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Court Reinstates $675k File Sharing Verdict

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the wronging-what-once-went-right dept.

Music 388

FunPika writes with this excerpt from Wired: "A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated a whopping $675,000 file sharing verdict that a jury levied against a Boston college student for making 30 tracks of music available on a peer-to-peer network. The decision by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a federal judge who slashed the award as 'unconstitutionally excessive.' U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner of Boston reduced the verdict to $67,500, or $2,250 for each of the 30 tracks defendant Joel Tenenbaum unlawfully downloaded and shared on Kazaa, a popular file sharing peer-to-peer service. The Recording Industry Association of America and Tenenbaum both appealed in what has been the nation's second RIAA file sharing case to ever reach a jury. The Obama administration argued in support of the original award, and said the judge went too far when addressing the constitutionality of the Copyright Act's damages provisions. The act allows damages of up to $150,000 a track." Update: 09/17 21:32 GMT by S : As it turns out, the article's explanation of the decision is a bit lacking; read on for NewYorkCountryLawyer's more accurate explanation.NYCL writes, "The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to reach the Due Process issue in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. In a 65-page decision (PDF), which rejected all of Tenebaum's counsel's other arguments, and which otherwise praised Judge Gertner's handling of the trial, the First Circuit felt that under the doctrines of judicial restraint and constitutional avoidance, it was premature to decide the constitutional issue without first disposing of the defendant's motion on common law, remittitur grounds. The Court gave several examples of scenarios which might have occurred, had the lower court decided the remittitur question, which would have avoided embarking down the constitutional path."

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cost of warmongering; destitute nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428360)

seems hard to make the connection?

asses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428362)

how can a song be worth $150,000? if i leave $1 apples in my yard for someone to take, will 150,000 show up?

Re:asses (5, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 3 years ago | (#37428398)

how can a song be worth $150,000? if i leave $1 apples in my yard for someone to take, will 150,000 show up?

No, apples are a scarce resource. Digital files can be copied indefinitely with no quality loss, thus the scarcity must be created artificially. Apparently the way to do that is by suing fans.

Re:asses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428814)

Is someone there stateside going to DO something about the RIAA or is it going to be left to outsider to do your job for you ? Eh !!!!

Re:asses (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 years ago | (#37428694)

how can a song be worth $150,000?
Well, a song may very well be worth $150,000 when first introduced to a studio. However, in this case, it is simply playing sleight-of-hand with the information. The song was put up on kazaa and could have been downloaded any number of times, including 0 and 1 billion, so the actual cost per song was somewhere between infinity and fractions of a penny. It is probably safe to say that it was downloaded lots of times, and the resulting cost per song is fairly low.

Re:asses (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 3 years ago | (#37428852)

An individual couldn't have uploaded a song 1 billion times. Even just 100 times is very, very unlikely. Consider something known as amortization [wikipedia.org] .

In this case, anyone can download a song from anyone else that has it. The maximum number of downloads required is the number of people in the network. Therefore, the amortized number of uploads per person is 1. It's highly unlikely anyone will upload any song more than a few times. That's how file sharing really works. Besides which, no private individual's connection is fast enough to support hundreds of uploads every day.

But these guys are trying to argue that an average uploader is no different than a manufacturer of physical media with bootleg songs. In that scenario, very few people can manufacture the media. Those who do could sell thousands of copies. Unfortunately, the judges and juries have bought this ridiculous argument.

That's still not all. The whole issue shouldn't be in the courts at all! Sharing of information should never have been criminalized. This college student is being tortured by the Copyright Inquisition, in hopes that the rest of us will be scared away from reaping the immense value the Internet has brought us all. Doesn't matter how severly they torture their victim, they can't stop us from using the Internet. What's been done to the student is cruel, senseless, and ineffective.

Gee, I wonder (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428378)

I wonder WHICH JUDGE was paid off by the RIAA. NOT OBVIOUS AT ALL.

Re:Gee, I wonder (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 3 years ago | (#37428400)

I wonder WHICH JUDGE was paid off by the RIAA. NOT OBVIOUS AT ALL.

The laws are the problem, not the judge.

Re:Gee, I wonder (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37428492)

The Constitution is the law of the land. A judge who cannot apply it properly is a big problem. This government is just completely off the rails. There is not an ounce of legitimacy left in it.

Re:Gee, I wonder (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 3 years ago | (#37428606)

The Constitution is the law of the land.

The Constitution was the law of the land. Surely you're not new here? There are no constitutional protections for those living within 100 miles of a US border or oceanic coast. That just happens to work out to 70% of the population, including the individuals mentioned in this article.

