Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Jammie Thomas Moves To Strike RIAA $1.92M Verdict

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-excruciating-detail dept.

The Courts 392

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Jammie Thomas-Rasset has made a motion for a new trial, seeking to vacate the $1.92 million judgment entered against her for infringement of 24 MP3 files, in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset. Her attorneys' brief (PDF) argues, among other things, that the 'monstrous' sized verdict violates the Due Process Clause, consistent with 100 years of SCOTUS jurisprudence, since it is grossly disproportionate to any actual damages sustained. It further argues that, since the RIAA elected to offer no evidence of actual damages, either as an alternative to statutory damages, or to buttress the fairness of a statutory damages award, the verdict, if it is to be reduced, must be reduced to zero."

cancel ×

392 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Some people should realize that... (4, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604363)

Resistance is futile in some cases ;-))

Disclaimer: The above sentence was intentionally left ambiguous if we relate to TFA context. As a hint, by "resistance",
"A force that tends to oppose or retard motion." was meant.

Re:Some people should realize that... (4, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604501)

"A force that tends to oppose or retard motion."

I think that very well describes the motion in question; it opposes a retarded motion. ;)

Re:Some people should realize that... (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604821)

I was sure he was talking about the MPAA!

Re:Some people should realize that... (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604909)

If the law says the judge can award $80k per violation, while outrageous, there is nothing retarded about a judge doing so. Remember, you don't change laws in court, you change them in Congress.

IMO the judge in question should be shot for total lack of decency, along with those who passed a law awarding a HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES the retail value of the file, of course, but still, it's not the courts' fault if the laws are bad.

Re:Some people should realize that... (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604923)

I'm fairly sure the judge duked out whatever he could for the sole reason that she deliberately did whatever she could to BS him. Judges are only people, and people who don't like to be BSed.

Re:Some people should realize that... (3, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604959)

I'm fairly sure the judge duked out whatever he could for the sole reason that she deliberately did whatever she could to BS him. Judges are only people, and people who don't like to be BSed.

That doesn't change the fact that the law allowed him to do this. Oh, and

Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Re:Some people should realize that... (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604963)

Remember, you don't change laws in court, you change them in Congress.

If only more Americans understood this.

Re:Some people should realize that... (3, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605111)

I think most Americans DO understand this, but there is a partisan fiction that they don't. At a high level, though, judges get to change laws, IF (IFF, in theory) they are unconstitutional, or unjust. The whole "legislating from the bench" thing is generally a silly post-hoc argument we use when a judge doesn't rule in a way we (based on our political ideals) want.

Oddly, some of our favorite rulings are cases of "ruling from the bench", such as the right to privacy being within the "penumbra" of the constitution, but we don't complain because we subjectively like the idea. Wherein Roe v. Wade is often cited as "ruling from the bench" because a certain segment hates the idea of it.

The judicial branch is also part of the checks and balances scheme, they get to say that laws are bad, which invalidates the law.
They exist to keep congress in check. This is fine and dandy by me.

Re:Some people should realize that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605117)

I'm fairly sure it was the Jury that decided on damages, not the judge.

Can't pay the fine? (1, Insightful)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604371)

Don't do the crime.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (1, Redundant)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604385)

Would you have been able to estimate the fine before this trial?

Re:Can't pay the fine? (0)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604441)

Would you have been able to estimate the fine before this trial?

Yes... Why couldn't you?

The damages were statutory, and weren't even the maximum, as I understand it.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (4, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604541)

It's ironic as I mentioned this very case in the thread about "Don't Copy that Floppy" as the RIAA get $84,000 per song or whatever it works out too, and Air France is giving families of the victims of the Airbus crash $24,000.

Three dead travelers worth less than one song apparently.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604655)

For French people, that's still overpriced. ;)

Re:Can't pay the fine? (4, Funny)

narfspoon (1376395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604727)

Three dead travelers worth less than one song apparently.

Jammie Thomas' Playlist:

  • "Welcome to the Jungle"; "November Rain" By Guns ’N Roses
  • "Let’s What Awhile" By Janet Jackson
  • "Iris" By Goo Goo Dolls
  • "Save the Best for Last" By Vanessa Williams
  • "Cryin" By Aerosmith
  • "Here We Are"; "Coming Out of the Heart"; "Rhythm is Gonna Get You" By Gloria Estefan
  • "Basket Case" by Green Day
  • "Faithfully"; "Don’t Stop Believing" By Journey
  • "Bills, Bills, Bills" By Destiny’s Child
  • "Possession"; "Building a Mystery" By Sara McLachlan
  • "Now and Forever" By Richard Marx
  • "One Step Closer" By Linkin Park
  • "Run Baby Run" By Sheryl Crow
  • "Pour Some Sugar on Me" By Def Leppard
  • "Bathwater"; "Hella Good"; "Different People" By No Doubt
  • "One Honest Heart" By Reba McEntire
  • "Somebody" By Bryan Adams

You have to realize that figure was averaged per song. Three dead travelers don't even come close to the value of "Welcome to the Jungle". They might be worth a Goo Goo Dolls song however.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (2, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605019)

Well, the argument can be made that Air France disaster was due to an act of God, and that the money they gave the families is not an admission of liability, just helping them with funeral costs (or whatever). Whereas the RIAA verdict was for a willful violation of a law by the defendant.

Not saying I agree with this, just saying one *could* look at it like that...

