posit that no archaic laws have been made that fairly address the internet.

I think if you read Ray's posts, he may not be an amazing lawyer but he is a certified lawyer who is offering you a different professional view of the current state of things. I gotta admit, what he says makes a whole lot more than what I read about in the papers. $80,000 a song [slashdot.org] as an award in the latest trial? What?

Re:I think you have it backwards (4, Insightful)

Ichoran (106539) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412315)

You're not doing a very convincing job of constructing an argument. So far you have
    - ad hominem: You only think Ray's good cause he's popular on Slashdot
    - argument from authority: lawyers, judges, and juries must be right
    - another ad hominem: for Ray to claim those guys are wrong, wow, what arrogance!

Ray's blog, on the other hand, contains actual substantive arguments pertaining to proper procedures (who should be allowed to testify and with what caveats or warnings) and prior case history (what is the relationship between award of damages and monetary harm). He might be wrong, but then so might be the jury.

In fact, if the jury thinks the way you've presented your arguments, they'll just think, "Wow, all these really masterful lawyers on one side, they can't be wrong--I'll just trust whatever they say and not think about it!" The judge, if he or she shares the approach you took in this post, is liable to be similarly swayed.

Re:I think you have it backwards (4, Insightful)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412389)

Yes, Ray is claiming that all those people did it wrong and I have no idea if he's right. But he is giving a list of arguments to support his point.

So if you want to claim that he is wrong, you should show that those arguments are wrong.

So far, all you are saying is "a lot of judges and lawyers agreed on this, therefore the decision is correct", like there's never been a wrong judgement in the history of mankind.

"Wrong about this"? How, exactly? (2, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412395)

> But he was wrong about this. Plain and simple

How could he be "wrong" about this? He predicted the outcome?

All he claims is that in his opinion the law reads in a certain way; he's much too smart to assume that the court system is going to agree with him.

You, on the other hand, seem to have a knee-jerk between your ears. Get over it, and start to tolerate other people's opinions.

Re:I think you have it backwards (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412587)

Okay, but are you willing to agree that 2 million dollars (AKA financial ruin of a mother assuming Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn't work, and for 3 years if it does) is fair? Especially for an act that has been performed billions upon billions of times?

Re:I think you have it backwards (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412953)

>financial ruin of a mother assuming Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn't work, and for 3 years if it does

Ask again, once you can show that any amount of money has been collected from her.

Date of commencment is flawed logic (3, Insightful)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412343)

no statutory damages could be awarded as to any work whose copyright registration effective date was subsequent to the date of defendant's commencement of use of Kazaa

I'm sorry but this logic is laughable. Say I started using Kazaa in 2005. In 2006 I take a newly produced and copywritten album and share it, no problem! The effective date of the copyright (2006) is subsequent to when I started using Kazaa (2005), so I'm in the clear. The earlier you start file sharing, the better!

Re:Date of commencment is flawed logic (3, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412469)

That's not what is being said. Rather, I think the point is that if registration of copyright occurs after the infringement occurs, this has an effect on the calculation of damages.

Re:I think you have it backwards (1)

Klistvud (1574615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412915)

I'm not arguing for Ray or against him, it just makes me think: if the rule of law has been overridden in specific cases (such as possibly in the said trial, or in certain interrogations of terrorist suspects that have supposedly taken place, or, more prominently, in the case of the Guantanamo prisoners) -- can it still be called "rule of law" at all? Or, to put it the other way round: how many such exceptions to "due process" must occur before the "rule of law" should stop being called that? It's a lot like those girls who take it in the mouth and in the ass and elsewhere -- but never in the pussy, so that they can go on calling themselves technically "virgins".

Re:I think you have it backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412445)

Your fantasy-land in which intellectual property has no value, and clearly guilty people have the cases against them dismissed... that's the imaginary one.

True. But it's not an unachievable one. Give the politics time to catch up.

Re:I think you have it backwards (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412517)

It is a shame this post got modded down as I am sure mine will be as well. But the truth is that the law on the books is fully against the defended in this case. As for defendants it would be hard to pick a worse one. If the jury believed this defendant destroyed evidence then it makes the defendant look guilty and scheming. This case was never going to get won by this defendant based on the existing law.

I'm not saying I agree with the law. But it is the law and it doesn't appear to be going any where. US consumers don't seem to care either as the politicians haven't gotten the message that this is some thing they could be voted out of power over. "Home of the free"? Humbug.

I wouldn't care about this case at all if it wasn't for the fact that big US media and US politicians are tripping over them selves to try and force Canada to abandon it's Constitution and Charter of Rights.

Re:I think you have it backwards (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412589)

Given the rest of the case, ultimately the best they could do is argue for more limited damages.

I suspect that the 2nd jury award was an amount greater than the revenue recieved on these songs in a year.

