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New Judge Assigned To Tenenbaum Case Upholds $675k Verdict

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the and-now-law-school-in-miniature dept.

Piracy 312

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In SONY v Tenenbaum, the new District Judge assigned to the case has disagreed with the previous judge, and instead of reducing the $22,500 per file award to $2250 per file, has instead upheld the jury's verdict. The jury initially found defendant Joel Tenenbaum to have 'willfully' infringed the RIAA copyrights by downloading 30 mp3 files which would normally retail for 99 cents each, and awarded the plaintiff record companies $675,000 in 'statutory damages.' Tenenbaum moved to set the verdict aside on both common law remittitur grounds and constitutional due process grounds. Judge Gertner — the District Judge at the time — felt that remittitur would be a futility, and on constitutional grounds reduced the verdict to $2250 per file. The RIAA appealed. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals remanded on the ground that Judge Gertner ought to have decided the question on remittitur grounds and reached the constitutional question prematurely. By the time the case arrived back in District Court, Judge Gertner had retired, and a new judge — Judge Rya Zobel — had been assigned. Judge Zobel denied the remittitur motion. And then Judge Zobel denied the constitutional motion, leaving the larger verdict in place. I think it is reasonable to expect Tenenbaum to appeal this time around."

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Who cares (-1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41100967)

In order to steal music that I would rather stab myself in the balls with an ice pick than listen, the idiot ruined his life. Why didn't he just pay $30?

Re:Who cares (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101009)

Should have stolen 30k songs like me. Nothing happens when you steal thirty thousand songs.

Re:Who cares (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101119)

In Assbagistan, verdict holds YOU up!

Re:Who cares (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101163)

Black people are great and they're fine by me. Just people with a permanent tan.

But I just don't like niggers. If you think being a street thug is the highest aspiration in life, then you're a nigger.

If you ever beat up a black kid in school because he was studying hard, trying to learn and achieve, and "acting white" you're a nigger.

If you don't know anything about Obama's politics and you're voting for him just because he's black and you're black, you're a nigger.

If you think Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are wise leaders, you're a nigger.

If you celebrate violence and think being a gang member would be just grand, you're a nigger.

The black race is its own worst enemy. The good black people are constantly being betrayed by the niggers. This is much worse than anything whites have done in a very long time. Black on black crime is much worse than white on black crime has ever been. You don't HAVE to consistently top the charts for violent crime, poverty, and bastard children you know. Blaming genetics is a pathetic coward of a cop-out. Too many niggers subscribe to this culture of violence and underachievement. They are pimples on the ass of society.

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101055)

In order to steal music that I would rather stab myself in the balls with an ice pick than listen, the idiot ruined his life. Why didn't he just pay $30?

Kill a man and you get off easy.
Download 30 music files and you have your life ruined.
Yep it makes total sense. Fuck the US justice system, and fuck the corporations that have bought the US government lock, stock and barrel.

Re:Who cares (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101201)

Yeah because being locked up for life with violent criminals in the federal pen is 'easy'. Uh, what planet do you live on?

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101273)

You really need to look at how much time you actually get for murder in the US.

Re:Who cares (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101407)

At what level? Federal or state? Also, which state specifically? Is it first-degree, second-degree or third-degree murder or is it (in)voluntary mansluaghter? You're going to have to be more specific because you can get anywhere from a couple of years with early release up to multiple life sentences with no chance of parole.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101325)

Ahem. 48 states signed an agreement to keep prisons at 90% capacity or more. I'm pretty sure anyone who bumps off another will be part of that 90% housed in private prisons for a very long time, if only so the state can avoid the heavy fines they would pay otherwise.

Re:Who cares (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101105)

I'm just waiting for some of the local self-appointed experts in IP to try to pull some of the lame excuses they use here as a defense for why they steal music that they claim is garbage anyway. I so wish that one of those neckbeards would man up and try to walk into a court with that crap they're spouting here. I would laugh for a good two hours.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101211)

Nobody is truly arguing that breaking copyright is ok. What people have a problem with at this point are two things.