Re:Can't pay the fine? (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605089)

So when God fucks up it's less of a problem than when I do? Great, he's first of all much more powerful to avoid it than I am and he's also an effing lot richer.

I knew it all the time. If you have money and power, you won't get blamed for anything.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (2, Funny)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605055)

They're lucky Air France didn't treat them like the RIAA members treat the artists. In that case the families would have been charged extra for the special effects used to promote the flight.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (4, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604417)

Maybe we can employ the same logic for speeding tickets. $1.9 million because I may be able to go 105 in a 35 despite the fact that I was going 40. Downloading 24 songs is not worth destroying someone's life over. Look at the penalties for vehicular homicide and tell me the fine fits the crime.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (4, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604683)

Maybe we can employ the same logic for speeding tickets. $1.9 million because I may be able to go 105 in a 35 despite the fact that I was going 40. Downloading 24 songs is not worth destroying someone's life over. Look at the penalties for vehicular homicide and tell me the fine fits the crime.

Ok...I did look at a recent high profile case, a case as media newsworthy as the $1.92 million RIAA case, about vehicular manslaughter, where an NFL player killed someone while he was driving drunk. Do you think this penalty fits the crime? Or is our justice system truly fucked at all ends?

NFL receiver Donte' Stallworth, a former University of Tennessee star, began serving a jail sentence Tuesday for hitting and killing Miami resident Mario Reyes on March 14th while driving drunk. He had apparently spent the night celebrating a $4.5 million dollar roster bonus he received the day before at a luxury hotel bar.

His blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was a reported .126, well above Florida's legal limit of .08.

Mr. Stallworth not only chose to not check into a room to sleep it off, he proceeded to drive his vehicle while seriously impaired, at an estimated 50 mph in a 40 mph zone when he struck the 59-year-old father of one as he rushed to catch a bus after his shift for a construction company ended that fateful day.

Was he sentenced to multiple years in prison? Were there throngs of protesters lining the streets and sidewalks at his trial? Will he be vilified and his livelihood taken away?

The answer to all of the above is no. Stallworth pled guilty to DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. 30 DAYS! He will serve only 24 because he gets credit for one day served and will get five days credit for each month served, according to Florida law.

http://www.t-g.com/story/1548024.html [t-g.com]

If you drunk dive and kill someone with your car you should get 24 days in jail. But download 24 songs and expect nearly $2 million in fines. We need to start reexamining our courtrooms.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604789)

1) He likely paid much more than $2 million in his settlement with the family.
2) The "victim" was attempting to cross a 6 lane divided highway with wall barriers and concrete center dividers in the dark and was nowhere near a crosswalk or streetlight.
3) Stallworth should have done more time for the DUI.
4) Manslaughter is a huge stretch in this case which is why the DA settled.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604845)

5) Other drivers in the area noted that it would have been impossible for even a non-impaired driver to have avoided hitting the victim.

Was it stupid for the guy to drive while impaired? Yes. Would it have made a difference if he had been completely sober? Probably not.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605001)

>If you drunk dive and kill someone with your car you should get 24 days in jail. But download 24 songs and expect nearly $2 million in fines. We need to start reexamining our courtrooms.

That's because 24 songs is worth more. What is a 59-year-old father worth? Not much compared to, say, 24 Beatles songs. That's treasure.

It's like the old Fight Club trope. "If the cost of a recall is more than the lawsuit, we don't do one."

Re:Can't pay the fine? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604703)

so long as you play in the NFL, you can kill someone in a DUI crash and do 30 days.

    this woman stole some songs. by doing so, others may have been able to steal those songs too.
    however, nobody died. the songs are undamaged. the artists are still fucking rich.

    the fact that lawyers can get away with this allows me to look more softly upon murderers.
    when you break justice anywhere, you break it everywhere. this madness must end soon.

Re:Can't pay the fine? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604687)

Don't do the rhyme
If you're retarded

Re:Can't pay the fine? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605087)

You'd be the first criminal to even consider being caught before committing it.

Ok, the first non-white-collar criminal, where criminal action is more a question of "possible profit vs. chance of being caught and possible fine", where it's generally not a matter of legal or illegal but rather one of profit vs. expense.

Do you think the average bank robber wastes a single second on pondering what's gonna happen if he's caught? Or murder. Hell, there's places where you're killed for murder, but did that eliminate people doing it? Hell no.

Statutory Damages (5, Interesting)

fandingo (1541045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604407)

are used when actual damages cannot be determined. Since the RIAA was able to show that there was distribution (the jurors bought it), they can seek statutory damages. They have no idea how many copies Ms. Thomas assisted in making. The law is crystal clear on this. In copyright law, plaintiffs can seek statutory damages when actual damages cannot be determined. I'm in no way defending the law, but it is clear. If this judge were to throw this out, it would be a case of exceptional judicial activism. I applaud his plea after the first trial to Congress to fix this problem. The courts have no authority to change something like this. I've been saying this since before her second trial, she should have settled, and she still should. The RIAA has gone out of its way to try to reach a settlement. In fact, according to Ars Technica (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/jammie-thomas-challenges-monstrous-192m-p2p-verdict.ars) they are still willing to settle for less than the Copyright Act allows (24 *750 = 18,000). You got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them. She could get out of this surprisingly reasonably, but instead, she wants to hit a home run.

Re:Statutory Damages (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604447)

Maybe she should pay the price of one record per shared mp3? That'd be something like $240.

