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Jammie Thomas Hit With $1.5 Million Verdict

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the tickling-the-dragon's-tail dept.

The Courts 764

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from CNET: "Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota woman who has been fighting the recording industry over 24 songs she illegally downloaded and shared online four years ago, has lost another round in court as a jury in Minneapolis decided today that she was liable for $1.5 million in copyright infringement damages to Capitol Records, for songs she illegally shared in April 2006. ... The trial is the third for Thomas-Rasset, after one jury found her liable for copyright infringement in 2007 and ordered her to pay $222,000, the judge in the case later ruled that he erred in instructing the jury and called for a retrial. In the second trial, which took place in 2009, a jury found Thomas-Rasset liable for $1.92 million. Thomas-Rasset subsequently asked the federal court for a new trial or a reduction in the amount of damages in July 2009. But earlier this year, the judge found that amount to be 'monstrous and shocking' and reduced the amount to $54,000."

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Confused? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126768)

I thought that the $54k amount was the amount that she had to pay. How exactly is she now required to pay so much more?

Re:Confused? (3, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126794)

No, that was the amount after the amount of damages was reduced after the second trial. This is the result of the third trial.

Re:Confused? (4, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127108)

It actually goes on.

But earlier this year, the judge found that amount to be "monstrous and shocking" and reduced the amount to $54,000. Following that, the RIAA informed Thomas-Rasset that it would accept $25,000--less than half of the court-reduced award--if she agreed to ask the judge to "vacate" his decision, which means removing his decision from the record. Thomas-Rasset rejected that offer almost immediately.

The judge's decision stood as a great precedent.

Therefore, the scumwad MafiAA lawyers tried to extort Thomas to have the judge's decision vacated - essentially, make it invalid so that nobody else the MafiAA extortion racket [arstechnica.com] targets can hold up the judge's decision as precedent against them.

Also:
Updated at 8:20 p.m. PT with comment from Thomas-Rasset attorney, and at 9:10 p.m. to emphasize the illegal sharing aspect of the copyright complaint.

Why is it Cnet doesn't say who told them to do that? Some subhuman MafiAA goon lawyer wants to remain anonymous. How typical of them.

Re:Confused? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127200)

Yeah, I think we all get that.

What I can't figure out from TFA is - where the hell did the 3rd trial come from?

The second trial occured because the judge ruled that he'd erred. That makes sense. Now where did the 3rd one come from? TFA says that she asked for either a reduction in damages or another trial; she got a reduction in damages... so why wasn't that the end of it?

Is it not time to give up yet? (1, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126774)

$54,000 is still a lot of money, but it's doable, over a good number of years.

1,5 mil, however, not so much.

Re:Is it not time to give up yet? (5, Insightful)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127110)

$54,000 is still a lot of money, but it's doable, over a good number of years.

For a native-American woman mother of four, with a job as a natural resource coordinator in Indian reservation? I might be wrong, but don't think $54,000 is doable either.

Re:Is it not time to give up yet? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127294)

She could probably make $1000 a night selling her ass to slashdot readers. $2000 if she takes it up the ass while wearing a strap-on.

No, Wait... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34126808)

So, 24 songs are worth $222,000... no, actually it's $1,920,000... wait, I mean $54,000... did I say that? I meant $1,500,000...

Who the hell decides these amounts? The guy who wrote the Windows file copy dialog?

Re:No, Wait... (2, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126990)

Of course not. If that were the case, we'd have seen an 'infinite' and some negative value as well.

Re:No, Wait... (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127020)

Dope-smoking MafiAA accountants. The same people who decide that a multiplatinum album grossing over a billion dollars in sales, for which the band was fronted $45k each in a year, studio time perhaps $500k, physical production run costs possibly $200k, and $200,000 in "tour support" can somehow lose money [techdirt.com].

See also (though I usually hate linking to wikipoo-dia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting [wikipedia.org]

Re:No, Wait... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127260)

And that's if they even bother keeping track of royalties. Robert Fripp has been fighting for years to even get a proper accounting for the sales of King Crimson and his other records from UMG after it swallowed his old record company.