1) The level of damages should not exceed 10 times the value of the product/song
2) The charges should not be able to be brought until it can be proved that the person being sued actually commited the crime

Re:Who cares (0, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101307)

1) The level of damages should not exceed 10 times the value of the product/song
 
And where did you get that number from? So, if you are a music artist and you sell your song for $1 from your small, low traffic website, I, as a big corporation can take your song and distribute it from my big high traffic website for free and sell a million dollars worth of advertising. And the most you can sue me for is $10?

Re:Who cares (4, Interesting)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101477)

1) The level of damages should not exceed 10 times the value of the product/song

And where did you get that number from? So, if you are a music artist and you sell your song for $1 from your small, low traffic website, I, as a big corporation can take your song and distribute it from my big high traffic website for free and sell a million dollars worth of advertising. And the most you can sue me for is $10?

Actually, this is close to the scenario for which the statutory damage amounts were created for. We should distinguish between someone who pirated a single copy of a song for personal use vs a person (or organization) who is willfully redistributing for profit.

Re:Who cares (2)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101531)

Stealing the song is one offense. Using it to make a profit from in a commercial empire when you don't own it is a different offense entirely. Nice Straw-Man though.

Re:Who cares (1, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101607)

The damages are there not because he downloaded the song, but because he distributed the song. His motivation is his business. The damages to the copyright owner in terms of lost sales are the same whether he did it for profit or not.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101969)

Those lost sales are a total fantasy.They aren't actual damages. They are something that was made up to address professional pirates. They are entirely inappropriate when applied to an individual.

Such a verdict also violates the tort reform concepts that so many people like you would apply to corporations.

What this really boils down to is "tort reform for the rich, and crime and punishment for the poor".

The idea of "imaginary damages" needs to go.

They are clearly unjust regardless of what kind of excuses you would like to make for them.

Re:Who cares (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101977)

Fine, then make them prove they lost sales, including proving how many people he distributed it to, and the fact that none of those people bought the music after that.

See that makes it easy to distinguish between criminal infringement and "customary" infringement.

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

niado (1650369) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101549)

Strawman example =[

The situation you describe would certainly be criminal infringement [wikipedia.org] as it is performed on a commercial scale. No civil lawsuit would be necessary or sensible in such a case.

The major problems that most people have (admittedly excluding those who advocate abolishment of copyright) are with the ridiculously overboard civil issues that must be endured. To quote Judge Gertner regarding this case:

"(The damages are)...far greater than necessary to serve the government's legitimate interests in compensating copyright owners and deterring infringement. In fact, it bears no meaningful relationship to these objectives. To borrow Chief Judge Michael J. Davis' characterization of a smaller statutory damages award in an analogous file-sharing case, the award here is simply 'unprecedented and oppressive.'"

Re:Who cares (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101711)

The principle is the same. Ok, forget about the 'commercial scale' whatever that means. Replace big corporation with an individual, and million dollars with say $300. The point is that the damages can easily be more than $10 and that picking such a simple number as ten times the price does not work.

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101997)

Without a paying customer you have no real damages.

THAT is what separates a commercial criminal enterprise from some guys on a torrent swarm. The transfer of money directly to the perpetrator in exchange for the product is the only thing that demonstrates that there are any lost sales here.

Anything else is a self-serving fantasy.

There are no damages if there are no willing customers.

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101643)

Hello Superman.

Many studies have shown that downloaders are often loyal fans. Yes they download but they also buy a lot of stuff. As author Charles Stross (meaning he has more gravita on this matter then you) observed it makes no sense to punish people who are your customers. He says he's gained many fans from people who downloaded book one, and then bought books two thru six in the series. He made five sales where otherwise he would have had none.