Or ten record, which would come to $2400.

However, I just don't figure how the imaginary damages could rack up $18k, let alone $192M.
Whoever awarded those damages had no sense of proportion, or was bribed.

Regardless - if someone destroyed my life over some songs, I'd probably do the same to them.
What's few hundred k more for battery and assault, if you already owe $190M more than you
can reasonably ever earn. For that matter, no monetary fine would ever feel like anything -
and jail time is expensive to the society. So.. maybe it's just not worth it?

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604555)

It's not $192M, it is a mere pittance of $2M
Still a bit steep for 24 crappy records.

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604957)

Uh... sir, could you spare half a pittance? I promise you I won't waste it on booze!

Re:Statutory Damages (5, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604563)

Following your logic, $1.92 million at $0.99 per song (ie. around iTunes price) she'd have to have uploaded 1.92 million songs. Assuming an average 3.5mb per song, that's 6.4 terabytes of data uploaded. On a 256kbps uplink, that's
6.7 years of continuous uploading.

(As an aside - holy shit is Google getting scary! To calculate that, I typed in "1.92 million * 3.5 megabytes" and it said "6.40869141 terabytes". Then I asked it "6.41 terabytes / 256kbps" and got 6.81574337 years. I'm starting to think we should be referring to Google as 'a logic called Joe'. :S )

Re:Statutory Damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604649)

Whats really amazing is that you seem to think that a crappy 20:1 MP3 rip is worth 99 cents.

Re:Statutory Damages (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604849)

(As an aside - holy shit is Google getting scary! To calculate that, I typed in "1.92 million * 3.5 megabytes" and it said "6.40869141 terabytes". Then I asked it "6.41 terabytes / 256kbps" and got 6.81574337 years. I'm starting to think we should be referring to Google as 'a logic called Joe'. :S )

You think that's impressive? Try calculating how much energy the sun has (E=mc^2): mass of sun * c^2 [google.no] . Want it in a different unit? Just say so: in kilowatt hours [google.no] . It does currency conversions and plenty other useful things too. It's not just the search results keeping google on top...

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604871)

(As an aside - holy shit is Google getting scary! To calculate that, I typed in "1.92 million * 3.5 megabytes" and it said "6.40869141 terabytes". Then I asked it "6.41 terabytes / 256kbps" and got 6.81574337 years. I'm starting to think we should be referring to Google as 'a logic called Joe'. :S )

I've been plugging calculations like that into Google for years... it's nothing new.

Re:Statutory Damages (0)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605077)

you can also do it with wolfram :D

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605029)

Try 6 kilowatts / 45 kph and you'll get:

(6 kilowatts) / (45 kph) = 480 newtons

e.g. if 6 kilowatts only gets you to a max speed of 45 kph that means there's 480 newtons of resistance/drag.

FWIW, I tried 6.40869141 terabytes in library of congress (and also libraries of congress), and Google didn't help with that.

Re:Statutory Damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604943)

Better yet, figure out how many days of community service she should do for stealing a CD and then figure out what the average pay for a days worth of work is (based on the jury and accounting for weekends, vacations and holidays) and have her pay that for the equivalent number of CDs... assuming 12 songs per cd and an average salary of $40,000/year on the jury, fine her $653.06 [wordpress.com] and be done with it.

Re:Statutory Damages (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605105)

As been said before, the problem is the law and not the verdict.

But I disagree with fandingo. In rare cases, not only judicial activism isn't a "dirty term", it is a necessity. The current us law, regarding copyright, with the unholy matrimony between state, government, (lots of) money, lobbyists and a dying bloated industry, should be considered unlawful. This case is a clear case of big corporations using political leverages to step on the little people.

A *minimum* of 18,000$ as statuary damages (as defined by the current stupid law) for sharing 24 songs, against an individual without an intent to make profits, is ludicrous and calls for judicial activism. This is a clear case of "not by the people and against the people". Justice calls for the courts to step in and tell the two headed giant (govt. + corporations) to fucking leave the people alone.

Re:Statutory Damages (4, Insightful)

nixish (1390127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604477)

Isn't there some kind of common-sense law which prohibits especially large amounts like this to be handed down to individuals?? Also, going for a home run is a good idea if the lawyer by your side is one of the best in the country (which is true in this case).

Re:Statutory Damages (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604577)

Isn't there some kind of common-sense law which prohibits especially large amounts like this to be handed down to individuals?

There's language in the bill of rights that prohibits "excessive fines". This is a civil action though, so it's back to court to figure out whether an excessive award in a civil case is also prohibited.

-jcr

Re:Statutory Damages (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605037)

Its always amused me how people can make pedantic arguments WRT civil vs criminial law with a straight face or spout a variety of "legal" arguments which on their face are nonsensical to all ordinary sane persons.

We can fuck up your life with civil action that we couldn't otherwise "get away" with in criminial proceedings. Even though the effective penality can be less in the criminal case.

OJ simpson was found not guilty in a court of law but double jepoardy does not extend to "wrongful death" lawsuites even though its essentially a trial for the same thing -- only the penalty is different.

The US legal system is not fair or logical. If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of it.. do yourself a favor -- shut your face and get a lawyer because being nice, helpful or thinking that the legal system is in any way shape or form based on logic or reason can end up biting you in the ass.