Re:Gee, I wonder (2)

MurukeshM (1901690) | about 3 years ago | (#37428700)

Paid off? The judge who reduced charges, obviously. Why else would he used the wrong way to go about it, especially when its been done before? The judge who reversed that judgement is the fair one. At least, he explained how it should have been done.

whatta dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428380)

on your computer, on your college's network??? might as well roll out the red carpet to your dorm room with signs saying "Welcome feds!" He neds to be fined for excessive stupidity. The college should also be fined for not having intellect-standards

Re:whatta dumbass (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 3 years ago | (#37428392)

This was back in the Kazaa days. Who knew back then?

Even I had downloaded files back then. Of course, now all my computer software is FOSS and all my media is legal. These idiots don't realize that a downloader today is a customer tomorrow, so long as you don't sue them.

Re:whatta dumbass (1)

geniice (1336589) | about 3 years ago | (#37428640)

Worse than that. He chose to fight rather than settle. Which means he either received some extremely poor legal advice or was prepared to accept some insane risk/reward ratios.

Re:whatta dumbass (1)

morari (1080535) | about 3 years ago | (#37428794)

Or he assumed that a jury made up of his "peers" would have be smart enough to see just how asinine the entire situation really was. Of course, that's a bad assumption when given the reality of the system, but it's not an unfair expectation when confronted with the spirit of the law. The problem, I suppose, steams more from jurors being idiots. Generally speaking, only the dumbest of folk don't go out of there way to get dismissed from jury duty.

Reminds me of this artwork (4, Funny)

riflemann (190895) | about 3 years ago | (#37428382)

Re:Reminds me of this artwork (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428650)

Well, yes - though sadly, it's not because the value of the drive has increased....

Well, to be fair (0)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 3 years ago | (#37428662)

The HD without the contents is now worth more then the US economy.

--off topic--

Most amazing article recently, Geithner called on the EU for unity to deal with the crisis especially regarding to Greece.

Geez, how about solving your own problems first since they caused the whole mess to begin with?

Re:Well, to be fair (1)

tunapez (1161697) | about 3 years ago | (#37428764)

Geithner did fix him and his friends' problems back home. Until they drag him out in cuffs he will continue to fix his buddies up. Now, he'd like his counterparts on the other side of the pond to enjoy the benefits of big cash handouts, too.

Timmy's all heart, he's just like Robin Hood... except different.

Re:Reminds me of this artwork (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428880)

Assuming the whole thing is filled with MP3s (which it isn't, but it wouldn't be hard to make one that was)...

1 TB / roughly 5 MB per track = about 200,000 tracks, give or take

200,000 tracks * 150,000 USD per track = 30 billion USD

American GDP in 2010: $14.527 trillion (source: Wikipedia)

You're off by a few orders of magnitude...

I can't understand... (2, Funny)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 3 years ago | (#37428384)

What goes into these people's heads.

"Hmm yeah he put some songs up for download, that's 22,500 dollars each."

Maybe he hit a pair of extra zeros when he was typing out the verdict.

Surely he didn't prevent 22,500 people from paying a dollar for the song.

Re:I can't understand... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 3 years ago | (#37428408)

Surely he didn't prevent 22,500 people from paying a dollar for the song.

No, that is the producer's job!
(considering the quality of music that has been coming out of the RIAA the past decade)

Re:I can't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428706)

Why do you think that a $22,500 fine per song means 22,500 downloads he stopped from being sold? There are all sorts of things that add to an award:
Compensatory damages (actual damage)
Punitive damages (as punishment and to discourage others from doing the same crime)
Incidental damages (commercially reasonable damages from expenses related to the theft)
Consequential damages (aka special damages)
Liquidated damages
Reliance damages
Nominal damages
Statutory damages
Treble damages

and so on and so forth.

Re:I can't understand... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#37428726)

A fancy name doesn't alter the math of the situation nor time honored notice like "cruel and unusual'.

Re:I can't understand... (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 3 years ago | (#37428826)

Surely he didn't prevent 22,500 people from paying a dollar for the song.

I don't know. Is that figure so hard to believe? How many people use file sharing networks .... millions? It wouldn't have to be a very popular song to quickly rack up 22,500 downloads from people who might otherwise have just used iTunes.

It's always hard to hear about huge fines levied against individuals who have no way to pay but what does the guy expect? He knew what he was doing was illegal. If there's no punishment at all you might as well just roll back copyright law and say, well, everyone making music, books, movies and computer programs - you are now all volunteers, or buskers at best. I wouldn't want to see that.