And besides the punishment is ridiculous. When I steal a baker's loaf of pumperknickel bread, I've deprived him of his property. I've caused real harm. But if I *copy* the loaf then he's lost nothing. He still has his loaf of bread which he can eat himself or sell to himself.

Now you may argue that the baker "lost a sale" but I argue that's nonsense. I never would have paid for that bread anyway, especially since I don't like pumperknickel. So the potential for a sale never existed.

ANYWAY this punishment is nuts. It's a life sentence (how long it takes to payoff the fine). The punishment exceeds the damage caused. It is equivalent to if I touched your nose, you prosecute me for assault, and I get a 50 year sentence. Nuts.

Re:Who cares (1)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101713)

Actually, since you summed your profits up so nicely, he would be able to sue you for $10,000,000. 10 times the $1,000,000 you made in advertising directly related to the music you stole. The problem is the music industry and law is treating people as competing companies when they are just people with no business interest at all. The people that have downloaded and host music files by default nature of p2p file sharing are not making any money from their actions unlike the big corporation you describe. The most damage you can sum up is the $1 lost to the sale. It's not like he turned around and sold 100 copies of the song for $0.50 or for any value.

Copyright law is to allow people and companies a short term monopoly to reap the benefits of their work and prevent other people from making money with their ideas. No one else is making money from their work.

Re:Who cares (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101781)

The average musician only earns $16,000 a year (as of 2009). Let's say this average musician is like my friend who performs 10 songs per Saturday night for a year. $16k/520songs == $32 per song. Divided by 10-20 listeners at the club is $1.60 to $3.20 per person.

So by downloading my friends' music instead of going to the club and paying for it, I should have to pay $3.20 times the thirty songs == $100 to my friend. THAT is a reasonable fine, and it is based upon the average musician salary. You could even add $900 "punative damage" on top of it. That's still a more-realistic value than 675,000.

Re:Who cares (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101793)

And the most you can sue me for is $10?

The amount of money they could possibly have lost is a fraction of that.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101915)

>>>I, as a big corporation can take your song and distribute it from my big high traffic website for free and sell a million dollars worth of advertising.

Funny you mention that. The record corporations were sued by Canadian artists because the megacorps were using the songs on compilation/greatest hits CDs and not paying the royalties due.

They owed billions but settled out of court for millions (mere pennies per song). Why is it that corporations can steal *directly* from their employees and only be punished a few pennies per act, but a citizen with essentially no money gets punished 675K/30 == $22 000 per act.

Our system is bass-backwards and your defense of it makes little sense. This young man is the one who should be punished for mere pennies/song while the billionaire corporations get whacked with the 675,000 fine (per employee-artist ripped off).

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41102027)

It's per offense. So $1 song distributed 1 million times = $10million in damages.

There's also that third thing... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101349)

where copyright terms are constantly extended. Disney built their empire off the works of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Mark Twain, etc. But, congress forbid that an old black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon should ever likewise fall into the public domain.

The real theft is being done by the copyright holders, they're stealing our culture from us.

Re:There's also that third thing... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101831)

Not sure it would help much here. Most rock writers are still alive, and the number at dead + 20 years or whatever it is you can count on one hand.

Re:There's also that third thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101889)

How old were the songs the defendant copied?

Re:Who cares (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101439)

Breaking copyright is absolutely ok and I advocate it. Guess what? the entire world does it daily. That's why things like fair use exists, because copyright is improperly asserted in it's current form. Copyright as is, simply does not apply properly to digital products.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101487)

Nobody is truly arguing that breaking copyright is ok.

I've heard plenty of people argue that breaking copyright is ok. So I guess the important word here is "truly" as in "no Scotsman truly argues that breaking copyright is ok".

Re:Who cares (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101363)

In order to steal music...

Nobody "stole" anything here. Copyright infringement is not "stealing".

Yes, there is a difference. Yes, the difference matters.

No, pointing this out does not mean I condone or commit copyright infringement myself, and yes, that IS what you were going to say.