Its only possible to change the law through an act of congress and congress will not act against RIAA lobby money unless they hear loud and clear their re-election is tied to acting in a reasonable manner on the topics you care about.

Re:Statutory Damages (5, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604623)

Nope, as the OP explained, judges aren't allowed to use common sense if a law says otherwise. Ultimately, people vote to elect a government that will make laws telling the judges what to do. This is how the system works.

Higher court judges have more discretion at their disposal with regards to using common sense, I would bet she will still be found guilty but the amount to pay could be lowered.

Lower court judges tend to stick to the text of the law. Nothing is worse for a lower court judge career than getting his sentence overruled by a higher court judge because he did not follow the text of the law. As long as he stick to the text of the law, he is safe.

It is easier for higher court judges to establish jurisprudence. It is more risky for lower court judges although it occurs sometimes.

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604971)

So people voting based on emotions elect people who make decisions based on bribes.

Dunno if that system is really worth keeping. Let's make it an anarchy, with a really strong, powerful anarch!

Re:Statutory Damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605031)

Idunno, it just might work if people's emotions were strongly inversely related to the bribes.

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605063)

Oh, in general they are, as long as the bribes don't go into their own pockets. But since you usually only get to hear about it when the greens end up with you, the general sentiment to them is quite positive...

Re:Statutory Damages (5, Insightful)

adri (173121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604489)

Luckily, it is people like this who are the reason why laws change.

The RIAA have their low-risk win adding to their warchest of successfully run litigation if she settles. Now they -have- to engage the courts as much as they can to win. They -have- to publicly lobby, they -have- to look the bad guy to ${PUBLIC}. They may win - and it'd be a big win - but they may lose, and losing at such a high level is quite a setback.

At the end of the day, she could've settled, but she's chosen to stand and fight. Would you do the same, given the circumstances?

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

fandingo (1541045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604803)

I think that the problem that I was trying to point out is that this is not a constitutional question. I think that the damages in the Copyright Act are perfectly acceptable from a constitutional standpoint. But again, I don't think they are ethically reasonable and should be changed quickly.

When I look at Ms. Thomas' behavior, I only see a fool. A fool sacrificing him/herself does not good to a cause. General Custer was not a hero or courageous; he was an idiot that got all of his men and himself killed. There was no honor in that. I think she is doing the same thing, and I think that her counsel, especially Kiwi, has put this idea in her head that she can change the whole system.

So adri, no I wouldn't do the same thing as her because there's no reason to throw myself in front of that bus. It just won't do any good. The only "win" that I can see coming out of this is a reform in the Copyright Act, but that won't help her at all -- she still broke the current version.

In my previous post, I forgot to discuss why I think that there is no constitutional argument against the verdict. The primary case that would be used to assert that the verdict was unconstitutionally high was BMW of North America v. Gore (1996). Gore bought a car that he later found out had been repainted, which decreased the value of the car. BMW's policy was that if the the repair cost 3% of the value, then it would still sell the car as "new." State court awarded him $2000 for the loss in value and $4M in punitive damages. Supremes eventually got the case and ruled that the punitive damage was too high.
They established three guidelines to determine if a punitive damage was too high.
      1. The degree of reprehensibility of the defendantâ(TM)s conduct;
      2. the ratio to the compensatory damages awarded (actual or potential harm inflicted on the plaintiff); and
      3. Comparison of the punitive damages award and civil or criminal penalties that could be imposed for comparable misconduct.
However, they did rule that damages could be very high if it was "necessary to deter future conduct."

In State Farm v. Campbell (2003), SCOTUS clarified the Gore ruling further with the =10x punitive award rule.

I don't think that these cases apply to Ms. Thomas because:
1) It's not a punitive award. It's statutory. the problem with punitive awards is that they are inconsistent and are not strongly codified.
2) It is certainly in line with guideline #3. Criminal copyright prosecution is exceedingly rare, but the penalties are scary: up to $250,000 and/or 5 years in prison per offense. The statutory damages are in line with that.
3) Guideline #2 is a non-issue because statutory damages are allowed because actual damages are too difficult to determine. There is no way to show how many copies were made, etc., so the statutory damages must be used (although I personally wish there was a better method to determine damages).
4) I think that guideline #1 is the most important one, and I think it's why the jury really took her to the cleaners. I'm not totally sure about the hard drive, but it's certainly arguable that she may have tried to destroy it. She lied about having it replaced through the first depositions. She perjured herself in both depositions and in front of the court. Her actions were reprehensible (I mean her behavior. I don't think the infringement is really that big of a deal).

I feel bad about this case, but not for her. I feel for her kids and family; what she did was not fair to them. She has acted stupidly and got burned. I really don't want to say this, but I think it needs to be said. It's going to sound wrong, but just think about it for a second. I sort of feel bad for the RIAA. They are really stuck in a hard place. The organization's livelihood (which is just a bunch of people who have families of their own) depends on the revenue from sound recordings. If people are "using" those recordings, without compensating them, that's just not right. What are they supposed to do, give up? Property rights are one of the cornerstones of civilization. They are trying to defend their rights. Not once during either trial did they ask for certain damages; not once did they suggest that higher damages be awarded. They were just as shocked as the defense and everyone following the trial. Right after the trial, the RIAA's head spokeswoman, Cara Duckworth, said that they had been and still were willing to settle for far less than the court verdict. Honestly what could they do different? Put yourself in their shoes. If a sizable amount of your work was essentially being "stolen" from you, what would you do? I think it would be incredibly disingenuous to say that you wouldn't seek to get some sort of compensation or at least try to dissuade people from acting similarly in the future.

