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NZ Copyright Tribunal Fines First File-Sharer

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the additional-fines-issued-for-bad-taste dept.

Music 102

An anonymous reader writes with news that the first successful case was brought before the copyright tribunal under NZ's three strikes law. From the article: "The first music pirate stung under new file-sharing laws has been fined $616 but 'didn't realise' the actions were illegal. The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) — which represents music studios — took an unnamed offender to the Copyright Tribunal last year for sharing songs on the Internet — a track by Barbadian pop-star Rihanna on two occasions and the other by Nashville band Hot Chelle Rae. In a decision released today, the tribunal found in RIANZ's favor and ordered the offender ... to pay a penalty $616.57." Torrent Freak has a slightly different perspective: a lack of evidence and pushback from the tribunal resulted in much smaller fines than the RIANZ wanted.

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102 comments

It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (5, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736863)

An amusingly reasonable finding from the tribunal:

So, with guilt under current law established, the Tribunal set about the task of a financial punishment. According to regulations, in a downloading case the cost of the infringed products must be considered. Man Down is available of iTunes for $2.39 (US$2.00) and Tonight Tonight at $1.79 (US$1.50). ...
With this in mind the Tribunal said it would order the subscriber to pay RIANZ double the iTunes price of Man Down (2 x $2.39) and the same for Tonight Tonight (2 x $1.79) – a total of $6.57 (US$5.49). This aspect of the Tribunal’s decision will be a huge disappointment for RIANZ.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736885)

oops, misread my own quote. It was $6.57 (NZ), or $5.49 (US).

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736981)

Only 1/1,000,000th of what the fines range in the US.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

Robadob (1800074) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736961)

According to the nzherald article there was also a $120 deterrent fine per track. Still comes to an incredibly low overall fine which is a moderate success I suppose.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736979)

The whole thing is pretty reasonable.

- $6.57 to cover the cost of the tracks
- $50 to cover RIANZ's costs of sending the notices (and presumably other administrative costs)
- $200 to cover the cost of bringing it before the copyright body
- $360 ($120 per infringement) as a deterrant. The only actual punitive cost.

Seems to me to be a perfect balance between high enough to deter people and low enough not to bankrupt people over an activity in which no one could be injured, no property can be destroyed, no one is harassed and economic damage is negligible.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737043)

I would guess that if you stole, say, $6 worth of products from a store and got caught, they would charge you something similar, so yes it appears reasonable (unlike the "more than the earth is worth" fines that have been bandied about in other countries).

- Cost of the product (though whether you experienced "permanent deprivation" of that cost is dubious, I'd award it you anyway so that people who pirate $1000 pieces of software are $1000 times as fined as someone who pirated a $1 piece of software).
- Plus administrative fees.
- Plus legal costs once a denial has taken place in front of a tribunal and you're still found guilty.
- Plus a punitive damage for actually doing the naughty thing in the first place.

Seems to be the first SENSIBLE ruling in terms of copyright on the Internet in years, in fact.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738007)

You're totally missing the point.

The store analogy is wrong. The store paid 4$ for the product, they would have sold it for 6$, paying off the merchandise and getting a profit of 2$. Copying the songs costs nothing. NOTHING

Do you know how people that intentionally pirate things think? Just like the WTO and Antigua did.
The RIAA people charge you for music, that costs NOTHING for them to duplicate, and music that's so old, the artists died of old age.
They don't respect people, why should the people respect them?

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738765)

Property doesn't have to be physical. What you're "stealing" is the copyright owner's right to exclusive use / who they determine they wish to extend the right of use to. I'd have more respect for your pedantic argument if it actually encompassed all forms of the word "steal".

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739005)

No. Wrong. It's infringing, not stealing.

And yes, true property has to be physical. "Imaginary property" is a terrible term that confuses things and encourages application of "age of scarcity"/pre-information age to things it shouldn't apply to, leading to inefficient artificial social and economic structures (ultimately doomed to failure anyway) to support them. It is wrong to treat things like music, art in the same method as commodities where quantity matters. Because the quantity of something does NOT matter if the cost of reproduction is zero. It simply doesn't, unless you buy the lie of intellectual property and think that everyone will always follow your notion of rights.

If something doesn't act like a car, it's wrong to call it a car.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42744653)

In this case it's cutting off your nose to spite your face. Said customer will never buy music again and friends of the customer will likely also ramp down their buying. Pissing off your customers only ever loses you customers. The more public the fines the more the effort will grow to cheat the system.