Record companies are some of the biggest crooks in the business. In the 40s and 50s they took advantage of a lot of artists, paying them peanuts. Even with really big artists like the Beatles they played dirty pool. They tried to screw John Lennon around by paying him Beatles-era royalty rates for his solo stuff despite the fact that he had negotiated higher rates after he left the Beatles. For some time EMI/Capitol was withholding royalties from the Beatles, and it took a court action to finally force open their claws. Then there's the breaches of contracts like EMI did against Pink Floyd over selling songs on online services, despite the fact that the contracts very explicitly stated that the albums were to be sold as a single unit.

Re:No, Wait... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127254)

wtf does Windows have to do with this pea brain?

The system clearly isn't working. (5, Insightful)

d474 (695126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126816)

Look at those dollar amounts. First trial: $220,000 Second: $1.92 million Third: $54,000 Fourth: $1.5 million

Something about the shear inconsistency of the outcomes tells me how broken this system of courts truly is. It's not based on anything real. It's based on appearances, fuzzy opinions, manipulated interpretations, etc. This woman shared some music over the internet, and they want to financially crucify her. $54,000 thousand would take a lot of people a long time to pay off, let alone $1.5 million. That amount would effectively end her financial life.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126848)

There have only been 3 trials. The $54,000 amount was a reduction of the second trial's damage award.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127026)

But why have there been so many trials?

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (0, Flamebait)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127060)

Because Jammie and her idiot lawyers somehow think they are ever actually going to win.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127186)

Considering the amounts they've been hitting her with, what's she got to lose? All but the $54,000 verdict were so high that she couldn't have possibly ever paid them off. Hiring the lawyers is probably considerably cheaper than actually trying to comply.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127158)

Perhaps because the punishment is grossly out of proportion with the crime itself? Seriously, I think people need to take a reality check, and realize that any amount in excess of $100 is entirely unreasonable. What she allegedly did caused less harm to society than a parking violation, and that is how it should be treated.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (5, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127320)

The problem is, the laws they are using to prosecute this are almost entirely inapplicable to the situation.

There was never supposed to be a major nasty punishment in law for noncommercial activity. Copyright laws weren't written to assault someone who photocopies a chapter of a book to study from, or even the whole book. They were written to go after the guy who set up a printing press in a warehouse, or an LP-pressing machine, or a CD-burning machine, started burning bootleg copies and then selling them on the street corner or somewhere else for profit while undercutting the copyright owner.

At points along the way, the dishonest content cartels decided they wanted even more power. Thus we got punishments for noncommercial copying, even though users are supposed to have the right to secure their purchases and back up what they have purchased.

Then we got EULA's and all the crappy stupidity that entails, and a legion of idiot, fuckwitted judges couldn't figure out that if it has the form of a sale (e.g. one-time payment, usage in perpetuity) then it is a SALE. Only a few judges ever have enough brain cells to rub together in order to get it right, like the one who ruled in favor of unbundling Adobe packages and selling the pieces one at a time.

As it turns out, most judges are retarded technophobes who were raised at the teat of assholes like Jack Valenti.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (2, Interesting)

onionman (975962) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127302)

But why have there been so many trials?

Because the amount of damages doesn't matter when you don't have any money. The damage award might be $1.5M or $54K but in either case it's still more than she will ever pay because she doesn't have any money with which to pay.

When you're so poor that you've got nothing to lose, then you might as well keep fighting until you win (or die trying).

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127086)

Only three trials? Does this woman need to be tried repeatedly for life with random awards against her each time?

She likely is best off just letting the chips fall where they may, declaring bankruptcy, and walking away from it. Yes, it is on the credit record for 10 years, but it sure beats wasting more money and time.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127150)

She likely is best off just letting the chips fall where they may, declaring bankruptcy, and walking away from it.

Declaring bankruptcy doesn't void such damage awards.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127324)

i don't think that you are a lawyer, so it is strange that you sound so sure of that.

filing chapter 7 will set aside any civil judgments that you have, unless the person who has sued you shows up to the meeting of creditors and can convince the trustee that there is a reason that it shouldn't and that rarely happens. the only exceptions are a civil judgment for damages caused by drunk driving, as far as what my attorney told me.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127246)

Does bankruptcy include court judgements? I didn't think it did, at least in America.

Outside of the design of the system (5, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126902)

Copyrights were never really meant to target individual citizens; copyright is a regulation on businesses, and should only be applied to businesses. The way the RIAA is suing individuals is a disgrace, and their lawyers should be reprimanded for abusing the court system.

Not that anyone really cares about what is best for the people of the United States.