The rationale given for these "stautory damage" law is the difficulty
in computing the harm done to a plaintiff by copyright infringement.
I propose that such harm is not hard to compute at all and that such
harm should be easy to relate to actual revenue generated.

IOW, damages for copyright (even commercial infringement) should not
be much greater than what can be computed from actual sales, actual
demonstrated file transfers or actual revenue.

The fairy land damages theory needs to put to bed.

Re:I think you have it backwards (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412899)

There are several issues that need to be determined.

First - suppose you run a store, and some kid comes in, steals a candy bar, and eats it. You call the law, you call the parents, everyone shows up. Most definitely, someone owes you SOMETHING. The candy bar has a street value of about a dollar. (Oddly, that's pretty close to the street value of a single soundtrack.) What do you demand as recompense? Most store owners don't want the dollar, because they are pissed off. Most store owners don't demand a million dollar payoff, either. Among other reasons, neither the parents, nor the cops, nor a judge, nor any jury is going to go along with such a thing.

So - what is reasonable? Personally, I make the KID pay for his candy bar, by working it off. Tell the parents that he can work in the store for a week, cleaning, mopping, or whatever, OR, you'll take the matter to court.

Compare that to RIAA. They want THOUSANDS of dollars for a ripped off song which has a similar street value to my candy bar. Do you not think that is preposterous? Do you not think that there are issues that need to be resolved here?

In my most honest opinion, Jammie owes the record companies a couple dollars to pay for her downloaded songs. She owes something in the way of punitive damages. 24 songs, at a buck apiece, is 24 bucks. Drawing on ancient tort law, let's treble the damages, so she now owes 72 bucks. If she had been offered this deal from the get-go, her conscience might have convinced her that 72 bucks was a good deal, and paid it.

Even if it goes to court, and a hard fought case goes to RIAA, no sane judge is going to award a million bucks. I invite you to check out your own court system in your own home town. First time offenders convicted of petty theft generally pay restitution, a small fine, court costs, and community service. If there is no lawyer involved, total cost is maybe $1500 bucks. Paying a lawyer in my home town would add 500 bucks to the bill, your mileage may differ.

Personally, as I've said, Jammy probably is guilty of something. But, guilty or not, the penalty has to be something within the realms of reason.

HOWEVER!!! Illegal evidence has never been admissable in a criminal court, nor should it be encouraged in a civil court. RIAA has a lot to answer for, regarding their "investigative" techniques. MediaSentry, among other things, has been shot so full of holes, it resembles the Titanic. Forensic evidence is never properly obtained, documented, or presented. The courts don't even seem to understand what all this evidence is SUPPOSED to mean, let alone examine it to determine if it's legal, and technically correct.

Bottom line, RIAA are a bunch of parasites who manage to get by because they shout "THIEF" more loudly than their victims can.

Let's put RIAA out of everyone's misery, then we might all get together to come up with some sane laws. Note, I don't even say "fair laws". For the sake of this argument, I only require "sane".

Real world? (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412075)

While it may be depressing about the RIAA getting away with it's imaginary world crap, it is good to see that, for everyone else, ridiculous claims are generally seen as such in the court of law. It's good to get some of that perspective back on /.; now all we need to do is figure out a way to snap the RIAA and it's litigation machine back into the real world.

Re:Real world? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412325)

Everyone tells everyone they know what the RIAA is doing and asks them to pass the information on in the same way.... Public ignorance allows the ghouls to keep profiting.

NYCL (0)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412077)

Thanks for the post, we here at /. don't always get to see the inside workings of what should have, could have, been the logical outcome.

I'm going to get modded down for this, but I don't care the RIAA is nothing better than being served up as crow bait

Re:NYCL (1, Insightful)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412127)

You're not going to get modded down for that. You're not even doing a good job pretending to believe it. Since that seems to be the prevailing thought here on /. you will probably end up +5 I Agree....er...Insightful.

Disclaimer: I don't like or agree with the RIAA, but believe the problem is with the broken judicial system. The RIAA is just doing anything they can to stay in business, like any good capitalist business should.

Re:NYCL (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412207)

The RIAA is just doing anything they can to stay in business, like any good capitalist business should.

Now that's funny. A "good" capitalist business should roll with the changes, should cater to their customer, should work with their customer, should take advantage of technology, etc. The RIAA is not a business. It is a lobbying group. It is comprised of businesses. A good business would sue someone who stole their property for the amount of losses they experienced. We do not have that going on here. We have a hilarious trial that stinks to high hell where you are fined $80,000 per song you downloaded in copyright violations.

The businesses that support the RIAA are past due on realizing that the RIAA has outlived itself. Now it's just a monster run amok and the consumers are the victims.

You are without help if you believe the RIAA is just another capitalist business trying to get by in tough times.

Re:NYCL (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412403)

Nonsense. A good capitalist is someone who makes a lot of money. How that money is made is of no concern whatsoever. The morals of capitalists have to be imposed by the government.