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101525)

The RIAA ruined his life. This fellow's only mistake is stealing MP3s instead of selling fraudulent loan securities.

Re:Who cares (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101733)

Why didn't he just pay $30?

How do you know he didn't?

Wow. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41100969)

We all agree the courts are disgusting. And yet we are doing nothing to fix them. We need an internal affairs department for prosecutors, legislators and judges, who do nothing but watch over their shoulder for this kind of thing.

Re:Wow. (1)

GKThursday (952030) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101077)

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Re:Wow. (2)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101275)

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

Populusque romanus, of course... but it seems it doesn't want to commit to its due work.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101589)

Nobody involved is Roman, you insensitive clod!

Re:Wow. (5, Funny)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101745)

"Nobody involved is Roman, you insensitive clod!"

Are you sure? What about that guy, Remittitur, they talk about?

Re:Wow. (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101355)

I don't think you understand the role of courts. If you disagree with a law, it is congress (i.e. voters) you should blame, not the courts.

Re:Wow. (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101517)

If it's a jury trial, I also apportion blame to the jury. Jurors who are too stupid to educate themselves about their power, including jury nullification, offend me. If the law is stupid, the original jury could have just found the defendant not guilty; end of story.

So in the end we are both blaming the common people.

Re:Wow. (5, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101789)

Agreed, the jury in this case should be ASHAMED of themselves. There are people who are at fault accidentally killing other human beings who receive less punishment than they are handing out for someone "stealing" 30 songs.

The verdict handed down in this case is a life destroying verdict for a young man. That the RIAA keeps appealing for its huge award is DISGUSTING.

Giant corporate entities are working at utterly destroying one person's life. The RIAA deserves every ounce of contempt and disdain it gets from the people.

For companies that like to believe that they create things that move human emotions and make people think, the RIAA collectively is a horribly dark, twisted, and evil group of people (and the MPAA is even. worse.)

Re:Wow. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101925)

And when given a choice to vote, the only people we're allowed to vote for agree on almost every topic so our recourse is what? Civil War? I'd like to think a Judge of all people would stand up and say "This is fucking ridiculous" and just start throwing cases like this out. You can't be neutral on a moving train.

Re:Wow. (1)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#41102035)

The law, generally speaking, is fine. "You infringed on $30 worth of copyright, so we're going to recoup that money."

The problem is with the ruling that it costs nearly a million dollars to recoup $30 worth of infringement.

Re:Wow. (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101441)

We all agree the courts are disgusting. And yet we are doing nothing to fix them.

Judges are supposed to uphold the law. Our elected Congressmen passed the law that allows penalties of up to what? $25,000 per song? $150,000 per song?. I am not sure but it is far, far, far above $2,250
We should not pass crappy laws and then blame the judges for upholding them. Also, perhaps he is hoping that this will go to supreme court and get stricken down as unconstitutional? (I know, fat chance...)

Re:Wow. (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101617)

Judges are supposed to uphold the law.

And the Eighth Amendment is part of the highest law of the land.

We should not pass crappy laws and then blame the judges for upholding them.

We're blaming the judge for not upholding the law. Specifically, that part of the law which states that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed".

You don't have to be on the SCOTUS to knock down a law that is blatantly unconstitutional. A law that conflicts with the constitution is null and void at any level.

forget the appeals (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101043)

Just pay them already. You're guilty and you know it.

Re:forget the appeals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101147)

Guilty? Undeniably.
$600,00 guilty? I think not.

Re:forget the appeals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101193)

Shill alert.

Re:forget the appeals (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101237)

Hear, hear! I say, the judges should quit fucking around. Just cut his hands off and be done with it.

Re:forget the appeals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101455)

Hear, hear! I say, the judges should quit fucking around. Just cut his hands off and be done with it.

Why cut his hands, excute him I say. He has committed the most heinous crime know to man in the 21st century.