That went on far longer than I wanted it to. I feel dirty now, but I think it legitimately needs to be said. All too often I think people on this site get too caught up in the "free" culture (I'm not talking about open source. I talking more "gimme" or looting-esque. I'm a big fan of opensource). That everything should be provided on the terms that I want, and if they aren't and I know some technological way to get them on my terms, then it's ok.

Just think about it. Ducks.

Re:Statutory Damages (2, Insightful)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604807)

"They have no idea how many copies Ms. Thomas assisted in making."

So it could have been zero?

So I am with my cousin Bob, whom I haven't seen in almost a year. He requests a drive to the store, since he's had several beer and I've only had one. I give him one. Seems he's a bit of a low life and he robs the store, killing the clerk. He comes out and we leave. The clerk had time to hit the silent alarm before dieing and we are stopped a few blocks away.

I'm charged with murder and threatened with a death sentence. Yet I didn't know anything was going to happen - and didn't even realize anything until we stopped. Do I take the 40 - 50 year plea just because someone deems it fair? Reasonable chance the jury won't believe that I "knew nothing" and that I may end up prison, or worse. But sometime in life you have to take a stand. You can only applaud someone brave enough too.

Re:Statutory Damages (1, Funny)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604855)

No I wouldn't, if I was clearly and obviously guilty. I've been given a speeding fine before. I was speeding. There were a ton of mitigating factors, but at the end of the day, I was speeding, so I paid the fine. I could have wasted a year of my life arguing in court, but I have a life to get on with, and I knew I'd broken the law.
Somehow jammie believes her own hype and somehow convinced herself she is innocent.

Re:Statutory Damages (4, Insightful)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604919)

There's a bit of a difference in scale here. How do you get on with your life after paying a two million dollar fine? It's a financial death sentence and it's no surprise that she's taking any and all chances at dodging it.

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604983)

Yes. It ties up their resources and I'm fucked either way. If I settle, I'm down more money than I can pay, just as well if I don't. So where's my advantage if I allow them to free their resources up for the next case? Gimme something I want if you want me to let you reuse your lawyers.

Re:Statutory Damages (5, Informative)

greensoap (566467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604499)


Standard, I am not a lawyer, I do not intend to create a legal relationship with any reader. This is merely my opinion and should not be relied upon under any situation. If in need of legal advice go get competent legal advice from a bar certified attorney in your jurisdiction

.
Sorry parent, but that is not how statutory damages work in copyright. In copyright cases, the holder gets to elect to take statutory damages instead of actual damages. There is no requirement that they show an inability to prove actual damages in that case. The only limitation is that the work must be registered with the Copyright office in order to be eligible for statutory damages.

The statutory damages range from $750 - $30,000 per infringed work. That $750 is why the RIAA is willing to go only that low, since they will recover atleast that amount at trial--unless the defendant can show that she was not aware and had no reason to know she was infringing. Damages jump to $150,000 per work when the infringement is willful.

17 USC 412 explains registration
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00000412----000-.html
17 USC 504 explains statutory damages
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00000504----000-.html

(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200. The court shall remit statutory damages in any case where an infringer believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that his or her use of the copyrighted work was a fair use under section 107, if the infringer was:

Standard, IANAL disclaimer. If in need of legal advice go get competent legal advice from a bar certified attorney.

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604565)

Are you sure you're not a lawyer? Cause you just said a lot of words that enforced his argument and provided nothing more than what an educated person could have gotten by reading the legislation first hand.

The fact that she didn't get the full $150k per song is the only mystery here.

Re:Statutory Damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604831)

enough with the IANAL Mr. Paralegal

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604991)

Ok, then the RIAA ain't to blame. Instead, let's blame the idiot that created a law that allowed it in the first place. Who sponsored this bill?

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

wujing (1584803) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604569)

Rolex Watches [watches-space.com]

Re:Statutory Damages (1)

BigPeen (1357715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604571)

As yes, the "Reasonable" $18k for what was at most, sharing a hundred copies of a song.

Re:Statutory Damages (5, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604669)

You miss the point--the law is wrong, that is what is being argued. Those statutory damages are designed for corporate infringement--say, by a radio station broadcasting to 100,000 people. Not by 1 person who uploading a song to...oh, the RIAA couldn't demonstrate how many (and yes, in the radio case it would have been easy to demonstrate how many listened, on an approximate level, because the radio station uses that information every day to sell advertising time).

Your view of "reasonable" is WARPED (2, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604735)

That's reasonable? 18,000 for sharing 24 files? You think she SHOULD have settled? REALLY??? Sure it's less INSANE than millions of dollars but it's still INSANE.

Hell, why don't we go back to sending kids who steal bread to Australia while we're at it.

Re:Your view of "reasonable" is WARPED (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604867)

Wasn't she lying to the court? Isn't that a far greater offense than downloading a couple of songs? I'm not defending the verdict of course, I think that such fine is vile and outrageous, I'm merely pointing out one thing that nobody here seemed to mention.

Re:Your view of "reasonable" is WARPED (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605011)

'cause Australia called and said that they got enough bread now (and kids too), thank you very much.

Re:Statutory Damages (2, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604771)

While actual damages can never be determined, they can be estimated fairly easily.