Re:NYCL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412503)

I don't think you understand which is probably because I explained it so badly in the first place. I said doing anything they can to stay in business when what I meant is staying in the the most profitable business for them. The people at the top know things are changing (there was an article here on Slashdot about it recently, but I can't find it right this second), so they're squeezing out the last bit of dough from this model before they're forced to move on. Since they believe (and so do I honestly) this model makes them more money than the next one will, they want to ride this pony out. It isn't their fault the judicial system is broken, but they're sure as hell going to use that to their advantage. I don't agree with it or like it, but it's the truth.

The RIAAA is a is a business made of other businesses. Its goal is profit. The method they use (lobbying, lawsuits) doesn't mean they aren't in it to make money. Hit men are for profit businesses too (independent contractor/sole proprietor). Just because their business model is despicable doesn't mean they aren't a for profit organization.

Re:NYCL (1)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412531)

Crap. Apparently I accidentally posted anonymously. I hate it when that happens.

Re:NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412543)

Crap. Apparently I accidentally posted anonymously. I hate it when that happens.

I know what you mean.

Re:NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412631)

Even worse, they try to sabotage and/or sue any smaller companies who do embrace the modern way of thinking.

Re:NYCL (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412945)

the modern way of thinking

Which is... what? That when an artist offers something for sale, it's no OK and "modern" to just rip them off and not pay, rather than go somewhere else for your entertainment? So modern! "Of course I just ripped off music that my favorite artist offered for sale! I'm modern, and everybody else is doing it!"

sabotage and/or sue

Ah, so you've got some case studies of record labels that sue other record labels who give away signed artists' work? Please, do tell.

Re:NYCL (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412909)

A "good" capitalist business should ... cater to their customer

People who rip off a business are not "customers."

should work with their customer

Which most do. The people who are their actual customers are the ones they work with. A retail store really doesn't need to "work with" a shoplifter.

should take advantage of technology, etc

You mean, find a way to avoid having their wares ripped off by people using technology ... like, by using technology to find out who is ripping them off?

A good business would sue someone who stole their property for the amount of losses they experienced.

Or they might even sue for what it costs them to deal with the fact that they were ripped off (as in, the legal costs of having to actually get into a civil court in the first place to make someone stop ripping them off). Losses include what it costs to deal with the fact that there are losses - the costs of dealing with the person you've just caught causing those losses. Or are you saying that a business should pass the true costs of theft on to a real, paying customers, even when they know who is ripping them off?

the consumers are the victims

When you rip somebody off, you don't get to decide later to just pay what the goods would have cost, then - having made that "offer" (which you, being the sort of person who was happy to rip them off in the first place, would never have made unless caught ripping them off in the first place) - get to call yourself a "customer" and demand warm and fuzzy treatment, and complain that the people you were ripping off were mean for having caught you in the act, and then getting testy when you stamp your feet and insist that it's unfair that you can't dictate the terms under which you rip things off.

A "good" capitalist is one that doesn't rip off stuff they're not in the mood to pay for. A good capitalist takes their business to another record label and artist and either buys their entertainment there, or finds someone who wants to work for free, and says so. The people who rip off stuff they're too cheap to pay for, but don't have the intellectual integrity to simply walk away from, are the only ones who are in a position to drive or stop this sort of thing.

If a trade association does sue someone for ripping off one of their members, and there isn't any actual evidence that it happened, then not only is a judge going to laugh it out of court, but that trade association is a legitimate sitting duck for a suit from the person who was baselessly sued. But that doesn't really matter, does it, when the person in question actually was ripping them off, and obviously felt so entitled to do so that even when confronted by the people she ripped off, she just assumed that nothing bad could really happen to her - and poured gasoline on the fire she started.

Re:NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412227)

Disclaimer: I don't like or agree with the RIAA, but believe the problem is with the broken judicial system. The RIAA is just doing anything they can to stay in business, like any good capitalist business should.

Should a capitalist business exploit any and all legal loopholes to make extra profit? And if the answer to that is yes, tell me again why capitalism is a good thing?

Re:NYCL (2, Insightful)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412413)

..tell me again why capitalism is a good thing?

Umm, because its proponents get to live like intergalactic royalty whilst everyone else lives in the gutter?

Did I win?

Re:NYCL (4, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412331)

The RIAA is just doing anything they can to stay in business, like any good capitalist business should.

There's a company that makes blow-up car passengers to help scare off rapists. Do you really believe that they should rape people to make sure their product sells well, or do you think you might have forgotten about ethics somewhere along the line? ;)

Re:NYCL (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412981)

>There's a company that makes blow-up car passengers to help scare off rapists.

The real purpose is to avoid tickets for using carpool lanes, especially the ones that use cameras for enforcement.