Nothing has been stolen. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42739049)

No matter how much you wish people think it has. Everyone still has everything they had before this "offense" was committed. The copyright holders didn't lose any money because the person downloading the tracks probably would never have paid for them anyway.

Sooner or later this whole laughably outdated concept of copyright is going to be replaced by something less insane.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740677)

In order to actually steal that right, you would have to substantially prevent the owner from freely exercising it.

If anyone out there could be said to be stealing a copyright, it would be ASCAP. They will demand fees even if you are playing an artist's song with his explicit permission. That is, they attempt to deny the artist the right to license his own work as he chooses.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738453)

Sensible (adj): Something one agrees with despite having done no research in how effective said something may be.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747701)

Please take this is context of the more "normal" procedure under NZ Law:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862109
Zero punitive, zero compensation, just stay at home eating pizza and watching TV with an electronic braclet. Really effective, as you can see:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862528
So in effect, this $360 is way over the top! It should be $6.57 and RIANaZi can pay their own costs.
    ~fed.the.kiwi.up

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737047)

seeing as the he was charged double the going rate for the tracks as well as $120 per infringment it would appear there are two punitive costs.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746219)

No, she shared the same song twice. The reason it looks like double is because we get ripped off on iTunes.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737081)

It's not reasonable at all. There is no fundamental difference between one audio track and 10,000. A single torrent file could be either. If you shared your music collection you'd get 1,200,000 as a deterrent.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737733)

You're not welcome here, MAFIAA shill. Please go commit suicide.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738395)

Easy, don't share 10,000 songs. This is a pretty good deterrent for making you not do that.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2)

grumbel (592662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737497)

The "per infringement" thing could end up really bad when people are sharing their whole music collection. I mean three songs seems rather tiny amount for the average act of piracy, most would probably at least share the whole album, if not the whole bands history.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737875)

Maybe that's why one shouldn't infringe? I dunno, I'm just throwing that out there.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

inamorty (1227366) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738077)

Yup. Shit one being a completist Zappa fan.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

gonz (13914) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738131)

Seems to me to be a perfect balance between high enough to deter people and low enough not to bankrupt people over an activity in which no one could be injured, no property can be destroyed, no one is harassed and economic damage is negligible.

What if he had downloaded 10,000 songs?

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739087)

What if someone gets 10,000 speeding tickets? Should they get a bulk discount?

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

ewibble (1655195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739979)

They do in New Zealand as long as you don't pay them, and have no assets then yes.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3648818/More-fines-converted-into-community-work [stuff.co.nz]

The largest number of fines remitted by an individual in the past five years was 400 – totalling $40,000, remitted for 350 hours' community work in 2007.

that is $114 an hour after tax ($170 per hour before tax at 33%), not many people get paid that much.

had me until the punitive cost (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738745)

I would agree with your thoughts up until the punitive costs.
$261.57 is plenty a deterrent for sharing 3 (!!) songs.

One could see how sharing a thousand songs would still end up costing a few thousand in fees without the last punitive part. And that seems harsh enough.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738959)

Not only are the costs reasonable, but it makes me wonder how many other lawsuits will find their way to the courts now. Not sure how the courts work in New Zealand, but if they work on any type of precidence system, then this lawsuit set precidence that it is not going to be economically viable for the music and video industries to sue. Shoot, probably won't even cover a single lawyer's cost for a day.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742303)

> Seems to me to be a perfect balance between high enough to deter people and low enough not to bankrupt people

Seems to me to be a perfect balance between the punishment and the price/inconvenience of using an offshore VPN ... but that was probably just coincidence because of the small number of infringements which were claimed.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2)

Slippery_Hank (2035136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736999)

This fine is only low compared to the ridiculous claims being made by the record companies. The actual cost of the music was less than 6$, so this works out to paying a penalty of roughly 100 times the value of the material he 'stole'.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737035)

That's the idea behind a deterrent. If the fine is so low that people are willing to pay it and go on their merry way if they get caught, there's no point in it. The deterrent needs to be high enough to make people think twice before doing it and $120 per infringement, plus covering reasonable overhead costs is right about what it should be, otherwise why bother having copyright law at all?

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (3, Insightful)

Slippery_Hank (2035136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737269)

I'm aware of the rational behind laws and fines. My point is not that the fine should be lower, but that because of penalties record companies seek (millions) that we already consider a 100x fine to be low.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737515)

It also needs to function as a deterrent. If it is not effective at actually deterring people, it needs to be abolished.