Most modern P2P software works by distributing the uploading over the entire network. This is certainly true for bittorrent, and mostly true on older networks referenced in this case, if I remember correctly.

A == "number of people wanting a copy"
B == "number of copies desired per-person" == 1
C == "number of copies needed" == A * B == A
D == "number of uploaders" ~= C

X == "number of copies uploaded, per-person" == D / C == C / C == 1

On average (mean), a SINGLE copy is uploaded by any one person. Just look at your average bittorrent swarm. How often do you get a share ratio above 1.0? How often do you get a share ratio above, say, 100.0? Ever?

Actual damages here are on the order of $0.99 * 24. Probably not that exactly, but it's going to be around that order of magnitude. S why, again, is $750 or more sane?

Re:Statutory Damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604965)

How often do you get a share ratio above 1.0? How often do you get a share ratio above, say, 100.0? Ever?

Nowadays I get >1.0 quite often. One of my torrents is at ~66 currently, I have uploaded 28.8GB of a 445MB anime episode. Once, I founa a manga that I was looking for and the torrent only had two seeders, so I seeded it for a long time and had ratio well over 100 (it was a ~16MB torrent after all).

Posting AC because I still have 11 mod points left.

Re:Statutory Damages (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605047)

That's exactly the fallacy in their logic: It's not ONE (illegal) distributor and MANY receipients (that's what this law was created for). That's not the case. You have MANY distributors, contributing a tiny fraction of the infringed work. Yet their logic is to sue all of them for the whole work.

Extrapolating, if they caught all the infringers, they would actually get more people uploading than downloading. You download one copy, as you pointed out. You don't need more than that. Yet you upload to several people, all of them counting as an upload to their statistics.

Basically, if they caught all infringers, they would come up with a multiple of the actual copies distributed.

Re:Statutory Damages (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604785)

Yes, but remember that statutory damages are supposed to be an approximation to actual damages. It's not supposed to be the way that actual damages is 100$ and statutory damages are 10000$ where 9900$ is a fine. Then of course everyone would opt for the statutory damages, less burden of proof and higher payback. Statutory damages should, in my opinion, be an educated guess of the damage done compared to the zero alternative. So let us assume Jammie Thomas did do everything she was charged with and compare that to her not file sharing at all, how much of an impact would that make? Meaning no offense, but she's a nobody. One little peer in a swarm who'd have as much affect as stomping an ant on the ant hill.

That's what is entirely missing here that makes this case insane. It can't possibly be the intent of the law that they should be able to say "Well, we can't prove any specific instance of infringement so we'll just pick the highest possible number we can". If so, they should just burn all evidence they have on actual infringement. In fact, that's very good grounds why statutory damages should be on the low end of the scale. Let's for example assume that you have a statutory damage estimated to 2000$-5000$. If you, as the plaintiff, know that the actual damage was 2500$ you'd only want to prove it if you'd otherwise get 2000$. If you'll get more in statutory damages then you'd rather suppress that evidence. And if you can't even estimate the statutory damages and get 150,000$ instead, then that too.

I think they're very afraid of just how far the Supreme Court could set them back. Any demand of plausibility for statutory damages is likely to kill their scare tactics. I mean, seriously compared to how many cases there's been and how many people's computers and networks are wide open, do you really think she's the only one that wanted to fight the lawsuit? But I bet far too many have investigated their risk/reward and found that yes, you might win or be a debt slave forever. There's no way the zero tactic will work though, I bet they'll find the damages unconstiutional and send it back to be redone once more with new guidelines. At least that's the way I'm used to, even if the supreme court finds stuff unconstitutional it doesn't have time to deal with fact-finding in actual cases.

Re:Statutory Damages (2, Funny)

Fallus Shempus (793462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604917)

You got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.

That'll be $750 thanks for infringing on poor o'l Kenny Rogers

Pedant looks up who actual wrote the song in 3... 2...

Re:Statutory Damages (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604947)

18k is still a fair lot of dough. Depending on what you're actually doing for a living, it can be even more than what you could pay back in 7 years (i.e. time 'til bankrupcy).

So what's the difference between 18k, 180k or 180m if you can't pay any of them?

None. I don't know about her financial situation, but if that's it, continuing the ride is the most sensible thing she can possibly do. Whether you're in for twice of what you could possibly make in 7 years or a hundred times doesn't really make a difference anymore.

You gotta fight! For your right! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604463)

... to illegally download music. Heaven forbid that a corporation dare to try and make money. The law says that you should not download music without paying for it, and people who do so are in clear violation of the law. Why this site is full of proponents of such vile activities escapes me, especially when a good 90% of them probably get up in arms about Microsoft's various violation of the law (albeit a different law).

Re:You gotta fight! For your right! (2, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604691)

You're simply wrong. The law does NOT say you should not download music. It says you should not upload music.

Re:You gotta fight! For your right! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605005)

You misunderstand the arguments made, you lump all slashdotters into one category, and you assume the same people are making the same arguments.

You're trolling the wrong thread. This is the 'damages are excessive' thread, you want the 'flagrantly violating the law is okay because who gives a shit?' thread.

We don't mind corporations making money. We'd like it if it wasn't extorting millions of dollars at a time from people, even ones as dumb as Jammie.

Incidentally, I downloaded some music today without paying for it. No, it wasn't some Creative Commons stuff. I listen to the Pandora music service quite often, violating no law as I do so.