Reverse Precedents (1)

bobbagum (556152) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412081)

What's stopping EFF or other entities like this 'country lawyer' to find somebody infringing on someone who's willing to participate and try taking this case to court and see how much damages the court awards. or even better, set up the exact circumstance as per the case, but use different music, ie performed by artists who support the cause. Are there any law stopping people defendant/plaintiff conspiring to go to court to make precedents?

Re:Reverse Precedents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412473)

Well, there are laws against frivolous and phony cases, which can be used against the sort of circumstances you're implying.

Just in... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412097)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save *BSD from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes,

*BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Should have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412109)

What do you mean, should have? You state, "Copyright Act holds that statutory damages should bear a reasonable relationship to actual damages". And yet the statute also states damages can can range from $750 per infringement up to $150,000.

It seems to me that the jury followed the law, they just didn't follow it in a way you would like.

Re:Should have? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#28413001)

Another ridiculous statement. The law was written with commercial applications in mind. Making copies of another man's work FOR SALE is what the law was meant to address. If I copy your work, and make $100 bucks, the judge can reasonably take $750 from me, and give it to the copyright holder. If I made a few thousand dollars before I was busted, the judge might reasonably make me pay $150,000.

Since file sharers don't make any money with uTorrent or any other file sharing scheme, those fines simply don't apply. It takes one twisted sense of spite to apply those punitive damages to people sharing stuff among themselves.

RIAA (5, Insightful)

bbroerman (715822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412151)

Personally, I have not purchased a CD in almost 10 years, and I will not purchase another CD from an RIAA label EVER. That is the only way we can make our voices heard... DO NOT BUY FROM THEM.

Re:RIAA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412575)

Me neither. I steal all my music online. Like the defendant. Acquittal for me, baby!

Re:RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412835)

Personally, I have not purchased a CD in almost 10 years, and I will not purchase another CD from an RIAA label EVER. That is the only way we can make our voices heard... DO NOT BUY FROM THEM.

... to which the RIAA assumes they lost the sale due to piracy, not by any other means. These people are not rational; boycotts do not work with them.

Are the songs really worth that much? (5, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412179)

I purchased the full albums (and a few singles) of the songs that she downloaded and put them on eBay in one single auction. I put the listing at $1.92 million for the starting bid. However, eBay took my listing down, thinking it was a fraudulent listing. I tried explaining to them on the phone that these 19 CDs worth of music were worth $1.92 million, I even linked them THREE DOZEN news articles reporting the value.

Here's a list of the songs she downloaded.

http://www.p2pnet.net/story/23534 [p2pnet.net]

Re:Are the songs really worth that much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412281)

BTW, she uploaded them, not downloaded. Not that I'm defending the RIAA, but let's at least keep the facts straight.

Re:Are the songs really worth that much? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412985)

Cant say i followed the case that closely, but was it ever proven that her computer had ever uploaded said songs to someone?

Iirc, the program used was kazaa. And like bittorrent, its able to download the same file from many sources at ones, favoring those with high upload capacity. So it may well be that at most there was a upload of 1% of a whole song...

Re:Are the songs really worth that much? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412357)

A spokesman for the RIAA also didn't understand this. He said they are still willing to settle for less. Didn't mention how much less though. But it's absurd that this verdict ever got spoken out. Really absurd. I don't life in the States, so we don't have a jury here but actual capable people with a degree in law to handle this kind of things, but I feel sorry for the people who do have a jury based trial. And what's the point in taking someone life's away for a couple of songs. We are outraged when people are trialed for being homosexual in Iran and yet - we the sophisticated Western World will hang you by the balls if you dare to listen to a song before you buy the album.

Re:Are the songs really worth that much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412653)

After reading the list and seeing her awful taste, I think she should be fined 1.92 million USD twice, one time for uploading the songs, and one for listening to it.

Re:Are the songs really worth that much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412723)

Funny thing, I don't know about $1.92 mil, but you'd have to pay me at least $192 to LISTEN to that shitty playlist.

Re:Are the songs really worth that much? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412821)

Outside of an actual transaction, the value of anything is nebulous. Obviously, some things such as commodities that are actively traded can be more accurately estimated in the short-term. However, if you change the trading space, the price can go anywhere. The RIAA arguments are based on one trading space (where a song is on a CD that retails for ~$10), a defense lawyer might argue for an online trading space where most songs are free or at most a dollar. For something with tangible intrinsic value, such as a baseball, this might be a sound basis. But for intellectual property that can either be "downloaded and deleted" like song on the radio, or "downloaded and distributed" like iTunes, the 'potential' value could range from zero to infinity.

This is actually a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" problem. If there were no RIAA, then artists might realize little from the digital distribution of their work. If this happened, and it could, then the news would be full of stories about artists who are victims of a society that exploits their efforts. The press would hype this up in a feeding frenzy -- "artist XXX starves to death while her songs 'top the charts'." If that sounds crazy, then you obviously have never seen Fox News or even CNN.