THIS is what goes into their heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428842)

"This music is *mine* and and when people *steal* it I lose money! Therefore, we must make an example of people who do this to scare the rest into submission."

The high price of the verdict doesn't have anything to do with actual damages. It is all about destroying a person to create fear.

With the democrats in control now, it is a very bad time to take this sort of thing to trial. They have strong loyalties to the Mafi*AA.

USA = Home of Crazy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428388)

Sudden Outbreak Of Crazy yet again it seems.
Only In America!

If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

mykos (1627575) | about 3 years ago | (#37428406)

Would I be on the hook for $168 million?

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#37428460)

Let's not forget a jury of US citizens actually somehow thought this was appropriate.

We have a serious stupidity problem in the US that is bringing the nation to its knees... right at hip level to huge money interests... leaving the US begging for a huge money shot.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (2, Insightful)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 3 years ago | (#37428486)

The problem is no one smart would be allowed to stay on the Jury... a hint of intelligence disqualifies you these days...

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (5, Interesting)

LordKronos (470910) | about 3 years ago | (#37428942)

Bullshit. I used to believe that crap, then a few years ago I got an opportunity to serve on a jury for the first time. I'd say 2/3 of the jury were pretty smart in one way or another.

When picking a jury, you can't just disqualify as many people as you want. Each side has only a limited number of jurors they can dismiss without reason. They can dismiss an unlimited number of jurors for good reason, if the judge agree's it's a good reason, but I don't think "because he's too smart" is going to be a good reason to do so in the judges eyes. So sure, they could use their limited number of no-reason dismissals to try and get rid of smart people, but the problem is, you quickly run out those, and then you are stuck with whatever jurors get called as a replacement.

Furthermore, it's fairly difficult to figure out who's smart just based on the questions that get asked. The judge just asks for simple stuff like your occupation and a few questions to try to determine any bias...whether you know anyone involved with the case, whether someone you know or are related to has been involved in a similar case, whether you or someone you know has been a victim of the sort of crime about to be tried, etc.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 3 years ago | (#37428944)

if, during the pre-test phase, you show knowledge of jury nullification, you are automatically disqualified.

they ask a few times if you will follow the letter of the law or the judges 'instructions'; and if you say you will follow your heart (in any similar words) you are thrown out of the pool.

they don't want people judging the law; they want to withold that so that those who can directly monkey with the system can do so unfettered by your and my 'moral views' toward bought-and-paid-for laws.

and if you know about J.N. and don't disclose it, you risk being held in contempt!

the most powerful nation on earth (arguably) and it hides its best law and punishes you if you dare make use of it.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428504)

A jury of US citizens is instructed explicitly to act in accordance with the law. It is not their place to determine whether or not the punishment as prescribed by the law is appropriate, or whether or not the law itself is constitutional. Challenging the law is a different trial entirely.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | about 3 years ago | (#37428558)

It is not their place to determine whether or not the punishment as prescribed by the law is appropriate

That is absolutely their job. That is why we have juries. If it as just about the interaction of the law with the evidence it would be a lot more efficient and effective to hold bench trials.
Juries may be getting mis-instructed, but that they're listening is an indication of the vast array of ignorance amongst the general public as to what juries are for.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428608)

No, it is not absolutely their job. They can't make up the laws. They have to follow what is written. Even the manner in which a law itself is challenged is prescribed by laws which must be followed. The judge, jury, lawyers, etc., have rules to which they must abide. This isn't "do whatever the shit you feel like doing" hour. If you were on this jury and you stood up and proclaimed that the laws are silly and this guy either should not be punished in any way or should receive a slap on the wrist at most then you would be booted right off of that jury because you are not upholding your responsibility.

If violating law x in manner y leads to punishment z, then the punishment will be z. The role of the jury is to determine whether or not the law was violated and in what manner, which is clearly defined.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

julesh (229690) | about 3 years ago | (#37428676)

No, it is not absolutely their job. They can't make up the laws. They have to follow what is written.

Juries don't *have* to do anything. They're *told* to follow the law as written, but they are perfectly free to return any verdict they choose for whatever reason they want.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428784)

Well, if I were on a jury then I would simply vote not guilty if I felt the likely punishment was unjust. I wouldn't stand up and proclaim that the laws are silly, since I know that most judges think like you. I don't consider that any kind of moral lapse on my part, nor would I consider it such to conceal such an intent during selection. The purpose of juries is to ensure that the courts do not have unjust outcomes.