There goes your black-and-white viewpoint, I suppose. Next time try actually making an argument, or perhaps find a different news site. Until then, enjoy your fail.

Reduced to Zero? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604465)

Honest opinion NYCL, what are her chances of getting the damages reduced to zero? Are they greater than zero? It is probably true to say that statutory damages of 1+ million for 24 songs strikes most reasonable people as ridiculously unfair. However, are not statutory damages as a general principle a sometimes useful concept in the law? For example, in cases where it is difficult to prove exactly how much loss a prevailing party has experienced? Perhaps the court will come up with some sort of reasonableness test for statutory damage awards in these cases. Is there a reason why it couldn't be $0.99 per song (the iTunes price) plus perhaps some modest fine (say not more than $500)?

I think she got off light. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604519)

I think she got off light. She should have had to pay infinity billion dollars and spend the rest of her life in Guantanamo Bay.

Turned Around (4, Funny)

PaSTE (88128) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604505)

I would like to see this turned around: because the RIAA's case did not offer any information about the damages done by download these 24 songs in the trial, the court should enforce that the RIAA sell all its tracks at the value assigned to each song by the jury (~$81,000). The court might even take pity of the poor industry and lower that to $40,000 if it assumes some reasonable amount of the fine (50%) was awarded for statutory damages. That way, if the RIAA accepts the ruling, they would immediately go out of business as every CD they sell would be marked up to $500,000. Why isn't there a Draconian party running for government anywhere?

Re:Turned Around (0)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604617)

I, for one, am against government interference in the free market. On the not bat shit crazy side of economics, if one could purchase a song for 81k, and obtain distribution rights for any and all purposes perpetually, that would be a fantastic price, even for shitty top 40 songs. In fact, I'm quite certain that there are music services who pay far more for timed licenses.

The reason that people download songs without paying for them currently is because the alternative is to pay for music that is lower in quality and has no added value than free releases and torrent sites. Furthermore, the risk of penalty is akin to a speeding ticket; if one is careful, one can speed as fast as they want and watch as the guy ahead of them gets pulled over.

The RIAA and music companies are aware if the amount of downloading that exists, and furthermore, they are ok with it. If they could sell at a higher price, have more copyright infringement occur, and make more money, that is what they would do. It would be the correct business decision as well.

If they could charge less for music, increase the amount of copyright infringment, and make more money, that is what they should do.

If music companies have not done the proper research to determine what the best price for music is, at which regardless of the amount of copyright infringement that will occur, to produce the highest amount of profit, then shareholders should file a massive lawsuit for gross incompetence, remove the current leadership, and replace with people who understand their market.

Anyone care to speculate as to why this hasnt occurred?

Re:Turned Around (4, Informative)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604747)

I, for one, am against government interference in the free market.

Since copyright has nothing to do with the free market, and is completely a government-created monopoly, I see nothing wrong with what the GP stated. If these people want to so badly abuse a system this way, they should be forced to live with their made-up prices. Otherwise, we'll just going to remain stuck with the current system of hypocrisy, and it's only going to get worse until we finally wake up and abolish the whole thing.

Then, we can have a free market.

Re:Turned Around (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604761)

Just some guesses but:
1) it's very difficult to determine the "best price"
2) copyright infringement has likely increased by several orders of magnitude in the past ten years (i.e. it's volatile--making it very difficult to estimate in the future)
3) They had likely pushed the market beyond the profitability of "best price" using monopolistic behavior.
4) The longer they can squeeze profit out of their current setup, the better, because adapting costs money.
5) Adapting likely opens a window for competitors to enter the market (of course, delaying adapting may do the same thing, risky gamble)
6) They effectively control all popular modern music and can just tell everyone to piss off?

Re:Turned Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604631)

I thought the penalties for copyright infringement were large as a deterrent, since they can't hope to catch everyone. Basically they need {probability of getting caught} * {penalty} > {cost of the CD}, otherwise the logical thing to do is to pirate.

Re:Turned Around (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604985)

I would like to see this turned around: because the RIAA's case did not offer any information about the damages done by download these 24 songs in the trial, the court should enforce that the RIAA sell all its tracks at the value assigned to each song by the jury (~$81,000)

How about you try and get unlimited redistribution rights to these songs and see how much that costs? Because thats more like what the defendent would have needed here to avoid the court case.

SCOTUS ? (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604515)

SCOTUS ? Sounds like a bunch of TP.

Re:SCOTUS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604549)

Supreme Court of the United States

Re:SCOTUS ? (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604581)

Toilet paper indeed.

Re:SCOTUS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604777)

It's like POTUS = President of the United States; similarly, SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States

So like where is the rest of the stuff? The good s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604529)

Where is the good stuff? All the stories I've looked at are as boring as any other boring website. Where is the GOOD STUFF? Or is this all there is?

Re:So like where is the rest of the stuff? The goo (3, Informative)

Gresyth (1103851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604609)

From her attorneys brief asking for the appeal: The second Gore factor is the factor commonly expressed in ratios of punitive to actual damages: "the disparity between the actual or potential harm suffered by the plaintiff and the punitive damages award." Campbell, 538 U.S. at 418. Although the Supreme Court has declined to state a bright-line rule about the maximum permissible ratio, it has repeatedly held that "few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy due process." Id. at 425. Even if, on occasion, awards with two-digit or even three-digit ratios are permissible, the damages award in this case, with its four-digit ratio looked at by album and five-digit ratio looked at by song is nowhere close to constitutionally permissible. "In sum, courts must ensure that the measure of punishment is both reasonable and proportionate to the amount of harm to the plaintiff and to the general damages recovered." Id. at 426.

should have settled... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604597)

Jammie, be careful on who you listen to on the internet and get advice from.