Re:Outside of the design of the system (1)

MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127068)

individual citizens were never thought to possess the potential for worldwide distribution

Re:Outside of the design of the system (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127268)

Which is precisely why we need to redesign the entire copyright system, and rethink all the principles on which it was based. Copyrights were created at a time when only people who possessed specialized industrial equipment could produce copies efficiently; that age ended, and the only thing our elected representatives in congress could think to do about it was to strengthen copyright law.

Re:Outside of the design of the system (3, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127136)

Copyrights were never really meant to target individual citizens? Says who? I don't see any support for that claim in the Constitutional basis for copyright law; or in the first copyright act; or in any other subsequent copyright act that I've read...

In fact every copyright act I've read is explicitly not merely a regulation on business, as they specifically assign liability for infringement even if it isn't commercial in nature.

Perhaps you're mistaking how you'd like to see copyright used as somehow representing what it was "meant" to be used for?

Re:Outside of the design of the system (2, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127188)

Copyright/trademark/patent laws were meant to target people making money from other people's IP. For example, if someone makes shoes with a brand trademark and sells them, they are liable for the trademark violation. Or if they are selling for profit burns of Justin Bieber CDs, they are liable for copyright violations. Same with someone using a patent someone else owns for profit.

None of these laws were used against individuals for nonprofit use, -ever-, in the history of the US. Until the last decade. Businesses, yes. Individuals doing things for for profit? Yes. But that was as far as it went.

you seem to be in a rather forgiving mood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127202)

The way the RIAA is suing individuals is a disgrace, and their lawyers should be reprimanded for abusing the court system.

You're rather forgiving. If it was up to me (which fortunately for them, it isn't) I do have them lined up against the wall...

Re:Outside of the design of the system (2, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127234)

Copyrights were never really meant to target individual citizens; copyright is a regulation on businesses, and should only be applied to businesses.

Of which you can provide numerous citations from common law tradition, case law and statutory law to back this up, right?

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127004)

Something about the shear inconsistency of the outcomes tells me how broken this system of courts truly is. It's not based on anything real. It's based on appearances, fuzzy opinions, manipulated interpretations, etc. This woman shared some music over the internet, and they want to financially crucify her. $54,000 thousand would take a lot of people a long time to pay off, let alone $1.5 million. That amount would effectively end her financial life.

The issue here was raised by Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson. To quote Ars' coverage of the case [arstechnica.com]:

Nevertheless, Nesson was given his chance to speak to the judge before jury selection, and he argued for the idea that statutory damages were meant to be decided by judges, who had knowledge of similar judgments and cases, rather than by juries, who would essentially be plucking context-free numbers from the air in most cases. The result: "arbitrary, excessive verdicts."

Nesson's evidence was simple to understand. Look at Thomas-Rasset ($1.92 million) and Tenenbaum ($675,000), he said. The upper end of the statutory damage range, $150,000 per infringement, should apply to the most heinous act of infringement that could possibly be imagined. "In a spectrum of reprehensibility," what Thomas-Rasset and Tenenbaum had done was minor, the copyright equivalent of jaywalking. And yet look what juries, which knew little or nothing about handing out such damages, had done!

This is why the amount in damages has been so varied.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127016)

$54,000 thousand would take a lot of people a long time to pay off

No kidding. "$54,000 thousand" is $54,000,000.

Re:The system clearly isn't working. (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127190)

This woman shared some music over the internet, and they want to financially crucify her. $54,000 thousand would take a lot of people a long time to pay off, let alone $1.5 million. That amount would effectively end her financial life.

It's an egregious decision, but let's not overstate things. She can declare bankruptcy, and in seven years, it will be as if none of this happened. It's still gross overkill, but it's not a "financial crucifixion", whatever that is.

Moral of the story (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126820)

When you are in a hole, stop digging. This applies more to her "lawyers" than to herself though.

Re:Moral of the story (5, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126946)

If you don't have the money to pay 5k let alone 50k+ what does it matter if they tell you to pay millions? Why not billions? or trillions? It's a pipe dream to expect that amount. If I were her, I'd try to get that number as high as possible. The higher it is, the more the system looks like nonsense and the more chance there is for positive change.

Re:Moral of the story (1)

jhigh (657789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127046)

Except that eventually she's going to have to pay her attorneys...

Re:Moral of the story (0, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127088)

No, her lawyers were dumb enough to work pro bono.

