And Of Course: RIAA Mouthpieces Defend $1.92 Million Judgment

from the time-to-pull-back-the-attack-dogs dept

It's been interesting to see the aftermath of the Jammie Thomas $1.92 million ruling, as it appears that even the RIAA is recognizing that such an insanely large award gives them something of a black-eye and has the possibility of creating a bit of a backlash. However, apparently they forgot to send out that message to all of their usual attack dogs. In an AP article discussing the ruling and the $1.92 million number with a variety of different people, the RIAA tried to distance itself from the number, specifically stating, "That was not our number, that was what 12 regular folks rendered." Uh, yeah, except that the RIAA has long used the statutory numbers in their arguments about the "risks" of file sharing.

Tom Sydnor, from the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF), a loud and proud supporter of stronger copyright at every turn (and who is well funded by the RIAA labels), apparently missed the memo on playing down the number. He told the reporter that it was a perfectly reasonable number.
"Legally acquiring a license to give copies of a song to potentially millions of Kazaa users might well have cost $80,000 per song,"
Except... that's not even close to accurate. The record labels presented no proof that she gave the song to millions of users, and seem to totally ignore the fact that these songs were available from tons of other sources (either legally or illegally) for prices between nothing and $1. To claim that the record labels would literally consider an option to license a single user putting a song into a shared folder at $80,000 is simply ridiculous.

But, of course, it shows the mentality of those paid for by the RIAA. These are the same people who accuse Larry Lessig of being a communist by taking a few statements totally out of context, and then accuse universities of supporting terrorism by not violating students' privacy and handing over their details to the RIAA.

So, if the RIAA is really serious about playing down the size of the jury award, it might want to rein in Sydnor before he says much more. If you're looking for someone to get out a message by appearing as a caricature of the evil record labels, I don't think you could find any organization better than PFF. But, that's probably not what the RIAA needs right now, unless it really wants to give the folks on the fence even more reason to leap over to the side who recognizes just how much the labels have twisted, stretched and abused copyright law over the years, totally at odds with its constitutional prescription of promoting the progress of science. Defending a $1.92 million award to the record labels for 24 songs in a shared folder, with no evidence that a single one was actually shared, is not promoting the progress. It's promoting massive greed and regulatory capture at the expense of society.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 7:48pm

    "RIAA Mouthpieces Defend $1.92 Million Judgment"

    "Tom Sydnor, from the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF), a loud and proud supporter of stronger copyright at every turn (and who is well funded by the RIAA labels)"

    I know you are desperate to pee all over the RIAA at every turn, but why don't you just say "Tom Syndor from PFF Defends Judgement"

    It is one of your more annoying traits, assuming that every "baddy" group is in cahoots, with hot lines between them so they can each take their turn kicking at things. Like these is some sort of central control system where some record label leader with pinkie rings looks up and pushes and button and says "tell number 7 he must speak".

    Yet the other side is all lightness and happy thoughts.

    Transparent.

     

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    Alan Shore, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 8:13pm

    Good.

    Then do us a favor and formally (and, yes, I suppose the proper forum for this is in the press these days) that you're going to withdraw you're seemingly warm hearted willingness to settle and let's just let the ruling stand.

    Thousands support a Supreme Court Appeal. Question is, where do we send the money?

     

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    Steven, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 8:19pm

    What is it with you writers? Don't you get the fact that she was illegally sharing music? Don't you get the fact that she stopped buying music when she started pirating music? She deserves jail time alongside everyone else who does this sort of thing.

    The RIAA wasn't asking for 1.9 million. They were asking for a few thousand as a deterrent to prevent the behavior. She refused, went to court to fight it and lied - got caught, and now she's on the hook for an amount that she'll never live down. This is called just desserts.

    You people just want your music for free, and kick and scream whenever parties whose property you steal try to get retribution. Bravo for RIAA. They're the heroes to every artist who are or are not with them.

     

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  4.  
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    Jeff, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 8:43pm

    Well, it's time to unite...

    and make the RIAA go out of business. Let's all go download our music for free. We have our sources. :D

     

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  5.  
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    UBW, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 8:46pm

    Re:

    And I personally believe that as a deterrent to speeding, one should be charged $50,000 for each mile per hour over the speed limit they are determined to be going. Anyone who doesn't support this obviously supports breaking the law instead.

     

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  6.  
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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Well, it's time to unite...

    Seriously, don't give them the fuel. That's just stupid. GET MUSIC FROM ARTISTS WHO AREN'T PART OF THE RIAA.

    Seriously, I don't like the RIAA or their tactics. Never liked the whole idea. However, what you're doing is just giving them the ability to troll more effectively. You want to make a REAL difference? Don't buy major label music. Contact radio advertisers (notice I didn't say the radio stations...there is a reason for that) and tell them that you're boycotting their products because they advertise with a radio station that supports music from artists who are on labels with the RIAA. Start a grassroots campaign. Start a blog dealing with the issues and advertise it everywhere that's applicable. Offer ideas for different business models.