You're welcome to disagree with me, but fortunately the framers of the constitution saw fit to give people of my opinion a 12:1 advantage. :)

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (3, Informative)

Cwix (1671282) | about 3 years ago | (#37428824)

Similar to British law, in the United States jury nullification occurs when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the weight of evidence, sometimes due to a disagreement with the relevant law.[1] The American jury draws its power of nullification from its right to render a general verdict in criminal trials, the inability of criminal courts to direct a verdict no matter how strong the evidence, the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause, which prohibits the appeal of an acquittal,[2] and the fact that jurors can never be punished for the verdict they return.

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

In fact get the word out, perhaps someone you tell will be on a jury that matters in these types of cases.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 3 years ago | (#37428684)

Yup. Why even have a jury if they don't have any political role in the proceedings?

The whole reason juries were required in the constitution was as a check and balance against the power of government. If the government passed a horribly unjust law, then they would have trouble convincing 12 ordinary people to go along with it.

The real problem is that the nature of the economy is such that most people can't afford to spend a lengthy time on a jury. Serious trials take weeks to complete. I can't miss work for weeks. Oh, sure, they "can't fire me" and in fact my employer would pay me for my entire period of service. However, when I got back the expectations would be that I'd still complete all my projects on time despite having a month less time to do it. I can't even work harder, since most projects are collaborative and inevitably anybody else who is only helping out will just do what they can to not be found at fault and let the project be late. Sure, I can find a better employer, but most people can't, and the reality is that this is what most employers are like (in the professional world). If you're really behind at the end of the year then you're more likely to be let go the following year. Not a word of jury service will be mentioned when they let you go - you just will have "not worked out" or whatever.

The only reform I can think of is that jury members should be paid their normal salary plus a 10% bonus for jury service (and all of that from the state - the employer pays nothing). The employer of the juror should be paid compensation for the loss of opportunity - it should be more than a token amount. Then people are less likely to have hard feelings about jury service. The cost of operating a court is already enormous, and should be considered the cost of justice. Now, I'm also in favor of reforming how court costs (both of the court and the parties) work out, but that is really a separate matter. Reforming how the costs work would defray the impact to taxpayers of having to pay jurors more than $10/day or whatever your local jurisdiction offers.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428904)

jury members should be paid their normal salary plus a 10% bonus for jury service (and all of that from the state - the employer pays nothing).

It's a big problem that even the few decent people who would otherwise be willing feel obligated by their jobs to try to get out of jury duty.
But your solution is horrible.

So rich jurors are worth more than poor?
So the state should have an incentive to seek out poorer jurors?

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37428648)

Look up jury nullification. Except people on juries are too stupid to realize the power they have.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (2, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 3 years ago | (#37428632)

The majority of the population don't care about people who are violating other people's copyright. That's just the way it is.

Things may very well change in twenty years, when the kids who file shared have grown up and compose a majority of the electorate, but I doubt it.

Crimes get defined by the majority. Deal with it.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#37428730)

Which majority made the DMCA possible?

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

pizzicar (473570) | about 3 years ago | (#37428912)

Which majority kept the DMCA after it was possible...

It's not about the who but the why.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 3 years ago | (#37428804)

A jury of people who had no good reason to get out of jury duty. Unemployed, etc.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428838)

The jury didn't set the award.. and they didn't know what the judge was going to order. All they knew was that he was going to get somewhere between a slap on the wrist, and 150k/file if they found him guilty. That's hardly the same thing as approval.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 3 years ago | (#37428478)

Well lets see.

You have to pay for the sports car (of course)
You also have to pay for the potential fuel that the driver was going to use - because you destroyed the sports car, the petrol companies lost 'potential income' which the driver would have used according to their calculations based on a random number generator with a bias towards greed.

I'm applying the same logic as this case has. Seems to work.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 3 years ago | (#37428748)

No, you would probably be on the hook for $75k plus some jail time, but if you stole it, made a bunch of exact copies and gave it to people for free, then you might be on the hook for $168 million.
A brief web search turns up that Ferrari is extremely vigilant about defending their work and sues practically everybody. I even found an article about Rolls Royce suing a golf cart manufacturer for making fake Rolls Royce front ends for their golf carts.
Seems like everybody is trying to defend their work, not just artists. I guess we just get so bent out of shape because technology has made it so easy to break the law that we think that maybe it shouldn't be illegal.

Re:If I stole and destroyed a $75k sports car (1)

morari (1080535) | about 3 years ago | (#37428834)

[quote]I even found an article about Rolls Royce suing a golf cart manufacturer for making fake Rolls Royce front ends for their golf carts.[/quote]

LMAO!