Re:Moral of the story (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127300)

Except that eventually she's going to have to pay her attorneys...

The lawyers know that bankruptcy will be the next step in her financial future. In fact, I would bet that the only thing she ends up paying after all is said and done is a lawyer fee. As somebody mentioned before, the only thing the MAFIAA is interested in is the precedent. They could care less about getting any actual money from her.

Re:Moral of the story (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127350)

The higher it is, the more the system looks like nonsense and the more chance there is for positive change.

No. The only change that will happen is some knee-jerk moronic shit that will go too far the other way. Our government and legal system is only capable of going from one extreme to another which just adds to the nonsense.

Re:Moral of the story - Nope (5, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126986)

I don't think you understand what she and her lawyers are after. The last thing they want is for the Jury to find her innocent or award a reasonable amount of damages. The more absurd the amount the better. They need the award to be absurdly high in order for an federal appeals judge to rule the law is in unconstatutional. Thats the end game here.

Re:Moral of the story - Nope (2, Insightful)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127206)

If this is indeed the endgame, it's not just coming up with absurd decisions. It's also getting the much smaller amounts in the middle. The situation looks even more ridiculous when the jury and the judges come up with polar opposite amounts for damages. A yo-yo of decisions on the same case does not make sense in the record books.

Re:Moral of the story (5, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127000)

When you are in a hole, stop digging. This applies more to her "lawyers" than to herself though.

If the hole deeper than you can climb out of no matter what, why not keep digging and bring the asshole who tossed you in there down with you?

Seriously? (5, Interesting)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126852)

Why is it that in jury trials she gets slapped with over a million in damages, yet judges appear to favour a milder approach? Are the "Jury of your peers" seriously that gullible that they feel they have to institute massive punitive damages on an individual?

Re:Seriously? (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126926)

Sharing music is obviously a danger to all of us and if we don't stop these pirates, people will continued to be slaughtered off the coast of Africa...

Re:Seriously? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127044)

Giving money to the RIAA that first let songs into airwaves and tv ads and then ruins the life of a teenager that copies those songs is obviously a danger to all of us and if we don't stop buying music, people will continued to be slaughtered in trials by a flawed system.

People. Will. CONTINUED.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34126952)

You're confusing civil with criminal matters.

There is no "jury of your peers" or "presumption of innocence" in a civil trial.

There is only "who can afford the best/least ethical legal team".

That ain't Jammie Thomas.

Re:Seriously? (2, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126992)

There is no "jury of your peers" or "presumption of innocence" in a civil trial.

Except that Jammie Thomas, despite her laughable attempts at defenses and the nerds who keep wanting to believe them, is guilty of the infringement that she was charged with. The awards, though, are somewhat ridiculous. This idiot should have just settled when she was ahead to begin with.

Re:Seriously? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127164)

"This idiot should have just settled when she was ahead to begin with."

Paying even a single cent to these people for an action that harms no one would be too much. Everyone accused should put up a fight. Paper is no substitution for freedom or justice.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127346)

If at the end of this and it was me, if I had to pay millions or even hundreds of thousands. I would choose death over slavery, and I would take down as many of them as I could along the way. Our overlords have forgotten that freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose.

Re:Seriously? (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127240)

She has never been ahead, for her $25k is almost as bad as 2 million. She is hoping for a higher judgment every time.

Re:Seriously? (5, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126972)

Many jurors go into the courtroom with the idea that their purpose is to convict criminals and make them pay, and that anybody who is a defendant must be a criminal. They think the defendants are not like themselves at all. The do not think they are peers.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127104)

Jury judgements tend to be more emotional and less rational than those by judges.

Re:Seriously? (1)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127132)

Many "reasonable" people can understand and agree with an argument that copyright infringement is theft. That's the easy part.

At that point, the lawyers can simply argue that a fine is derived in a courtroom through complicated math. Multiply the songs price by X, multiply the potential distribution and cost damage by Y, and then multiply it all by 3 for good measure. If the lawyer can demonstrate a long history of courts using this same math system, it gives people something to latch onto and use. A person might feel capricious and arbitrary just pulling a number out of thin air to punish the woman. However, if you have some easy cherry picked examples to use and follow, a juror doesn't have to feel as guilty for the end result. After all, they are just following precedent.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127156)

Are the "Jury of your peers" seriously that gullible that they feel they have to institute massive punitive damages on an individual?

Yes.