Re:forget the appeals (3, Insightful)

thoriumbr (1152281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101243)

Being guilt is very different than be forced to pay $670k for 31 files. Even the Goldman-Sacks source code are cheaper!

Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (5, Interesting)

Angrywhiteshoes (2440876) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101083)

I'm not sure how they can say you owe $675,000 for stealing roughly $30 worth of products. If I stole 3 CDs from Wallmart, would I also be charged $675,000? What if I stole $30 from someone? I am not familiar with the case, but I don't see on here that he stole with the intent to undermine future sales of that company, causing significant losses.

I got caught stealing when I was younger. What happened to me was they recovered their items and I was banned from the store until I became an adult. Maybe they should just ban him from having access to these types of things, like making it illegal for him to have internet in his home, instead of an outrageous fine that most people can't afford.

May as well just start hanging people for stealing music/movies.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101165)

Maybe they should just ban him from having access to these types of things

How do you ban someone from accessing only music from the internet?

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (0)

Angrywhiteshoes (2440876) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101183)

Maybe they should just ban him from having access to these types of things

How do you ban someone from accessing only music from the internet?

Nice fragmented quote. You can prohibit him from having internet access as the rest of the statement says.

Internet access ban (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101365)

Yes, this would be an excellent way to see that justice as done, and is not likely to be abused.

Next up: Julian Assange is accused (not convicted, just accused ...) of pirating 10 songs from the internet, and has had his Internet access privilege removed for life. Justice has been done, and there were no ulterior motives involved whatsoever in this legal action.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101175)

I'm not sure how they can say you owe $675,000 for stealing roughly $30 worth of products.

Because the *AA's managed to pass laws that made for ridiculous statutory damages [wikipedia.org] .

the original rationale for statutory damages was that it would often be difficult to establish the number of copies that had been made by an underground pirate business and awards of statutory damages would save rightsholders from having to do so

So, it's an inflated number to allow them to sue for massive damages on the presumption that you've cost them vast sums of lost revenue that they can't prove. It basically says that in the FBI trailer on movies.

Not defending it, but that's how we got here. The *AA's don't believe in the concept of "personal use" or "fair use" -- as far as they are concerned, you have committed Great Evil.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101557)

Because the *AA's managed to pass laws that made for ridiculous statutory damages.

That's no excuse for the judge to ignore the Eighth Amendment.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101191)

if they had there way there would be public hangings for stealing a 99 cent song. this is all bought broken copyright laws the riaa is using laws meant to punish a business not a single person but under the broken law they can. its the same for patents and why jobs are dying in the usa. cant open a shop in the usa anymore without worry of getting sued by some patent troll or taxed to death. yet we do nothing but talk about fixing it.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101215)

It's about distributing, leading to loss of sales. Since the true damages are impossible to establish, the congress allows for default statutory damages withing a certain range, in this case $22,500 per work. It may be too high, but he could have challenged the amount and got off with paying very little. Instead, on bad advice of some activist glory seeking lawyers he decided to challenge the constitutionality of the Copyright Act and continues to dig himself into a deeper and deeper hole.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (2)

AnonyMouseCowWard (2542464) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101221)

Don't you know, filesharers caused the economic crisis? If you've ever torrented a CD illegally and shared it (you must have, since you torrented it), that's like 270k of damage, assuming 12 tracks! If 1% of the population of the US is doing that, it's at least 3 million people, so 810 _billion_ dollars of damages caused to the poor recording industry!

Meanwhile, look at this guy having to cough up 675k, having to declare bankruptcy, default on his house and having his life ruined... but it's okay. Life is hard, there are lawyers to feed.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (2, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101253)

Basically because Sony employs thousands and thousands of lawyers, and when they win (because they have thousands and thousands of lawyers) the single defendant is required to foot the bill for all those lawyers.

The crazy part: Sony is asking for 4.5 million dollars. Also, the initial fee that Tennenbaum was asked to pay (via extortion letter in the mail, before any lawyers were involved) was $3,500.