I have a set of fiberglass fenders, hood, and deck lid for my VW Beetle to make it look like an old Rolls Royce. I always thought it was kind of an ugly kit, but now I'm tempted to put it on just to piss off Rolls Royce. :P

Sad (0)

Kunax (1185577) | about 3 years ago | (#37428428)

In corporate america the corporations owns you...

Re:Sad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428564)

In corporate america the corporations owns you...

Marco Ramius said it best : "every now and then a revolution is a healthy thing....". You know all those free available firearms americans are so proud of, well might as well start using them against institutions that have no legitimacy left in it whatsoever.
Hey the White House was burned once, maybe its time to burn it down again. Go go Americans, show the rest of the world how you bring democracy to your own people.

Oppressive and Ridiculous (1)

CobaltBlueDW (899284) | about 3 years ago | (#37428430)

One day history data will look back on things like this with great disdain and disappointment. As we feel about many of the ignorant backward beliefs of previous generations. Probably not until our society fixes it's economy, and gets producers of IP payed for producing the IP and not monopolizing distribution of it. --Which, granted won't be for quite some time, but still...

Re:Oppressive and Ridiculous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428768)

Or, history will be re-written to glorify the obvious victors over democracy.

Thanks Obama! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428456)

So he shares 30 songs on the internet, admittedly wrong, but now he's financially ruined for the rest of his life?

Re:Thanks Obama! (3, Insightful)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 3 years ago | (#37428960)

It's a shame, but realistically, Tennebaum will probably just file for bankruptcy. The RIAA will get virtually nothing, Tennebaum's credit will be hosed for a few years, and that'll be the end of it.

But knowing that bankruptcy is available to the defendant illustrates just how vindictive the RIAA and MPAA really are. They have to KNOW that people can get away from the fines with a chapter 7, so that makes me believe that they seek these ridiculous awards thinking that they'll discourage others.

How dumb is this? (1)

jgreco (1542031) | about 3 years ago | (#37428488)

So you take a merely onerous award that the defendant might possibly pay off and raise it back up to something that there's no way in heck he'll ever pay. What's the point, again?

Re:How dumb is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428538)

If the $600k ruling stands, I think it's quite possible he'll just decide to not work. He'll never pay off that verdict, so any money he does make will be severely garnished, might be better off just mooching off family or living off soup kitchens.

Re:How dumb is this? (2)

naasking (94116) | about 3 years ago | (#37428734)

Why not just immediately declare bankruptcy?

Re:How dumb is this? (1)

tommy8 (2434564) | about 3 years ago | (#37428742)

Can they garnish his wages? OJ hardly paid any of the millions he was ordered to pay the Goldman family after the civil suit.

Re:How dumb is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428578)

The point is to ruin him. The point is saddle him with so much debt that he'll never pay it off. The point is to make him suffer so much that for the rest of his life that his expressions of clinical depression serve as a warning to the rest of the world. This isn't about restitution. These corps know they'll never see 10% of all the damages awarded to them. It's about ruining enough lives that "fear will keep the local systems in line".

Re:How dumb is this? (4, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | about 3 years ago | (#37428850)

To ensure that he is a slave and that his children will be slaves. That's what debt is all about, whether it's brought on by that flashy new car, your overpriced suburban house, that prestigious college diploma, a few medical bills, or some asinine court costs. You can't be a proper citizen until you're at the financial mercy of the system. How else are corporations going to legally keep slaves nowadays?

Newyorkcountrylawyer (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37428490)

What happened to him? Long time no submissions or other news with him mentioned. This is his field.

Re:Newyorkcountrylawyer (3, Insightful)

Maow (620678) | about 3 years ago | (#37428554)

What happened to him? Long time no submissions or other news with him mentioned. This is his field.

His input was superb and most welcome... until he started accusing people of trollery for simply disagreeing with some of his points.

I was shocked & dismayed to see that. I don't value his contributions nearly as much, but you're right, his input probably would be insightful right about now...

Re:Newyorkcountrylawyer (2)

operator_error (1363139) | about 3 years ago | (#37428728)

Re:Newyorkcountrylawyer (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 3 years ago | (#37428898)

So it's basically months upon months of everything related to RIAA, especially legal proceedings.. ..then a 10 month hiatus.. ..and then submissions / comments on everything from paleontology to astronomy to general tech company musings.

Yeahhh.. what happened?

I mean, I guess Mr. Beckerman might just be trying to keep things to his blog ( http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] ) rather than on /., but even that has seen more frequent posts in the past.

Re:Newyorkcountrylawyer (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 3 years ago | (#37428652)

Oddly enough, I saw a submission by him yesterday but it had nothing to do with the RIAA.