    Downloading a few songs isn't sticking it to the man. It's just being a lazy jackass.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:02pm

    Re:

    I always get my just desserts after my just dinners.

     

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  8.  
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    RD, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:13pm

    Dear Lapdog Shill

    Dear Corporate Lapdog Shill,

    Please remove your nose from the posterior of your corporate masters, you are being way too obvious about it. It's really quite embarrassing, how you stand up for the your big corporate masters at the expense of one single mother. You and your ilk are doing FAR more damage to the music industry than this woman ever did. 24 songs shared (in her SHARE! not even confirmed that any were distributed, just OFFERED in a share!) and your "get her at all costs!!" mentality and excessive judgment that you so whole-heartedly support shows your naked greed and lack of any common decency toward justice, fairness, or your fellow (wo)man. You are a disgrace to humanity.

     

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  9.  
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    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Dear Lapdog Shill

    That isn't a Lapdog Shill. It's a troll. No matter what position Mike took, they would take the opposite. I should know, I used to be pretty good at trolling myself.

    People troll for different reasons. Some do it for fun, some do it to build up a straw man for people to attack, and some do it because they really are overboard on whatever the current issue is. Feeding the troll just makes it bigger.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Dear Lapdog Shill

    RD does the same thing all the time, his nose is so far up Mike's butt he almost disappears.

    There is no "get her at all costs". In fact, I think the RIAA offered her to settle MANY MANY times and she refused. She earned it.

    Is everyone with an opinion that doesn't match your a corporate lap dog? Get off it.

     

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  11.  
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    RD, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

    No, just you...

    No, just the ones who are so obviously in the pocket of the RIAA.

    So you admit that agreeing with one person's views on a topic means that you are up their butt and have no opinion of your own, right? Which means if I am, so are you, Q.E.D. Cant have it both ways there sparky.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:34pm

    Re:

    There isn't much to appeal. The judgement is sound, the jury is of her peers. The judgement amount is within the boundries set forth by congress. Her first amendment rights were not limited.

    What would you be appealing on? Excessive amounts? It's in the law. Either the law is faulty in construction (never shown to be) or it is a good law, narrowly constructed, etc, which leaves you little to write an appeal on.

    "Thousands support a Supreme Court Appeal" - I think that translates more to "Thousands of pirates are scared they are next"

     

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    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:44pm

    In the linked article Mr. Syndor is quoted as saying:

    "Legally acquiring a license to give copies of a song to potentially millions of Kazaa users might well have cost $80,000 per song," said Tom Sydnor, director of the foundation's Center for the Study of Digital Property. "Moreover, if the jury concluded that the defendant falsified her testimony, it could fairly seek to punish and deter such flagrant wrongdoing."

    In the linked article the author states:

    "However, the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank, defended the verdict and said $1.92 million was reasonable."

    Try as I may, I simply cannot read into Mr. Syndor's quoted comments he holds the personal belief that the amount of the judgment was "reasonable". The most that can honestly be said is that he opined on a possible basis for the amount awarded by the jury.

    Let me dispel a common misperception about the lawsuit. The defendant's computer at the time it was reviewed on-line by Media Sentry apparently contained approximately 1700 song files in its shared folder. It is commonplace in order to conserve judicial resources to pare the number of potentially infringing copies down to a more manageable number. For reasons known only to the parties and the court, the number eventually selected totalled 24.

    Also to dispel a common misperception, I am aware of no prayer for relief by the plaintiffs wherein they asked the court for anything other than the award of statutory damages, with the amount of the award, if any, being left to the discretion of the jury in accordance with the statutory dictates.

    On a final note, your arguments concerning this matter lose most of their persuasive force when you shift the focus from the case itself to one comprising what is in essence a personal attack on an individual based upon a statement that does not support the position you attribute to the individual. You challenge and chastize, and rightfully so, those who would put words in your mouth. For this reason it seems to me inappropriate for you to engage in the same type of conduct.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Lapdog Shill

    I have a quick question, what if the RIAA didn't give her a chance to settle? The amount is legally justifiable either way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 9:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Lapdog Shill

    Yes, it is. But obvously, this wouldn't look very good if she was actively trying to settle and the RIAA was desperately trying to get her into court to set an example. This woman chose the path she went down, she has made herself into an example, that is for sure.

    I think that the courts may also have taken a dim view of the process if the woman had actively been trying to settle and the RIAA had been taking none of it. She certainly didn't do much to show herself as a sympathetic defendant, not a repentant one. Those are all things that play against her.

     

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  16.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:03pm

    Re:

    "What is it with you writers? Don't you get the fact that she was illegally sharing music?"