So, what can be done about it? This falls into the same conundrum category as abortion, Palestine, and anything else where two side can be right about the wrong thing. I suspect that Dante couldn't muster the courage to write about it.

Justifying piracy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412221)

Fellow pirates,

I implore you to continue your campaign on Slashdot to make me feel less guilty. I know that not paying someone for their work is wrong, but if Slashdot posts enough articles bashing the RIAA/MPAA/copyright law/whatever, it's easier for me to accept what I'm doing emotionally by visualizing someone else as the bad guy. Once on the forefront of relevant IT news, Slashdot is now a lame repository of mainstream pseudoscience links and pro-piracy articles to appease a dwindling readership. I am overjoyed.

Even though the open source community is about giving back as much as it is taking, I'm just going to take. I'm a human leech with self-serving beliefs and an inability to empathize with content creators who are trying to make a living.

I don't believe John Carmack should be paid for his work. I'm going to sit on my ass while he spends years coding the next advanced 3D engine from id Software. When their game comes out, I'm going to pirate it without giving a second thought about paying John Carmack for his work. I'm just so used to pirating things now that I take it for granted. If anyone mentions John Carmack to make me feel guilty, I'll look for Slashdot articles that bolster my viewpoint, such as this one [slashdot.org], amusingly posted in the Your Rights Online section even though none of my rights are being violated.

According to that study, it's okay to not pay people for their work because there's some vague hope that they'll make up the difference in income through "concerts and speaking tours." Artists are now forced to take time out of doing what they want to do. John Carmack must stop programming in order to make money from programming. It's genius. The study does exactly what I need it to--make me feel less guilty when I pirate. We've managed to stretch the truth so far that we're actually telling ourselves that we're helping artists by not paying them for their work. Excellent job.

I look forward to Slashdot telling me everyday who the bad guys are. Even though Slashdot has sued websites in the past for copyright infringement, and they've pretended to care about plagiarism, we're supposed to go along with Slashdot's anti-copyright agenda. I'm okay with that hypocrisy because it serves me. It makes me feel less guilty when I pirate something. Remember, I'm not the bad guy--the RIAA/MPAA/whatever is. That makes it okay for me to not pay people for their work.

EULAs and copyright licenses are wrong, yet the GPL is good. Piracy isn't theft, yet GPL violations are referred to as "stolen GPL code." I accept all of these double-standards because it serves me. I pretend not to notice when someone points out that the GPL relies on copyright law, and if I want to get rid of copyright, my beloved open source code will no longer be protected by the GPL. I don't care, because I'm too busy concerning myself with what I want for free, not about the consequences. I want to get rid of copyrights because I've been told that copyrights are the bad guy, and they are an obstacle to my rampant piracy.

Fellow pirates, let us continue our selfish leeching. Let us paint others as the bad guys to absolve us of our emotional guilt. Our goal is to convince people that piracy is something the good guys are doing in a fight with the evil corporations. Making money is wrong, even though Slashdot displays ads, and it cost me money to buy the computer I'm using to pirate stuff.

Yours truly,
A fellow Slashbot

Re:Justifying piracy (3, Funny)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412477)

I'm a human leech with self-serving beliefs and an inability to empathize with content creators who are trying to make a living.

Yah; it's terrible the way you RIAA ghouls abuse those whose interests you purport to serve.

Slashdot Tag Racism (0, Redundant)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412285)

Re:Slashdot Tag Racism (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412999)

That's religious discrimination not racism. You cant choose your race, you can choose your religion. Still doesn't make it right tho.

"Work" is an Album (2, Insightful)

WizardOfFoo (639750) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412297)

As much as I would like to hold that infringing multiple songs off an album constitutes a single infringement, I don't see how that can be reconciled with the fact that each song may have different lyricists, composers, singers, etc - each of which have their own part of the bundle of sticks that constitute the copyrights in a song (god save you if it is a sound recording). Even if one were to take that the band (and by extension the RIAA) has assignments of copyright from all the various people who have a stick in the combined work, that still leaves the problem of multiple copyrights, works, and infringements.

At least from a damages perspective though, we should treat all of those infringements as having a net total worth of that song's fraction of the album's value. Everyone might not be particularly happy with their fraction of a sale but in theory everyone agreed to the contracts that setup the whole divvying scheme (bargaining power is a discussion for another day).

I guess we've all learned a lesson... (2, Insightful)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412329)

...Just go into Wal-Mart and steal the damn CDs!

I mean seriously don't do that, but if you go into Wal-Mart and steal a CD most likely nothing is going to happen to you if you get caught with one CD on you. Maybe they'll call the cops to come scare you, and that's a maybe.

Just getting a copy off the internet though (not even depriving another person or store of the actual CD even) will cost you MILLIONS. I mean really, 1.92 million? I mean if she gave 100% of every paycheck she ever makes, even at a decent wage, she probably won't make that much money in her LIFE. So destroying someones entire existance because they downloaded some songs? Does that seem just?