Sony is really trying to set a precedent here, to give their extortion letters some clout. "Just pay the $3,500 ... or you'll end up like Scott Tennenbaum!"

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101305)

May as well start hanging people is right, but not for stealing movies and music.

The real crime here is a 675 thousand dollar judgement for 30 dollars worth of product. The criminals are the lawyers, judges and politicians.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (1)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101309)

I'm not sure how they can say you owe $675,000 for stealing roughly $30 worth of products. If I stole 3 CDs from Wallmart, would I also be charged $675,000? What if I stole $30 from someone? I am not familiar with the case, but I don't see on here that he stole with the intent to undermine future sales of that company, causing significant losses.

They are assuming you will re-distribute the stolen music via some P2P mechanism. The question is: Is that a fair assumption? The *AAs think so and that's how they lobbied to get that ridiculous law in-place.

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101375)

And what's the average judgement amount for a wrongful death lawsuit?

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101529)

This is about right...

http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/shoplifting-laws/california-shoplifting-laws.html

In cal its up to 1000 dollars and/or 6 months in jail. Basically enough to be 'dont want to do that', but not life crushing for something so minor but high enough to make you think twice about it. The amount and time vary state to state, county to county, and city to city. But its fairly close to that...

These huge summary judgments are a major injustice being done...

Re:Stealing $30, Paying $675,000.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101577)

I believe the fines aren't just for the cost of the songs he stole, but for the amount that was most likely uploaded and distributed. Since most filesharing is done through bittorrent, there are more "damages" and lost profits to the artist than just the individual track and user. However, I am not familiar with the case, and do not know if he was uploading any of the 31 files.

Capitalism is shit! (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101153)

Down with the dictatorship of capital! For the dictatorship of the proletariat! WE NEED COMMUNISM NOW!

Readers: Have you joined the Campaign for a Free Internet yet? Remember, as our visionary founder-leader Laura once said, "today, our future begins with tomorrow!" NEED I SAY MORE? GET OFF YOUR ASSES, SLASHDORT READERS AND JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TODAY! and you will get a free email of yes!!!!!

Re:Capitalism is shit! (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101579)


Want to live in that kind of shit hole, please your welcomed to defect to North Korea or Cuba at any time.

Otherwise, screw off and die in some dark hole where no one will hear from you again.

Lost the Faith (3, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101173)

The Faith I had in the justice system has been lost. All the judges do now is allow a private organization to dictate morality AND damages. How is that justice? Damages should be between 3-10 times to be punitive. How is the original level of damages fair at all?

Re:Lost the Faith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101281)

Justice was upheld just fine. The role of the courts is not to decide what justice _is_, but rather to ensure that the laws as written by the legislative bodies are upheld. You should be upset with lawmakers, not judges here.

Re:Lost the Faith (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101357)

Not exactly. Judges can render laws partly or wholly invalid (or inapplicable in a specific case) should they violate the US Constitution. The original judge in fact did just that: held the statutory damage in this case to be "cruel and unusual" and thus reduced them. But yes, the primary fault is with the lawmakers. The judges do share in the blame in this case, though.

Re:Lost the Faith (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101499)

This is a very simple-minded and ultimately incorrect view of the fault. It is not the judge's fault. We are the idiots who have allowed our politicians to write these insane laws with statutory damages. A jury of our peers levied these insane damages against this person. The judges didn't write the law and didn't make the decision. They are bound by the law and cannot just make up laws as they see fit.

Re:Lost the Faith (5, Insightful)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101503)

Having now read the opinion, here's how the judge came out:

1. The jury found this guy guilty of infringement.
2. The guy had 8 years of known infringing activities
3. The guy destroyed evidence
4. The guy lied repeatedly
5. It wasn't just a matter of him downloading songs, he was uploading them too
6. The jury got to see all the evidence
7. Congress set the bounds for copyright infringement's statutory damages
8. The jury pick something on the arguably low end of the range
9. When looking at the common law rules the judge did not feel the case was inequitable under the circumstances.