In 18th century England, shoplifting was punishable by death. But there were always lots and lots of thieves, because it wasn't an effective deterrent.

I doubt that this thing in NZ will accomplish a whole lot other than to make people angry about copyright law, which is perhaps the opposite of what the proponents of the measure want. Personally, I think we're looking at a Tarkin's Grip situation forming.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748511)

Here's what I want to do:

I'm a bass player, and I live in New Zealand. I want to form a band, record an album, and put it up in a torrent, and wait to be called up under this law. Each letter from them will be responded to, with a note that I am the legal copyright owner of the song and I will continue to serve it.

I wonder if I can bill them for wasting my time, if I'm pulled up in front of the copyright tribunal. Perhaps I could sue them for some form of harassment. I wish I still knew that lawyer...

What I suspect is that they have all the rights, and I have all the responsibilities.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737863)

That's the idea behind a deterrent. If the fine is so low that people are willing to pay it and go on their merry way if they get caught, there's no point in it. The deterrent needs to be high enough to make people think twice before doing it and $120 per infringement, plus covering reasonable overhead costs is right about what it should be, otherwise why bother having copyright law at all?

I think the argument is what you define as "per infringement".

It is just as easy to share a whole library as it is to share a single song. Does that mean each sharing of a song is a single act of infringement? If so, someone's kid could still create a life-destroying event quite quickly. (5,000 songs x $120, plus other fees.)

However, if that is a single act of infringement, it's $120 plus other fees, which would still be double the cost of all the songs according to this panel.

One is a stiff fee and one is life-destroying amount for most people. Both results can come from a kid messing around on my computer for 10 minutes.

Maybe if you don't think $120 is enough of a deterrent, you could raise it to $500 or something, but I have a hard time believing each shared song should be considered a separate act. They certainly don't need a separate physical action to do, and if I steal a CD from the store it's a single act of shoplifting and not a separate act for each song on the CD. Even if I steal 2 boxed sets and 6 video games it's still one act, just one of higher value.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738073)

I see two ways to approach this.

1) By copyright. If each song is copyrighted individually, then each song counts as 1 infringement. If the album is copyrighted as a whole, then one infringement per album regardless of whether it's one song or the entire album.

2) How it's sold. If the song is normally sold individually, then each song is one infringement. If the song is normally only available as part of an album, then any and all songs from that album should be grouped together. If the song is available as both a single and an album, it gets a little trickier. I would say that if there's a significant portion of the album (say, 50% or more of the tracks), then treat it as one album infringement. If it's just a couple of songs from the same album that are available as singles, treat them as separate infringements.

Of course, there's plenty of gray areas and terms open to interpretation, but I'm offering up an idea not a completed law.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742755)

Those kinds of ideas don't fundamentally change anything. It's good that many people realize copyright has gotten out of hand, and make proposals like yours. But few take it to the logical conclusion, which is that copyright itself is a flawed idea, and needs radical change. I am disturbed by the number of comments here suggesting that the accused is indeed guilty and deserving of some kind of punishment, and that the fine wasn't very high, and is therefore acceptable.

Not so! Yes, technically, he violated the law. But, he didn't do anything wrong. The law should be changed, and he should not be punished. We have created this fantastic network for distributing all kinds of information all over the world, and we're half convinced that using it in certain ways is immoral, and unfair to artists. Copying is easy, and sharing is good. That's reality, and no amount of legislation can change that.

Sharing made humanity! It's a core part of what we are. No tribe could function without cooperation. There's been a divide between West and East that goes back to the differences between Greeks and Achaemenid Persians 2500 years ago, and even further. The Persians succeeded initially because they were more tolerant about religious freedom. Many factors contributed to the fall of the Persian Empire, but one that may have been paramount was their governing philosophy. In the tradition of so many Eastern cultures such as the Assyrians before them, they were authoritarian and controlling even about ideas, and it made them weak. They had no great scientists or philosophers, no one to match the likes of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, and so many others. Their soldiers were not spirited fighters, their people did not much love their nation. Alexander the Great could never have succeeded otherwise. In more recent times, the same problem afflicted the nominally communist but actually authoritarian Soviet Union and their adherents. The people of the Soviet Union knew they were getting a bum rap. Today, these fascist scum in the music industry want to convince us sharing is not a natural right and we should all get permission before doing any. They regularly trot out the contention that artists will not be able to make a living without copyright, but that's a self serving lie. For the sake of these precious "rights", they would have us turn our society into East Germany, with constant surveillance of all Internet activity to detect unauthorized sharing whenever it occurs, and harsh punishment that not coincidentally enriches the "victims". We can compensate artists for their efforts, and at the same time encourage free file sharing of anything and everything. It's not a question of "allowing" copying-- copying can't be stopped, and those who think otherwise are kidding themselves. The question is how best to encourage progress, so that we may bring our best efforts to bear on the challenges we face. And it is becoming increasingly obvious that the answer is NOT intellectual property rights.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738271)