In Lane County, Oregon (google about our Jail situation, where they have a comuter program to determine who gets released early based on certain criteria) a guy was sentenced to 1 year in jail by a judge for rape. The jails are so over crowded that they (the computer program) let him out after 3 hours!! 2 weeks later he raped and murdered some other lady. (We're all hoping they keep this guy in next time for at least a week :rolls eyes:)

So a rapist gets 3 hours of Jail time, and someone who DL'ed Kazaa to her computer gets their life ruined?

The RIAA are pulling some strings behind the scene I think it's obvious to say.

Re:I guess we've all learned a lesson... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412405)

This case is about uploading, not downloading. Downloading is harmless - the effect is the same as not downloading. Uploading causes damages, because it's unfair competition. Stop spreading this misinformation so we can discuss the actual issues, not some arguments founded on faulty premises.

Re:I guess we've all learned a lesson... (3, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412535)

Speaking of misinformation, you're full of shit.

She was only uploading BECAUSE she downloaded the song, and the software defaulted to uploading it for her without intervention. Technically you are right that the case is about uploading, but there was never any intent to upload on the defendant's part.

Re:I guess we've all learned a lesson... (2, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412793)

LMAO. Yeah. Because Kazaa didn't tell you at the start of the install that files on your computer will be shared with other users unless disabled. Oh wait, it does.

You know, this is a civil case. I find the preponderence of belief that she didn't have any intention to do any such thing really quite high. You know, what with the perjury she committed, the fact that she replaced the hard drive after being caught, and lied about that, etc, etc.

Let's be honest here. Whatever you think or don't think of the RIAA's actions, Jammie Thomas was quite possibly one of the worst defendants that anyone could have chosen to take up the cause. We're not talking the grandmother whose kids come over once every week and play on the PC, etc. We're talking a woman who was logged onto filesharing sites using her email account and username she'd used on dozens of sites over the last decade, when she found out she'd been caught, she immediately went to Best Buy, had them replace her hard drive, then LIED ABOUT IT IN COURT, for a start.

Re:I guess we've all learned a lesson... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412447)

Dammit. I had mods in this thread, but this typo is too funny to ignore:

google about our Jail situation, where they have a comuter program...

That is a bad overcrowding problem, indeed, if measures like that need to be taken.

Sorry NewYorkCountryLawyer (1, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412333)

Sorry NewYorkCountryLawyer, In the "real world", the case would not have been dismissed. It would've ended with a guilty verdict in small claims court.

Re:Sorry NewYorkCountryLawyer (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412463)

Maybe you should have at least read the summary before commenting. As there is no mod for illiteracy or lack of reading comprehension, I'll summarize instead:

In the "real world", if the case had not been dismissed then damages (in the low five figures) would have been awarded.

Re:Sorry NewYorkCountryLawyer (4, Insightful)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412609)

Well...

You shouldn't concentrate so much on that verdict, but as to what that verdict does to foreign perception of the US. I live but two hours from the US border, and what Jamie did doesn't even qualify as a civil issue, let alone a crime, where I live. Unfortunately, US lobbyists are trying to change the law here, but, so far, with little success (except for the typical lip service; love to see politicos at work sucking hard!).

Tough luck on the verdict, USA. I am laughing at you.

Now, for a practical matter. If a friend from the US comes and visits, and makes copies (or downloads) of music, is she liable for copyright infringement when she returns to the US? Now, further, if she downloads exclusively from me, and yet is resident in the US, is she guilty?

Tough questions, but these SHOULD be resolved in a hurry. After all, the difference between $0 and $1.92 million is, well, $1.92 million! Comparisons to cocaine smuggling are welcome... You can get 500 songs on the cheapest mp3 player these days, which is 400 times what Jamie is accused of, with a potential fine of 1/2 billion dollars now -- Say this out loud, and try not to break out laughing. "a $20 investment can result in $500 million in fines".

Nope, couldn't keep a straight face, sorry.

If you're on a jury for cases like this, NULLIFY. (5, Informative)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412353)

If you're ever on a jury in the United States, the legal system will wrongly try to convince you that they're either guilty or not guilty, but there is a third way: nullification or veto powers.

This is when you think the law is bad, or you otherwise cannot convict them under it by your conscience. It still exists to this day, but simply remains mostly unknown.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification [wikipedia.org]

In this case, I would have absolutely nullified a potential $2 million fine. Did she do it? Sure. But it's a bad law resulting in excessive fines.

It only takes one juror who knows his or her rights to stop this kind of crap. For more information as your rights at a juror, see the Fully Informed Jury Association.

http://fija.org/ [fija.org]

-SKO

Re:If you're on a jury for cases like this, NULLIF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412453)

I read the Wikipedia article. It specifically says that nullifcation is a de facto right in *criminal* trials. Isn't this case a tort?