Surely the Conservatives are in charge of this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428512)

Get Real RIAA. Everything he downloaded is no where near 2250 a track, let alone 150,000 a track. This is just more money for those greedy companies.

I just don't see how people can't be satisfied with being multi-millionaires. "WE want to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars even though we will never spend all that money"

Sure people can play math games to show how they can spend that money, but GET REAL.

What a troll (-1, Flamebait)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#37428534)

"The Obama administration argued"? Yeah right. Obama stopped by the judges office and told him to overturn the decision. Just like a href="http://politics.slashdot.org/story/10/01/20/211243/Obama-DOJ-Sides-With-RIAA-Again-In-Tenenbaum">Obama's Department of Justice is somehow a separate entity of the government. The Justice Department is the Justice Department. They don't get replaced when a new president gets elected. Laws are created in Congress not the Whitehouse. If you want to point the finger at who is responsible point it at the republicans that passed the law to fuckholio ordinary people in the name of the RIAA.

Re:What a troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428646)

The usage is 100% correct. The Justice Department is part of the Executive branch and under the control of the President.The President and his cabinet are responsible for selecting the Attorney General who runs the Justice Department. Whether or not Obama had a hand in this decision, the term is used properly.

It's not the value of the songs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428544)

Just like the amount of speeding ticket is not necessarily tied to "actual damages" caused by the speeder, the penalty for copyright infringement is not necessarily tied to "actual damages." It is a PENALTY folks. It is designed to discourage people from violating the law as much as to compensate for the value of the property.

Get the message? (HINT: Don't download or distribute music and violate copyright.)

Yes, I agree it seems like a large award. However, there is no requirement that judges or juries be lenient with someone who has broken the law. They are free to impose stiff penalties, up to an including the maximum allowed by law.

Don't do the crimes if you can't pay the dimes.

Re:It's not the value of the songs... (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#37428616)

You dumbass. What's the price of a speeding ticket? Are you saying that uploading a few tracks is as dangerous to others as speeding? You know, the act of driving a machine that weighs a ton or more faster than a limit imposed for other's safety???

You, my friend, are a shill or a rich man profiting from other's misery. Otherwise, you'd see how evil your post is. Well, either that or you're trolling.

Re:It's not the value of the songs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428618)

I agree it's a punishment, but that amount is not realistic for the average person to pay...... so, he won't pay at all.

Re:It's not the value of the songs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428620)

Just like the amount of speeding ticket is not necessarily tied to "actual damages" caused by the speeder, the penalty for copyright infringement is not necessarily tied to "actual damages." It is a PENALTY folks. It is designed to discourage people from violating the law as much as to compensate for the value of the property.

Get the message? (HINT: Don't download or distribute music and violate copyright.)

Yes, I agree it seems like a large award. However, there is no requirement that judges or juries be lenient with someone who has broken the law. They are free to impose stiff penalties, up to an including the maximum allowed by law.

Don't do the crimes if you can't pay the dimes.

There's no way you're under 60 years old. You're completely clueless and out of touch with reality on this subject.

Re:It's not the value of the songs... (2)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | about 3 years ago | (#37428630)

well, crimes is something different. If it's supposed to be a penalty, rather than restitution, he should be prosecuted with a criminal standard of proof required.

*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428562)

F*** You America

RIAA sucks (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 3 years ago | (#37428590)

And the music industry can't figure out why sales are down? Music sucks, no one wants to pay 10-20 dollars for an album that might have 1 half way good song.

Sorry... (2, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | about 3 years ago | (#37428592)

But Obama is a f***kwad....

All you bleeding heart liberals are too stupid to realize there is nothing to differentiate this man from George W. Bush. And as for copyrights & patents....he is showing himself to be a pimp for corporation.

Against the people at every turn. We're not talking about legality. We're talking about the Constitution that says a fine cannot outweigh the crime. Right now, in our courts. Copyright violation is a greater crime than rape. Think about that before you reply...

Re:Sorry... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428806)

"All you bleeding heart liberals"
I don't need to think when you're obviously not either.

Re:Sorry... (0)

dxkelly (11295) | about 3 years ago | (#37428930)

I'd say something nasty here but I'm not a republican Thank God.

Re:Sorry... (0)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 years ago | (#37428932)

We're talking about the Constitution that says a fine cannot outweigh the crime. Right now, in our courts. Copyright violation is a greater crime than rape. Think about that before you reply...

Right, a civil violation with a monetary penalty is exactly like a criminal violation whose penalty is jail.
These things are exactly like one another.

Can you provide us with the exact conversion ratio between dollars and jail time?

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428952)

A pimp would be selling the corporations to any John on the street. No Obama is not a pimp but is being pimped out.