Sounds a lot like your average parking fine. Quite reasonable considering that violation is in the same ballpark.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

ewibble (1655195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740309)

It would be hard to imagine $120000 for parking fine, but not for your child sharing a 1000 songs. Imaginary property does no scale in the same fashion as real property.

What really concerns me is what the level of proof required to impose such a penalty is. They denied the 1 offense.

Torrent Freak has a slightly different perspective: a lack of evidence and pushback from the tribunal resulted in much smaller fines than the RIANZ wanted.

lack of evidence should result in no fine. Although that is torrent freak so they may have been sufficient evidence, of the last act, but why would you say you did 2 and not the third?

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738409)

Deterrent fines for listening to Rihanna? I.. think I could be ok with that.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742825)

You say incredibly low overall fine, I say an incredibly sane fine.

If I were to be fined, say, $1.5M for sharing a couple of albums on bittorrent, then that would do little to stop me doing it again. Sure, it would ruin my life, but after I declared bankruptcy, I'd probably be out doing it again, just to stick it to the man.

If I were on the other hand to be fined over $600 for sharing a couple of tracks, that's not something that's big enough to waste tens of thousands or more of lawyer time on appeals, nor is it enough to declare bankruptcy over, so I'd be left with no choice but to suck it up and pay. It would probably curb my enthusiasm for file sharing at the same time, as $600 is a lot for a few tracks, but makes sense as a punishment.

If the RIAA were to take a similar tactic, they'd get a LOT more settlements as it's just not worth trying to fight something of this magnitude, a couple of hours with a lawyer working out a defence soon costs more than the actual fine, so in the end, it's cheaper and easier to pay it and move on.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746237)

Actually, you can't appeal tribunal decisions. It's final. You also can be represented by at best a solicitor, and that's only if a hearing is called (usually, our copyright tribunal decides based on paper submissions, no real-time argument. To top it off, the law instructs the tribunal to consider an accusation of infringement as evidence that infringement occurred. The burden is on you to prove that it didn't (and how do you prove a negative again?)

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749305)

Assuming he ripped off more than 37 albums, at iTunes price approx $17 per album, he would come out ahead.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (0)

ortholattice (175065) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737079)

in a downloading case the cost of the infringed products must be considered. Man Down is available of iTunes for $2.39 (US$2.00) and Tonight Tonight at $1.79 (US$1.50). ...

I wish people wouldn't confuse "cost" with "price". The cost of a product is how much money it takes to manufacture one unit. The price of a product is how much it is sold for. Gross profit = price - cost.

Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737173)

It depends on your perspective. From the seller's perspective, it's what you described. From the consumer's perspective, cost is the same as the price. It's pretty clear from the context they're referring to the cost to the consumer, which is the same as the price. You can argue that within a specific field, words have a very specific meaning, but the article is neither written by, nor targeted at, such a specific field.

Lack of evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42739609)

If lack of evidence was a concern, isn't even that much unreasonable?

Re:Lack of evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42742301)

According to the second linked article, once accused there is a presumption that you are guilty. Since she wasn't able to prove she didn't do it, she was fined as if she had.

Neat system, if you're a corporate executive who's annoyed at how due process keeps getting in the way of your vendettas; coming soon to a country near you!

But we pay for copyright for all sound carriers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736995)

So this is really bothering me. You can't buy a Cd, DVD, HDD without paying "copyright tax", at least not here in EU I think.
Doesn't that mean that whatever we get on the carrier is licensed, hence legal... no matter HOW one obtained the material??