You couldn't pay me to have a jury trial unless the judge was notoriously biased in favor of plaintiffs. With a judge, I have the advantage of having the case decided by someone who knows the law and who is educated and at least passingly familiar with logic. With a randomly selected jury, I get a dozen laymen with no legal knowledge and, statistically, half of them are going to be of below average intelligence.

Juries can theoretically be a good defense against injustice, but in practice, they're usually just some random idiots off the street.

Re:Seriously? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127226)

Read up on how they select juries. A pretty normal way to get out is to answer yes if they ask if you have a degree. Lawyers only want gullible ignorant folks on juries.

Re:Seriously? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127270)

That's typical of jury awards. Once they've decided on a verdict, they seem to me to give undue weight to the (victorious) plaintiff's arguments regarding the amount of damages. Judges then commonly reduce the outrageous awards to something more feasible, but then those are not huge, shocking numbers so they don't grab the headlines.

IANAL. I just have noticed this by following the news for a couple of decades.

Re:Seriously? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127282)

On many juries nobody is aware of the purpose of juries, as a judge of facts and as a check on abuses of law, so they think they have to deliver a guilty verdict, even if it's against their conscience. This is exactly why juries exist, to avoid abuses of the law, but our wonderful educational system has ensured that they are ignorant of their power.

Keep taking the pills (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34126860)

The law is bipolar.

haha (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126886)

They're just ruining the rest of her life? What gives. Where is the justice! She should be executed!. Sharing music is serious business!!!

The Jury is Out... (3, Interesting)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126938)

...the Minneapolis jury is pretty misinformed and outright unreasonable.

Are we now going to get all the people who illegally made mix-tapes for their friends in the 1980s and fine them too?

Re:The Jury is Out... (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127258)

Yeah! What he said! And why am I still sharing movies and music freely with my friends and family? When am I going to be stopped!!!1! Holy crap, I just got a 2T Seagate GoFlex and now have a Seagate 250G solely to share 50G of MP3s and almost 200G of iPod encoded movies! The industry is taking a beating thanks to me. Will no one stop me?! Think of the shark tank bars and gold toilet seats that I'm denying to the musical genius set? When will the madness stop?! How can you just let me give away with this obvious crime against humanity?! Holy shit, pass the Tylenol.

Re:The Jury is Out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127290)

The judge should do a surprise inspection of how many unpaid-for mp3s are on the ipods/iphones of the laywers/jury in the court room. Just to put things into perspective for everyone involved.

It`s because of the Republicans! (0, Flamebait)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126944)

It`s because of the Republicans!

Re:It`s because of the Republicans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127152)

LOL,

And next year it will be:

"It`s because of the Democrats!"

I'm no legal expert... (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34126970)

... so can someone in-the-know explain why these awards always increase as trials go on and on? Since when is the appeals process "double or nothin'?"

Re:I'm no legal expert... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127070)

... so can someone in-the-know explain why these awards always increase as trials go on and on?

RIAA. Lawyers. Legislation which has been purchased to be in their favor.

When you can equate file-sharing with huge-scale counterfeiting and theft, you can make it look like on paper she denied the industry of millions and millions of revenue.

I believe the statutory damages are $275K/song or so, so for the six songs ...

Re:I'm no legal expert... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127102)

OK, so TFA (and even TFS) says my math is wrong ... but, it's all mumbo-jumb numbers anyway.

Mine are just as valid. ;-)

Legalized Extortion and Racketeering (2, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127014)

This amounts to nothing more than legalized extortion and racketeering. How can a so-called "jury of her peers" possibly allow such a thing to happen? I can see a stodgy old judge doing something ridiculous like this, but a jury? They are supposed to possess the collected wisdom of several lifetimes, yet they allow this to continue. It boggles the mind.

Re:Legalized Extortion and Racketeering (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127118)

"How can a so-called "jury of her peers" possibly allow such a thing to happen?"

It's because they're indoctrinated drones, that's how.

Re:Legalized Extortion and Racketeering (1)

jbohumil (517473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127244)

Sounds like you've never sat on a jury. I have and I've never before sat in a room with such a group of uninformed, uninterested, and poorly educated people. The attorneys dismiss anyone they can if they think they care at all about the issues more than they care about getting home as quickly as possible with as little inconvience to themselves as possible. Yes, I know, this could be applied to me, but I ended up being dismissed after the evidence in the trial I sat through. I was an "alternate" selected just to make sure there were 12 people left standing by the time the deliberations began.