I'm happy I voted with my feet and wallet and left the country during the first Bush administration. This just confirms the correctness of that decision

Executives (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428598)

CEO's rip of the community and shareholders of billions of dollars - they get a multi-million bonus. Some kid shares 2 cd's worth of songs and gets hit for 675k. When does the class war begin?

America (3)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37428622)

The Obama administration argued in support of the original award,

The executive branch, which receives funds from corporations in the form of campaign contributions, should keep its nose out of the judicial branch, which is tasked with enforcing the letter of the law without the influence of corporations (or any other third party).

Music is BAD hm'kay (4, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | about 3 years ago | (#37428626)

So children, what has this taught us today? That's right, music is DANGEROUS.

What was once part of the human condition, bringing people together, binding their society, and begging at an instinctual level to be shared for the propagation of all human kind, is now owned by a few companies who will sue you to an early grave.

Destroy all of your radios, CD, and MP3 players. This stuff is more dangerous than radioactive waste.

Re:Music is BAD hm'kay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428718)

So children, what has this taught us today? That's right, music is DANGEROUS.

What was once part of the human condition, bringing people together, binding their society, and begging at an instinctual level to be shared for the propagation of all human kind, is now owned by a few companies who will sue you to an early grave.

Destroy all of your radios, CD, and MP3 players. This stuff is more dangerous than radioactive waste.

The solution is simple, change has to come FROM the artists. Not by lobbying congress, but by realising the value of licences that go beyond the (c) symbol. Such as creative commons. These licenses are sufficiently versatile to accomodate explicite "fair use" and still give the creator all the benefits of copyright. Can't defeat copyright, run around it. Do for culture what the GPL and other free software licenses have done for the software world.
But the situation will not change while the artists are satisfied with the current status quo, while they give away their rights to corporations, while they do lobbying (as in the EU) where music copyright was extended another 20 years. Who knows, maybe we need a Richard Stallmann for the free culture movement. Of course if it takes root and becomes a competitive player we will hear how free culture is DESTROYING the profits of those corporations. Educate kids to the benefit of a versatile licence for cultural products.

Re:Music is BAD hm'kay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428720)

And the sad part is not because the artist is losing money, it's because the middle men wants even more money (the publishers, RIAA, anyone else other than the artist itself).

Re:Music is BAD hm'kay (1)

stinerman (812158) | about 3 years ago | (#37428746)

That's actually not too far from the truth. Copyright infringement is a strict liability crime. That means even if you didn't realize you were infringing and/or took reasonable steps to ensure you weren't infringing, you are still on the hook if you end up doing it anyway. In that case, the minimum penalties are lowered to $200 per work infringed.

There's an idea, send someone a trojan that shares their music folder. I've got about 5,000 songs, give or take. That'd be about $1,000,000 -- minimum. There is nothing in the law that says you have to get the minimum...the jury can still find me liable for the full $150,000, making the damages $750,000,000.

Re:Music is BAD hm'kay (0)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 3 years ago | (#37428840)

No, that's stupid. What's dangerous is willfully breaking the law under the assumption you won't get caught. It's not like copyright laws are new or complicated. I've never met anyone who seriously thought sharing their music folder was legal, they all knew it wasn't and decided they didn't care.

Another good reason to live outside america.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428668)

There may be lots of good things about america but they tend to get eclipsed by the crazy legal goings on, the rampant gun problems and the lack of any real common sense in dealing with these kinds of things.. I mean really.. the kind of person who uses file sharing is the same kind of person who in the 90's used tapes to copy music. If we had to pay in advance for what tends to turn out to be poor quality goods from the record/movie industry then we just wouldn't pay.

I have a huge collection of music and movies that I have paid for .. I have been to countless concerts in a dozen countries.. but I would not pay for any of it without seeing/hearing it first.. As a barman in a previous life (read as Student) I can't help but think of file sharing/recording off radio as breakages.. the amount of stock you expect to have stolen, lost, broken .. etc .. You build it into your projections and you price your goods accordingly. Oddly enough, the biggest pirate I know has terabytes of music.. but he also has over 2500 legitimately purchased CD's and around 500 DVDs and 200 odd Bluerays.

File sharing and copying tapes doesn't affect sales. Poor quality products affect sales. I always buy music and movies that I would want to watch/hear again. If what your selling is good enough to buy, then everyone who is inclined to buy it will buy it.. those who were never inclined to buy it, oddly enough, won't buy it. It is the music/film industries policies of no refunds (how many times have you been in the cinema, 20 minutes into a movie and you just feel like crying that it cost you 50 euros to see this pile of ...) and buy before you see that are broken.