I would wager good money that had 2-5 been different, the judge WOULD have found the award inequitable.

That said, I have some questions about why 2 and 5 were even in evidence at all. They seem irrelevant to copyright infringement of the songs at issue here. I haven't kept pace with this case, but I should think those are irrelevant unless they were themselves proved to be infringements.

Also, it helps not to destroy evidence or lie.

Re:Lost the Faith (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101563)

You had faith in the justice system? Bwahahahaha! Sorry, it's not personal.

Bankruptcy (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101187)

Can't this kid just file for bankruptcy? Corporations do it all the time and skip out on their obligations. Liquidate all his assets (none) pay off what he can (nothing) and tell the creditors to shove it. Barring that, what else can he possibly do? Pay in $100 for the rest of his life? This is pure lunacy.

Re:Bankruptcy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101289)

somethings are " Non-Dischargeable Debt" they don't go away in a bankruptcy

Re:Bankruptcy (3, Funny)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101511)

The answer is obvious: he needs to write and record 30 songs himself, and hand the copyrights over to the RIAA members involved in this suit. Payment in kind is an age-honoured tradition.

If they still require decal damages (that's 10x), then he needs to create 300 3-minute songs. He could probably rap the legal proceedings to get the required 900 minutes of audio.

Re:Bankruptcy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101515)

No bankruptcy sorry. It is truly awesome that a downloader of pirated music who also de facto makes the music available for upload was not only found guilty, but loses their appeals.

Well, now they better figure out a payment plan, enough with wasting court time on appeals or the courts should add on court costs to the $675,000.

Who's next? Go get 'em RIAA.

Re:Bankruptcy (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101591)

was not only found guilty, but loses their appeals

I don't think his guilt was ever in question since he made the mistake of confessing. In all his interviews, he seems to admit that he did in fact do it.

Re:Bankruptcy (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101791)

Ah, I see: the $10 you would have received from those songs would have completed your 3rd gold-plated yacht exactly 28 seconds earlier. Since you have forever lost those 28 seconds of enjoyment of your 3rd yacht, someone should be put into debtor's prison. Gotcha.

Little note: in 1796, they decapitated a whole class of people for pretty much the same attitude. You might want to work a bit on your PR there.

Re:Bankruptcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101521)

Barring that, what else can he possibly do?

I hear Ecuador is nice this time of year....

This is Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101257)

I didn't really feel like pirating a bunch of music I think is bland in the first place, and what little I do listen to I listen to legally. However, it's things like this that make me want to start a bunch of torrent bots to spread as many terabytes of their content as I possibly can- just a feeling of what I want to do.. Just a feeling.. At least that's what I'm going to say.

Re:This is Why (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101677)

I don't pirate. But I don't buy any music at all. As long as this blasphemy of copywrongs exists in its current twisted form I will never support them. All the music I listen too is on the radio, public domain, or independent.

I'm lost.... (1)

Nemosoft Unv. (16776) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101319)

Can somebody explain in plain English what the legal hoopla really means? To me, this case seems more like a legal Goldberg machine [wikipedia.org] than an actual court case....

Re:I'm lost.... (2)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101933)

Really, that's what they're going for. Sony has near-infinite resources compared to one guy with a Pro Bono lawyer... so they're running circles around him. They've got a dozen lawyers in court, objecting to anything he does, while another dozen lawyers fight with his ISP to subpoena his net usage history and still some more lawyers and lobbyists work to get new laws passed that make copyright infringement a felony punishable by death ... etc etc etc. Sony probably hired a crew to canvas this guy's neighborhood and interrogate the neighbors: "Have you heard any of these 30 songs emanating from that house?"