Re:If you're on a jury for cases like this, NULLIF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412603)

I'm sure this has been posted a million times.

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man,
by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

--Thomas Jefferson

Blame the system (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412379)

The judicial system deserves more blame the RIAA for this. The judicial system is setup, guided and managed purely to serve the interests of the lawyers.
And they do everything to make it complicated, slow and expensive. They make the laws and they get paid to fight for/against it as well.

Monday morning quarterbacking (5, Interesting)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412393)

The blog post ignores the fact that a trial is a dynamic process. Had he made the arguments he lists, then RIAA lawyers would quite likely have countered them with appropriate arguments and evidence. For example:

Liability-Reproduction right
Plaintiffs failed to introduce an iota of evidence that Jammie Thomas-Rasset had made a single copy using Kazaa.
Result: directed verdict on reproduction right.

If he made that argument at trial, the RIAA would almost certainly have introduced evidence that bit-for-bit identical copies of the songs in question are available on Kazaa, that such an identical copy is unlikely to have occurred if she ripped the song herself, and that she didn't own the albums in question. Circumstantial evidence, perhaps, but probably enough to get the issue to the jury instead of a directed verdict.

Some of his statements are questionable as a matter of law:

The jury should have been instructed that a "work" is an album, and that multiple mp3's from one album constitutes a single "work".

There is not particularly strong precedent on this issue. Some courts have held that this is the case, it's true, but as best I can find they were only district courts and not in the same circuit as Minnesota (where the Thomas case was held), further diminishing their already merely persuasive authority. I do not believe there is any mandatory authority on this point for the District of Minnesota, which means that the RIAA lawyers may well have been successful in persuading the judge to adopt a one song, one work basis for calculating statutory damages.

Some of his statements sound impressive but wouldn't have made a difference:

The jury could have been instructed that no statutory damages could be awarded as to any work whose copyright registration effective date was subsequent to the date of defendant's commencement of use of Kazaa

A quick check at the US Copyright Registry of a random selection of the songs that Ms. Thomas infringed shows that they were registered many years ago, in some cases over a decade ago, and easily predated any infringement by Ms. Thomas.

Ultimately, this is about drumming up interest in his law firm and ad revenue from his blog, which Slashdot happily hands him about once a week or so. It also does a lot to poison the potential jury pool for future copyright litigation, which is of great interest to a lawyer who works those kinds of cases on the side of the defense. One should take everything Mr. Beckerman says about these issues with a grain of salt appropriate to the magnitude of his self-interest.

In short, this is nothing but Monday morning quarterbacking, and not particularly good quarterbacking at that. It should also tell one something that most of his legal arguments are not backed up by citations to relevant authorities.

Re:Monday morning quarterbacking (2, Insightful)

jeffliott (1558799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412571)

I think your analysis is fair, but I also think it totally disregards one of the most important points which IMHO is the unrealistic ratio of the judgment to actual proven damages. However, since anyone with a fair bit of knowledge of the case and the issue in general could have told you that, I can't help but agree that it is at best gratuitous and at worst, advertising.

Re:Monday morning quarterbacking (2)

GuloGulo2 (972355) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412765)

I've been saying this for years, and you can see the result in my karma.

Funny, the trolls seem to have let you off fairly easily...

Re:Monday morning quarterbacking (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412857)

Boo hoo hoo. Your karma is in the pits because you're a fucking twat, not because you're some messenger of uncomfortable truths.

I imagine a parallel universe sometimes, too (2, Interesting)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412397)

I'm sad to see this judgment turn out the way it did. But I can't help but wish Ray had reported with a little bit less spin. Every time he had a story submission, it was like it was a guaranteed fact that the RIAA was on the ropes and there was no way Thomas would lose. I understand the PR world and how you want to leave the overwhelming impression that there's no way you can lose because sometimes that actually helps you win. But I don't think the slashdot crowd was very well served. I would have liked a more neutral point of view where from time to time they said things like, "yes, this bit DOES suck but it's likely it will apply based on other court judgments."

I know Ray pointed out several things that he thought were just plain wrong, but I start feeling like I'm not sure if I'm reading the neutral factual opinion or the press release version. As it stands, the laws are pretty stacked against the way most of on slashdot wish it was. Until we get those changed, I see little hope for courtroom victories.

Re:I imagine a parallel universe sometimes, too (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412811)

But I don't think the slashdot crowd was very well served.

I am very sorry you are unhappy with what you have gotten for free.

Re:I imagine a parallel universe sometimes, too (1)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412817)

I am very sorry you are unhappy with what you have gotten for free.

Actually, I'm a subscriber. Thanks for the free attitude, though.

Re:I imagine a parallel universe sometimes, too (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412979)

Actually, I'm a subscriber. Thanks for the free attitude, though.

My mistake. I didn't realize Ray was involved with that.