Also, be aware of anything free or too good to be true on the inernet. Buy an Ipod and get an account with Itunes babe.

Justifying piracy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604629)

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 [slashdot.org], 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

Hear, hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604749)

Nice post. Of course, another slashbot modded you down because you overloaded his logic circuit.

Can't have that!

Smart (4, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604665)

As per one of my previous posts postulated, they are not fighting based on technical defense, but on a constitutional one, the first court case was indeed a sham to coax the jury to make the biggest most outrageous damages they could. As per NYCL they didn't even call their own witnesses or cross examine (if memory serves me correctly).

Fail (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604707)

I can't see this even being heard. The only way this flies is if there can be an accounting of actual damages, and that is not likely to happen. There is entirely too much information missing in this case to prove actual damages. The only thing you could potentially do is compare income on the songs prior to and after the incident, and do trending on similar songs. Since that evidence does not exist, how can it be introduced during an appeal?

The only effective appeal I see is based on the allowance of evidence from an unlicensed investigator, and frankly I think that was argued poorly enough that it would have a rough time on appeal anyways.

This is a terrible test case.

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604873)

As others have pointed out, she had limited bandwidth on her internet connection. They could easily estimate a maximum amount transferred or ask the ISP for usage estimates, adjust for regular browsing habits/email, and then give a maximum possible number of uploaded songs. Once they have that it becomes easy to estimate actual damages, just multiply by the cost a single track ($0.99 seems like a decent going rate).

I highly doubt her 256kbps upload rate transferred 1.92 million songs worth of data. So yes, actual damages *could* have been calculated and *yes* they are likely an order of magnitude or two less than the awarded statutory damages.

Also, the fact that the RIAA has been willing to settle for $18k directly indicates that *they* think the damages are worth $18k... they just claim to be unable to provide actual damage estimates to the court.

Re:Fail (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605109)

$0.99 may seem like a going rate, but that pricing scale was established after Kazaa did it's thing. AFAIK, there was no establishment of cost during the trial - in other cases, but not in this one - at least not from the reports I read.

You might be able to establish the max on a 256K line, but how long was that line active for? How long were the songs available for download? How many partials could have been downloaded in that time?

If she was uploading at 256k full time, and the songs were 2 megabytes, you're looking at about 480 days if treble damages would be considered constitutional. If 10X damages are constitutional (and why would they not be at $.99?), you're now looking at 144 days of uptime. Take it a step further - $2.00 tracks, 10X damages, 51% uploads, and you can do that damage in just a little more than 1 month.

Certainly, if a set of facts establishing distribution costs for unsigned distributors, reasonable upload constraints and assumptions, song popularity, and changes in song income levels were established you could make an argument for what is reasonable, but none of that was brought up during the course of this case. As it stands, you have to give every tilt to the plaintiff when attempting to demonstrate their actual damages.

If she comes forward and says "I only uploaded at night, and the songs in question made up for less than 20% of my traffic" - which she would have to fight tooth and nail to get any appeals judge to believe at this point after having denied the charges for years - it's still quite easy to justify $1.92M in damages.

please allow me to intrdocue myself, I am a man of (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604717)

Fellow pirates, please allow me to intrdocue myself, I am a man of wealth and fame - and I did it all from being a pirate !! So can you !!

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 [slashdot.org], 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

Below Zero (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604765)

I think the verdict should be reduced to below zero - entitling Jamie Thomas to a refund from those bastards.

Punitive Damages here. (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604799)

Maybe I could sue for Punitive Damages that your giving me. Well, Punitive Damages here. [youtube.com]

whats the difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28604933)

I don't know about Jammie Thomas-Rasset but if she es employed and has some kind of "normal" income it doesn't actually matter if she has to pay 18k or 1.9 million! She simply cannot! Thats all...If she wants to feed her children and tries to pay for their education...hell even paying for your own food might be impossible then...where is the difference? do you have 18k laying around?

its not a simple matter of mathematics...its a life we're talking about..at least one...She is porbably fighting for her very survival

Whatever the outcome (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604977)

A judicial system that allows somebody to be completely destroyed (which is what enforcing the judgement would do in such a case, since effectively it would deprive her of more than her entire expected lifetime earnings) for what is evidently a trivial matter, is broken. If higher courts will not provide a remedy, then they have failed as courts of equity - which would suggest a defect in the US Constitution.

This could not happen in Europe because the UN declaration on Human Rights is built into legislation. Not surprisingly, British Conservatives want to get big business (and the US) on their side by derogating from it. This case is evidence of why we in the UK need to worry, not only about our present Government but the probable next one.

Re:Whatever the outcome (1)

durin (72931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605115)

Obviously, you've never heard what happened in the Pirate Bay case in Sweden (which most people know is part of Europe).

right?. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605003)

Online shopping from China #1 online shopping Phone store

China phones [phoneinchina.com] in here,store,3g,market,radio,bluetooth,fm,tv,wholesale,smart,wifi,fm phone,side-sliding,tv phone,cool mobile,cool phone,hi-phone,watch phone,dual sim cards .

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>