Re:Legalized Extortion and Racketeering (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127336)

The jury? Are you kidding me? The Jury is made up of people too fucking stupid to get out of Jury Duty. Period. I would rather be judged by a jury of Indian Owls, but there just aren't enough to go around now. :(

Oh, I violated copyright laws again.

Boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127018)

It will be a cold day in hell before I buy anything from Capitol Records. Sorry Beastie Boys, you gotta fight for your right to party!

Re:Boycott (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127194)

But then the legal tacticians on the RIAA side will say, "See how few people are buying our music?! This is because of piracy!"

Disease v. Symptom (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127076)

earlier this year, the judge found that amount to be 'monstrous and shocking' and reduced the amount to $54,000.

[the jury] decided today that she was liable for $1.5 million in copyright infringement damages

The jury is instructed to apply the law without considering whether the law is constitutional. The judge is applying his perspective on constitutionality. Given a 30x difference in outcomes, it seems that there is a pretty severe disconnect between the law and what is right according this official boundaries of this nation's legislative charter.

What do we do to find the law to be 'monstrous and shocking'? What is the process for finding the legislature and DoJ to be 'monstrous and shocking'? For finding that they do not derive their just powers from the will of the governed and have violated their sworn duty to The Constitution in favor of their sponsors' will-to-power?

Not even a cent (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127098)

Even forcing someone to pay a single cent for pirating a song would be too much. Pirates don't actually take anything or harm anyone. The "potential profit" argument doesn't make any sense because not only is it likely impossible to steal money that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist/business made more money, but even if it were possible, everyone would be 'guilty' of 'stealing' profit that others could, potentially, have had (I can give quite a few examples if you wish). What's broken is this worthless capitalistic society that tries to interfere with actions that harm no one.

What other things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127308)

should you not be forced to pay for, just because you've found a way to "harmlessly" acquire them?

--

Most interesting part (4, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127130)

The most interesting part, for those of us who read the article, is:

But earlier this year, the judge found that amount to be "monstrous and shocking" and reduced the amount to $54,000. Following that, the RIAA informed Thomas-Rasset that it would accept $25,000--less than half of the court-reduced award--if she agreed to ask the judge to "vacate" his decision, which means removing his decision from the record. Thomas-Rasset rejected that offer almost immediately.

RIAA is scared their tactics will no longer work. When faced with more reasonable verdicts, their defendants are probably more likely to fight it out in court, making RIAA's whole business litigation plan useless.

Has anyone taken this to the bands in question? (5, Insightful)

igorthefiend (831721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127142)

Every last one of these acts will have a twitter / facebook / forum etc... at least a couple of them are going to be people who interact with their fans on there in person.

Do they know that this is being done in their name? We know that songs are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_v._Thomas#The_24_songs [wikipedia.org] so let's start asking them the question...

Statue of limitation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127144)

I have a friend who is wondering if there Is there a statue of limitation on copyright infringement? Anyone know?

Am I safe from my ISP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34127208)

Is there a list of ISPs that do and don't deal with the RIAA?
How do I know if I'm safe?

I can absolutely guarantee (4, Insightful)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127218)

that if any of the jurors were 'investigated', you would find quite a bit of infringing material in their homes. I have yet to meet anyone that doesn't have a old cassette of songs dubbed from someone else, a CD of tunes made for a party or wedding, a photocopy of some book or newspaper, lyrics on their website or profile, etc. Even if they don't have these items currently, they've made infringing copies in the past.

Everyone in the US is guilty of copyright infringement at one time or another. Most people don't ever think about copyright, or if they do, it's to make up the rules as they go.

I wonder how the jury would react if they were sent invoices for damages for their past and current infringements, based on the ridiculous damages they approved for this woman.

The amounts are outrageous (1)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127232)

But the message is crystal clear. You can't legally COPY someones work and especially you can't share it. I'm a writer and I want to get paid for copies of what I write. NO ONE has a right to take my work and share it with others or copy it without paying. I have every right to expect that what I write IS MINE TO SELL or give away - but it's MINE.

United states of america (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34127356)

where individuals are supposedly free, but end up being corporations' bitch. you are just free to choose who you will be a bitch for ...

i know a lot of you oldtimers will get irritated. get irritated. the reality YOU built for us youngsters is irritating us too.
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