I guess I don't know what financials for all involved are going on, so I'm going to back out now.

PS, my services for free attitude are always available! (Except holidays and standard blackout dates)

Advertise (3, Interesting)

Son of Byrne (1458629) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412507)

Hey NYCL, maybe you'd be interested in heading up a campaign to collect some funds from those of us in the know to educate the masses. I know from experience that the biggest problem with these court cases is ignorance. The judges sound like they're catching up, but I believe the persons on jury panels are still ignorant of the real dollar values involved and the facts surrounding the RIAA's abuses of the judicial system.

The first thing that comes to mind is that there are scads of advertisements from the MPAA and the RIAA that go to great lengths to equate copyright infringement with criminal theft (a very successful campaign I might point out based upon ignorant comments on this very website). What the world needs right now is not love, but balance. We're lacking *any* kind of counterpoint regarding consumer digital rights. I'd be thrilled to pieces to see one shred of advertisement (a billboard ad, paid ad time on network TV, etc.) that presented the opposition to the RIAA and the MPAA.

In short, if someone were to take the lead and head up a group that took funds from the public that were then used in a campaign of this sort, then I would be the first person in line to donate some cash.

I know, the EFF is *supposed* to be leading the charge on this, but I've seen not one physical manifestation of their efforts. Advertising on the Internet is cheap...but obviously not as effective as a commercial that equates stealing a car with downloading a song.

Anyone?

Re:Advertise (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412787)

You will find that it's more effective to work together with others. Even if you do want to start a separate organisation, get in touch with the EFF; start working with them and see if they can give you advice and help. See what you can do for them. Maybe they want to do what you want to do but just don't have a volunteer who is able to do it or get the money together?

It isn't a parallel universe, sadly (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412557)

It's the same problem in the US legal system that now is starting to infest other legal systems: the idea that the rights of a corporation take precedence over the rights of an individual, and that the scale of litigation and punishment should be related to the turnover of the corporation rather than that of the individual.

As a Brit, I'm aware that my own country's legal system has gone rather downhill over the last 30 years. But the thing that strikes a European most about the US legal system is its cruelty. Punitive damages. Unconvicted defendants for white collar crimes going into court with wire ties binding their wrists. Three strikes and you're out for even a trivial third offense. "Humane" systems of execution where executioners spin out the proceedings for hours. Obviously practice varies greatly across the US States, just as some EU countries (ahem, Greece, ahem) have crap legal systems and others like Germany have good ones. But you only have to look at the outcome of the Pirate Bay case in Sweden, and this one, to see the disproportion involved. The effect of the Pirate Bay case on the European elections (and now a German MEP has defected to the Pirate Party) also shows the different levels of popular tolerance involved.

US citizens need to start growing a backbone. You do not have to support criminal activity to demand that corporations not be allowed to take over and distort the legal system.

This is good (2, Informative)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412581)

When your friend starts eating his toast with the buttered side down, he's just a little quirky.

When he packages his hair and nail clippings and burns them on a toy boat in the backyard pool, he's eccentric.

When he kills the neighbor's cat and wears the skin on his head proclaiming himself the beast master, he's bat-shit insane.

We've reached stage three with the RIAA, and now everyone can see it. It's time for treatment.

NYCL? Why not take up the cause directly? (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412591)

I am sure I am not alone in wondering why NYCL hasn't taken up the cause directly. It is a problem of venue or being licensed somewhere specific? If the case could be won "easily" then I have to wonder why it isn't being done?

the perjury factor (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412695)

Did this country lawyer's client create the impression that he or she was lying to a jury? I think we shouldn't ignore that element, because it is probably the most significant single factor that lead to the large judgment.

how to fix the system? (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412699)

If we take as a given that this farce got as far as it has because the system is broken, then we must consider how to fix the system.

So, how can this system be fixed, and what can I personally do to help?

Dred Scott (2, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28412703)

Outcomes like this $1.92 million in damages for nothing hurt and weaken our system. Whatever a person's stand on copyright and Thomas' guilt, I'm seeing agreement that the amount is excessive and unfair. It reinforces cynical ideas that the whole system is corrupt, shot full of bribery and payoffs. It's also, as everyone realizes, complete bull. The fine is uncollectable. She'll never have the money. She's stuck now for years more litigation, trying to appeal all this. If this fine is ultimately upheld or she feels that the agonies of further fighting are worse than giving up, she is stuck having her wages garnished for the rest of her life, or going through bankruptcy, or maybe fleeing to another nation and asking for asylum.

Dred Scott was another unjust decision. That one lead to Civil War. Other issues have lead to civil unrest. The courts and lawmakers should think about such things when they do their work.

Well, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412705)

That's because you're a shitty lawyer.

the good news about the verdict is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28412837)

I now have several billion dollars worth of cds sitting at home that I can sell at the new going rate and retire off of.

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