Re:But we pay for copyright for all sound carriers (2)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738795)

Depends on your countries laws. In Canada that's exactly how it works, hence downloading in Canada is legal. Uploading however is not. (You're allowed to get your content anywhere, legally, due to the blank media levy, however you still aren't allowed to give it to others)

Of course we've now completely gutted that by adding a "digital locks" provision, but that really just makes things even weirder. For example, I can no longer make a backup of my own legally aquired works as I'd have to break a digital lock to do it. But I can legally download stuff from the internet that I never paid for because it's the other person that breaks the digital lock, not me. (again, I can download, I can't legally upload. P2P is a grey area because it's both, however I believe the only court cases on that one in Canada decided that P2P was "downloading" not "uploading")

And thus, another nail to the coffin... (1)

wertigon (1204486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737011)

The MAFIAAs coffin, that is.

They simply do not understand that they with this are chipping away at the very foundation that supports their business; their customers. They might stay afloat for a while but sooner or later something is bound to crack in a big way. I feel sad for every person this happen to, but it's unavoidable.

Re:And thus, another nail to the coffin... (1)

ruir (2709173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737061)

Agreed. Because it is a wonderful marketing move to antagonise your customer base, and those who only can afford it are politicians, or people with enough deep pockets...

Absurd (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737101)

I was convicted the other year of property damage. You know, actually breaking shit. Total fine, including replacement for the property fucked up and court costs? Roughly the same as this lady has to pay for downloading three songs. That's really fucked up. I went out and deliberately and maliciously broke shit. I was caught and convicted. This lady (allegedly) downloaded three songs (one of them twice...).

So she could have gone and thrown a rock through the RIANZ front window and got off with less*. That says something about the fucked upness of this whole situation. Hell, she probably could have gone and punched the head of the RIANZ in the fucking face and got off with a smaller fine (though probably some community work as well).

* assumes the front window isn't a huge plate.

Re:Absurd (3, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737195)

"Hell, she probably could have gone and punched the head of the RIANZ in the fucking face and got off with a smaller fine (though probably some community work as well)."

Wait, so she'd get community work for doing community work?

Re:Absurd (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737397)

Wait, so she'd get community work for doing community work?

Sum total she should get back some community work done in excess.
Don't know exactly how that would work, I guess she'd be allowed some misdemeanors or get a few downloads.

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738011)

Or... y'know... maybe... and I know this is going to sound just totally crazy here, a person could just not do illegal stuff in the first place?

Okay, this person didn't know what they were doing was illegal. But, ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it. It might be an excuse for a lesser judgement, however... but she certainly knows now, and, if ever caught again, the fine will probably be much worse.

Because note.... this is a *FINE*... not a settlement. When being fined for criminal activity, the prosecuting party is only entitled to the monies they are out (in this case, $261.57, almost all of which were fees associated with bringing the matter to court in the first place, and probably would not change with the number of infringements).

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738597)

You know, what I was pointing out was that an activity that harmed no one, and resulted in no damage to any real property, ended up having about the same end fine as an activity that did result in property damage. Suggesting, perhaps, that the fine is a little excessive.

The media companies got $6.57 in compensation for their loses... (Similarly, when I broke that shit, I paid around $150 to replace the damaged shit.) The rest was court (or in this case tribunal and other) costs, a fine (in this case $120*3).

And you know what? It's absurd that the fine is so large. It's absurd that the tribunal costs are so large for the amount of "damage" done. In my case, for breaking actual stuff, the fine was around twice that of the compensation. So, around $300. So, maybe the fine should have been around $14 instead?

Moreover, I can't see that there was any actual evidence that the individual concerned downloaded the third track. She admits to downloading one song once. Says that she may have downloaded the same song again accidentally (or that the first time it had only half downloaded, and when she started her torrent program again it finished downloading it), and that she didn't download the third track. I doubt very much there was any evidence shown that said that she (rather than another person) downloaded that third song. So why is she getting fined for a crime that there is no evidence she committed?

PS it's easy to say don't do illegal stuff. But I bet you do illegal stuff all the time. Do you jaywalk? Speed? Swear in public?

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740053)

To answer your three final questions: I don't make a habit of it. Never intentionally. And no. So to sum up, no.... I don't do illegal stuff all the time.

As for why she's getting fined for a crime there's no evidence she committed, she *admitted* to it....there's only one track that was even in dispute and that would have made only a difference of $2.19 in the judgement.

Personally, I don't think the fines are excessive at all... they are sufficient to leave a lasting impression that she will remember it is against the law in the future. That might mean that if she does so again, it will be in full knowledge of this, and she may try harder to cover her tracks, but if caught, the fines could justifiably be much higher.