Nuts (0)

santax (1541065) | about 3 years ago | (#37428712)

I just checked CNN. There are no riots in the US after this. I think we can safely conclude, Americans are nuts. You don;t give a fuck about freedom. Now, go bring some freedom and democracy to your own country. BTW... i have heared you invented and still have WMD's.... Man, the USA is the reason the rest of the world has to suffer stupidity. Go fix it !

Well (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 years ago | (#37428716)

Well if he was the only one to post the tracks online then that is actually not a unreasonable figure for the losses the company might suffer.
Of course he would not be, basically all music is available online from a variety of sources, but it seems less unreasonable if you take the stance "he is being punished for all lost revenue from the pirating of those tracks", because he is the only one caught.
But then I am sure nothing is stopping them from suing person after person for the same songs.

So basically ... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 years ago | (#37428732)

if you violate copyright law you have to declare bankruptcy and forever be unable to get a loan, meaning you can never own a house, a car, etc.
In some ways it is better to be a murderer, a sex offender, or any plethora of other "lesser" crimes.

That was a flawed judgment (5, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 years ago | (#37428750)

Copyright law allows up to $150,000 per violation to discourage commercial copyright infringement. That's when someone makes a bootleg CD and sells a tens of thousands of copies for few bucks each. What happens in this case is that the bootlegger is liable for (say) 15 tracks x $150,000 each. But in the process, this indemnifies all his customers. The CDs they bought aren't real, they're contraband. But because the ringleader behind the whole thing was caught and punished, and restitution made to the IP owners, they get to keep their CDs and are not liable to be sued for owning contraband.

What happens in filesharing is quite different. Say you share a song with 10,000 people. For a judgement approaching the $150,000 per song max to make sense, punishing you with that fine has to indemnify all those people you shared with. Otherwise you can fine Tenenbaum $22,500 for making 10,000 copies of a song, but you can also fine each of the 10,000 people he shared with $22,500 each for making the same song available to each other. Thus netting the record company a potential $225 million for 10,000 copies whereas in the bootleg CD case they could only net $150,000 for the 10,000 copies.

This country really needs to pass a copyright law which distinguishes between these two cases. The current copyright statutes make sense for commercial copyright infringement when there's a single perpetrator behind it all. A new copyright statute needs to be made to cover cases of peer-to-peer filesharing, which recognizes that 10,000 people sharing a sing with each other means each person on average only made 1 copy. Punishment needs to reflect that average, meaning something on the order of $100 should be adequate. Either that or limit copyright holders to suing one and only one filesharer per song, ever. Right now, we're allowing record companies to sue 10,000 people on the basis of making 100 million copies, even though only 10,000 copies were ever made.

Re:That was a flawed judgment (1)

endymon (1898808) | about 3 years ago | (#37428822)

Or we could actually just ditch copyright since it doesn't really make sense in an age where copying things is instantaneous. While I do think authors and creators need to get paid this way no longer works, time to think of another business method. Maybe try a decade without copyright in any form. If suddenly no music/movies/books are created and authors are starving in the streets then we can reinstate it (modified). I think its time we gave market innovators a chance to come up with new business models that work in the digital age rather than forcing them to work against the system (with things like the GPL or other free licenses to work around copyright)

remember what a jury is (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 3 years ago | (#37428758)

a jury is composed of 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty.

Re:remember what a jury is (1)

The Darkness (33231) | about 3 years ago | (#37428954)

My coworkers and I attempt to counter balance this by treating jury duty as a civic obligation.

All of the "smart people" that get out of jury duty because they're "smart" can go screw themselves. They're the reason that stupid decisions like this are made and become precedent for other stupid decisions.

Third Party (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37428760)

What the US needs is a big national third political party that can challenge the Regents. Copyright reform (notabolishment) would be just one of the pillars. It should now be obvious that both republican and democratic party are nothing more than the political branches of corporate america.

Some good has come of this (2)

Dryanta (978861) | about 3 years ago | (#37428780)

For example, right now on my computer I have absolutely no media, but can listen to anything I want on Spotify or YouTube. What I find interesting is that the recording industry is allowing Spotify's business model after over a decade of shunning online delivery of content. Perhaps this is the beginning of ad driven, affordable, and legal/legitimate access to media. Thoughts?

This guy's life is over... (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | about 3 years ago | (#37428796)

Unless this dude's family is composed of millionaires, this is pretty much game over. At this point you may as well spend your time trying to assign blame so you can exact some form of revenge, what are they going to do to you, pay for your room, board, food, and medical care forever?

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