What it all boils down to is Sony setting a precedent. It's a modern day Witch Hunt. They want to have a big public showing that downloading music is evil and bad and will cost you MILLIONS (Sony is trying to get up to $4.5 million in damages) to hopefully scare the public into (A) not downloading music and (B) paying the Sony extortion letters. If this $600,000+ fine holds up, what would your reaction be to a letter from Sony that said, "We have evidence to show you've downloaded our songs illegally. You are hereby fined $5,000. Pay up or we're headed to court." How many people would think about this guy, and just pay up?

Even if only 1% of people respond and pay, that's still a damn good ROI for the cost of a stamp.

Bonus points for Sony if they can drive people away from LEGAL music downloads. "You claim to have purchased these songs from Amazon or iTunes ... but I don't see a receipt. $5,000 or we're going to court." The longer Sony can keep people beholden to the ancient CD system, the better it is for them.

Judge Rya Zobel (2)

CNTOAGN (1111159) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101327)

Ok, I respect old people, but I don't trust them - not one bit. This lady is 80 - how is she qualified to be a judge on a case that involves technology? The RIAA must have convinced her that "downloading" somehow stole their copy and they had to get them back... Anyways, I'd be curious to see the list of songs - just to see where those songs are in the charts / profit margins.

Re:Judge Rya Zobel (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101399)

Anyways, I'd be curious to see the list of songs - just to see where those songs are in the charts / profit margins.

Does it matter?

Case 1: Song is in Top 100 (or whatever). 'See, your honor? This is a best selling song, and we would have made tons more but for his piracy!!!"

Case 2: Song has no profits. "See, your honor? Nobody bought this song because they just downloaded his pirate copy!!!"

A life worth nothing is an open door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101353)

I'm just saying that people do stupid things, but does listening to 30 songs for about 1 hour per day mean that the offender should lose all hope of ever living an otherwise normal life? I will say that if you back someone into a corner and they see no way out then they either act against themselves or act out against others. The RIAA doesn't really see what's coming, or maybe they do and they think the only way to lessen the impact will be to destroy people.

He should just shoot them (2)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101659)

You're right; if he has nothing left to live for, he should do his best to make sure these bastards never harm anyone else again.

He should walk into their offices with an AK-47 and just start spraying bullets. He should preferably, take out all the execs and their lawyers if he can.

And you know what? The penalty he'll get for murdering 50+ people is probably less than what he's being charged with now. Chances are he'll be out in 10 years, whereas, if he accepts the fine, he'll be an economic prisoner for 90 years.

Re:A life worth nothing is an open door (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101827)

I'm pretty sure that the RIAA feels that in case the pleb revolts, they can just hire a few armed guards for their gated communities and electrify their fences.

He should disapear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101413)

This is a far more reasonable use for the "how to disappear" thread than the government spies angle.

And meanwhile if a corporation breaks the law ... (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101447)

And meanwhile if a corporation breaks the law the fine is like 50% of the profits they made from breaking the law.

50%? Hah! (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101717)

The awesome thing is that they spend tons of cash lobbying for "tort reform" and with the other arm are using tort to roto-root people into insolvency for the pettiest of damages.

What happens if he can't pay? (2)

Milharis (2523940) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101639)

If the judgement is upheld, and he has to pay the $675k, he's most likely not going to be able to pay that sum.
What would happen then?

I guess they would probably seize and sell his properties, but that's probably not enough.
So would he go to jail and have his debt written off, or is he going to kept them for his whole life?
Something else maybe?

Basically, why fine someone a sum the judge knows that the defendant won't be able to pay? To make an example I guess, but is there something else?

Re:What happens if he can't pay? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101775)

Nobody expects to see the money from this kid. You said it yourself, all they want is to ruin his life.

Re:What happens if he can't pay? (1)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 2 years ago | (#41101887)

He can start over in some other country, it's not as bad as it sounds.

Steal a little.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41101757)

Steal a little, get a huge fine and threats of prison time.
Steal a lot, go to Washington D.C.

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