Speeding harms nobody when there aren't any pedestrians or other cars around. Doesn't mean you don't deserve a ticket for it if you are doing it deliberately, and happen to get caught on radar camera.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741471)

You're a fucking moron.
A) I'm sure you do other illegal stuff. There are so many laws that you probably don't even realize you are breaking them.
B) She admits to one "crime". My comment about evidence was in relation to the third track, the one you admit is in dispute. So, you know, convicted of a crime where there is probably no evidence (downloading the third track).
C) The fines are fucking hugely excessive. If she did a shit on the desk of the head judge she would be slapped with a smaller fine. And that's actually a crime where there is provable damage.
D) Please kill yourself. Or at least remove your reproductive organs (preferably with a rusty knife that's just been used to slaughter a mad cow). I would hate if you were breeding.

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741775)

A) Possibly... Not something I make a practice of, however. Which was my only point. If I'm caught doing something illegal that I didn't know about, I don't expect to not have to pay the consequences, however.

B) the disputed incident would not have substantially altered the penalty, as I said above.

C) That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I don't share it, however.

D) You first.

Re:Absurd (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742701)

As for why she's getting fined for a crime there's no evidence she committed, she *admitted* to it....there's only one track that was even in dispute and that would have made only a difference of $2.19 in the judgement.

There were THREE separate and unique infringements she was accused of committing. She admitted the first. She abstained from answering about the second. She denied the third.

Just because you admit to one crime, it doesn't make you guilty of other independent crimes. It also doesn't matter how small of a difference it would make in an overall judgement, it is still a judgement of guilt for which there exists no evidence.

If you are ok with that, then you need to send me $1.50 as a fine. I find you guilty. That's even less than the amount you said didn't matter and therefore was ok, so therefore you owe me the money. Do you see how silly that logic is?

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42743237)

Considering the nature of the crime, being guilty of one incident gives sufficient cause to consider the person guilty of the other two without proof to the contrary. It's like being caught lying.... once you are caught doing it once, it makes other things you've said which are related very unbelievable.

Like I said... don't deliberately do illegal shit in the first place and this wouldn't be an issue. If she had pleaded not guilty to all three, I'd have been a whole lot more supportive of her position.

Re:Absurd (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42753231)

Like I said... don't deliberately do illegal shit in the first place and this wouldn't be an issue. If she had pleaded not guilty to all three, I'd have been a whole lot more supportive of her position.

So what you are saying is that if she were more dishonest, you would be more supportive of her?

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42753645)

If she had pleaded not guilty to all three charges, I would not have had any reason to suspect that she was being dishonest in the first place.

Re:Absurd (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741845)

The media companies got $6.57 in compensation for their loses... (Similarly, when I broke that shit, I paid around $150 to replace the damaged shit.) The rest was court (or in this case tribunal and other) costs, a fine (in this case $120*3).

Speeding tickets include a lot of administrative costs and shit on top of the fine for actually committing the offense, too. So what? I think most /.ers are just happy the fine wasn't in the tens of thousands of dollars. It's a reasonable punishment for what is, as several folks have pointed out, a crime.

Re:Absurd (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742753)

By speeding you can actually kill people. Any deterrence fine applied to this practice should be much larger than the deterrence for illegal downloads. That is not the case, so it is reasonable to infer that something is wrong here.

Re:Absurd (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746283)

Well, considering being caught speeding three times in NZ would result in anywhere from $90 to $1890 (depending on how fast you go over the limit - it's a sliding scale from $30 for less than 10km/h over the limit to $630 for 50km/h over the limit) and if all three times were 20km/h or more over the limit would result in a 12 month license suspension, the fines are more severe for speeding.

Re:Absurd (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746353)

Even going 10% above the speed limit is a much more dangerous behavior than downloading copyrighted files, and apparently the fines are much cheaper. Buy the data provided by you the break even point is when one is exceeding the limit by 50 km/h which is extremely dangerous most of the time. Additionally if the person is caught again downloading illegal files I bet the fines won't be the same.

Re:Absurd (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738623)

Or... y'know... maybe... and I know this is going to sound just totally crazy here, a person could just not do illegal stuff in the first place?

Sure. As soon as the laws are reasonable, proportional, and a reflection of the will of the people and not merely what they've been coerced into accepting by a system that values money and power more than fairness, logic, and actual societal benefit, then I'll stop doing illegal stuff.

As long as the law exists to protect the powerful, and not everyone equally, it's all of our duty to break the law.

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740099)

Not all copyright holders are "powerful", you know. And infringing on any copyright weakens the value of copyright for *ALL* copyright holders, not just the entity whose work was infringed.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42742565)

Yep. Collateral damage sucks. Maybe the less powerful copyright holders shouldn't be participating in such a broken system.

I can see, of course, how someone who believes that simply parroting "don't do illegal stuff then" is a clever or thoughtful response to this case might be unsatisfied with that answer.

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42743333)

The alternative to copyright is censorship.

Broken or not, the former is infinitely preferable... and at least while we have it, there is still hope to make it better. Weakening it to the point that it no longer has any value to creators is not a way to accomplish that.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748569)

The alternative to copyright is censorship.

Is it? Why is it so? Why are there no other alternatives?

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42753583)

It is the inevitable logical conclusion, unless you can purge the characteristic of greed from human nature. Trying to implement a system as if greed did not exist will not work.

Re:Absurd (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750163)

Copyright itself is censorship. The alternative to copyright is to sell commodities that are scarce, like time, not those in infinite supply, like copies of works.

Re:Absurd (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42753601)

No... copyright is not censorship... it is the very opposite, since the works that are copyrighted are being actually published. That you aren't permitted to freely copy them doesn't change that. The alternative is for the creator to not publish at all (which is what no small number of people did before copyright, when they feared their works would simply be blatantly copied).

Re:Absurd (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42754667)

that are copyrighted are being actually published

All works are copyrighted by default.

That you aren't permitted to freely copy them doesn't change that

Yes, it does. There's nothing that requires free speech to be unique.

The alternative is for the creator to not publish at all (which is what no small number of people did before copyright, when they feared their works would simply be blatantly copied).

No, the alternative is for the creator to charge for his time which is scarce instead of copies which are not scarce. Basic laws of economics dictate that a good in infinite supply has zero marginal cost. Not only is copyright a violation of our free speech and property rights, it flies in the face of basic economic reasoning.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738873)

AC isn't advocating doing illegal things, but rather pointing out the gross disparity between punishment of these two illegal acts.

Re:Absurd (1)

grumpy_old_grandpa (2634187) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739583)

> this person didn't know what they were doing was illegal.

I didn't get that bit. Surly, she knew after the first strike? She was informed at the first occurrence, right? Or is there just some internal counter in somebody's system, which only sends out a letter once it hits 3?

Re:Absurd (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742687)

The point is not that people shouldn't do illegal stuff. the point is how much we will punish people for doing specific illegal stuff.

Even if you are ok with death penalty for every single crime, no matter how small it may be, I am certainly not.

the argument... (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738801)

I guess the argument is that the file sharing is more financially damaging to the RIANZ customers than if you had literally smashed their window or broken shit in their office. May seem counterintuitive at first but makes sense.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741091)

* assumes the front window isn't a huge plate.

It certainly won't be - these zombies do not like the light - of truth.

statutory presumption!! (2)

SkunkPussy (85271) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737171)

"but since there is a “statutory presumption” that each incidence of file-sharing alleged in an infringement notice constitutes an actual infringement of copyright,"

This is fucking scary that there is a statutory presumption at play here. I wonder what is required to submit an infringement notice, because it seems like a simple way to convert flimsy evidence into a crime.

Re:statutory presumption!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741147)

"This is fucking scary that there is a statutory presumption at play here. I wonder what is required to submit an infringement notice, because it seems like a simple way to convert flimsy evidence into a crime"

Ssssh! Do't let the RIANZ know about this. If they did know, they might be inclined to abuse the legal process. It might turn out to be more profitable to sue people than to actually create new stuff.

Re:statutory presumption!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741327)

AFAIK you can only issue infringement notices if you are some kind of "registered content producer" which costs large amounts of money.

So there is zero chance of us poor humans using this against the corporations when they steal our work (as they constantly do).

Re:statutory presumption!! (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746301)

This is not true. Any copyright owner (or agent of one) has the right to send a notice, but it'll cost you $25 a pop to do so, plus $200 to bring them to the tribunal if they get hit three times.

The rights owner is also not allowed to know who the customer is unless a court orders it (not the tribunal, an actual court).

FrisT Psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737311)

share. *BSD is Bunch of re>tarded

NZ Tribunal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737539)

Just me who thinks it is about the NaZi Tribunal in Haag...

Readadability (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737567)

original: NZ Copyright Tribunal Fines First File-Sharer
readable: NZ Copyright-Tribunal Fines First File-Sharer
still readable: NZ Copyright-Tribunal Fines First File Sharer

Copyright could be a noun, adjective, or verb. Fines could be a noun or verb. My first impression was that New Zealand was copyrighting something. I'm not sure why headlines have to have each word capitalized--I'm not even going to read the summary.

Re:Readadability (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740427)

Part of the problem is that /. insists on title-case in headlines, which makes them more confusing more often than not. Most newspapers these days go with sentence case, only uppercasing words that are proper nouns or the first word in the headline. "NZ Copyright Tribunal fines first file sharer" would make it more clear that we're talking about a specific governing body because the capital letters would mean something.

"Copyright tribunal"? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737683)

Kill it with fire!

Re:"Copyright tribunal"? (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738173)

At least they had the guts to call it a "tribunal" which has the subconscious association of medieval witch-hunts, heretics being put on trial by The Church, etc.

Hopefully at one point they will catch the wrong guy that will rally the people against this... the Content Industry persecuting regular folks doing nothing more than "we" did with cassette tapes on the school yard.

I know there's a Pirate Party of NZ [pirateparty.org.nz] but that shouldn't stop anyone from contacting the "we already know who wins because they always win" local seat-holder about these issues.

Re:"Copyright tribunal"? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740171)

Hopefully at one point they will catch the wrong guy that will rally the people against this...

At which point, hopefully, this abomination of human institutions called "copyright tribunal" will be... (*puts on glasses*) killed with fire.

Are you a Kiwi btw? I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in your country several years back. In & around Auckland. I'd go more often, if the trip didn't cost so much in terms of money and time.

Re:"Copyright tribunal"? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42746319)

His nickname would tend to indicate he's Canadian.

For what it's worth though, the Copyright Tribunal actually exists for a completely different statutory purpose (defining mechanical royalty rates, granting authorisation to copy without rights holder consent, etc) and was "re-purposed" for this task.

And we call everything that isn't a Court a Tribunal. We have a Disputes Tribunal as well.

Prometheus (5, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737817)

The first fire-sharer was Prometheus. His punishment was getting his liver pecked at by an eagle every morning. NZD616 doesn't sound so bad in comparison.

In fact, the Prometheus myth is uncannily applicable to the current IP situation:
(a) He didn't actually steal fire, but rather replicated it (causing no loss to its owners on Mt. Olympus).
(b) He benefited mankind by sharing it.
(c) He got a totally incommensurate punishment from the jealous "guardians" of this easily replicable thing.

Re:Prometheus (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738327)

That was a very insightful observation. I wish I had mod points today.

$616.57 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737859)

In America, that would have come to $616,570.00 and a few years in prison. I hate my country.

Conclusion: (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738235)

Do not download shitty pop music if you want to stay out of trouble.

Reasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738885)

I'm seeing lots of people say "Under $1000? Totally reasonable!"

Only $0 is reasonable. The only price he deprived the "victims" of was set by a monopoly - they might as well sell the tracks for $1000000 each and offer lots of "coupons".

She was fined an extra $360 for using uTorrent (3, Informative)

eye_blinked (2775553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741153)

The defendant acknowledged downloading the first song but without knowing it was from an unlicensed source. She says the download of the first song caused a a bit torrent client to be installed automatically. She was unaware of the download of the second song. She was given a notice for downloading the first song twice. She is not sure how that occurred since she believed she had downloaded it only once. Then the third strike was a completely different song. The $360 is a made up on the spot "deterrent" on very shaky ground. One of the aggravating factors the tribunal claims in setting this deterrent is: "The fact that the account holder had BitTorrent protocol (uTorrent version 2.2.0) software installed on her computer. It notes that the locating, downloading, installing and configuring of such software is a deliberate act and does not occur without direct action on behalf of a computer user" http://www.nbr.co.nz/sites/default/files/images/2013%20NZCOP%201%20-%20RAINZ%20v%20Teleom%20NZ%202592_1.pdf [nbr.co.nz]

Re:She was fined an extra $360 for using uTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748933)

One of the aggravating factors the tribunal claims in setting this deterrent is:

"The fact that the account holder had BitTorrent protocol (uTorrent version 2.2.0) software installed on her computer. It notes that the locating, downloading, installing and configuring of such software is a deliberate act and does not occur without direct action on behalf of a computer user"

This is one of the things that the RIANZ claims is an aggravating factor; the tribunal doesn't express any agreement with this particular claim.

The *first* file sharer? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42745101)

How did they even track him/her down in order to fine them?
I guess it was via paper tape or something...

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