    ....Yeah, they get it, as do most commenting. Hence the public discourse on what can be done about it. Going on the attack isn't the only option available to rights holders, or are you new here?

    "Don't you get the fact that she stopped buying music when she started pirating music?"

    Yeah, best of luck proving that one. Who's to say she decided she was too poor to PAY for music so she would no longer do so? She downloaded because it was free, but if that option weren't available, she still couldn't afford to buy. Get it?

    "She deserves jail time alongside everyone else who does this sort of thing."

    Hey, if you have the cash to support a police state, then you can have that opinion. Otherwise, I don't think you have any idea just how many people you're talking about. The incorporation of your opinion would LITERALLY be the creation of a police state. Or more correctly, an inmate state.

    "She refused, went to court to fight it and lied - got caught, and now she's on the hook for an amount that she'll never live down. This is called just desserts."

    No, this is called a complete failure of the system, for two separate reasons. First, you haven't deterred her from downloading and purchasing instead, because as you said, you've completely destroyed her life. Second, you can't use huge damages as a deterrent to other downloaders because...well, because the Supreme Court fucking said so.

    "You people just want your music for free, and kick and scream whenever parties whose property you steal try to get retribution."

    I'll make you a deal, I'll join in your crusade against people that INFRINGE on intellectual property when the artists pay PROPERTY TAXES. Artists/Industries can't have it both ways. Either it's property or it isn't.

    "Bravo for RIAA. They're the heroes to every artist who are or are not with them."

    ....oh, I see. You're just looking for attention. Idiot.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:03pm

    Soon we shall hear The Curtain, Hensha?

    Again, you're looking at it from supply-side, which is incorrect. If an artist, can create a song AND music video within an a week, how good is the artist?

    Probably Golden.

    But if an artist puts something out on their own, do they deserve the same $250k infringement treatment, which can arguably be 25% of a regular US person's entire life gross value?

    Perhaps, but perhaps not.

    The following is something of a jab at President Obama's address tonight, yet, it seems this country with all its problems needs a daddy, and as such I completely appreciate him for that, as some 75+% of families end in divorce.

    Yeah, a level headed person to chime in and say that the RIAA and Copyright is broken when they believe an infringement of 2 CDs = the normal equivalent of 1.25 people's entire lives.

    Absolutely insane.

    What we need to do is ask the central question my dad would ask "What do we need in place to produce, and be a productive person." and I respect my Dad, and both Grandpas for that.

    If Obama can figure that out, and drive policy so the United States of America can be Productive, he'll win the hearts and minds of many.

    On another note, assume after Obama's 2nd term, the Right will look to monetize the entire legacy of Obama, much like what happened after President Clinton.

    So after Obama's 2nd term, there maybe a "big event" funded by overseas interests. Hell, some asshole was close to smuggling $184B into Japan.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSLI51583420090618

    If those bonds reached their desitnaton, they probably would have funded an attack on the USA, like Cheney wanted.

    So we need to look at what is "What REALLY is keeping us from bringing a product to market?", and copyright may be one of those things, outsourcing (poor ability to work with co-workers) may be another.

    Can we fix it? If we can be productive, we can create stuff people want to buy.

    On a tangent, I've spent more time looking into the pacific gyre lately. Looks like this wasteland in the Pacific is twice the size of Texas. Perhaps when the economy dropped, California couldn't send it's recycled PET plastic packaging to China. This is a very interesting trade route.


    What are we doing? At least UK reports:
    http://www.erecycle.org/fee.htm
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/sep/20/environment.china
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_new s/magazine/7470662.stm

    Today I find myself listening to older music.

    "Return To Sender
    Address Unknown
    No Such Number
    No Such Zone"

    Sounds good, eh?

     

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  18.  
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    Esahc (profile), Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:18pm

    Re: Re:

    "What would you be appealing on? Excessive amounts?"

    Why yes she could:

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/517/559/case.html

    (pdf) http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-1256.pdf

     

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  19.  
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    VictimsOfTheHeartless, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:18pm

    Did the RIAA Just Sentence This Woman To a Life of Slavery?

    The RIAA has gone too far this time. They have taken advantage of a flawed system and in turn have crush the lives of many American citizens.... I'm sick of watching that happen. I hope there are others out there who are just a sick of it as I am. Check out www.victimsoftheheartless.com Lets help this poor woman get her life back and rally the people of the United States to stop the RIAA from enslaving others with their massive settlements and lawsuits!

     

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  20.  
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    Chuck, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Re:

    "I'll make you a deal, I'll join in your crusade against people that INFRINGE on intellectual property when the artists pay PROPERTY TAXES. Artists/Industries can't have it both ways. Either it's property or it isn't."

    Taxes are paid on purchased intellectual property.

     

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  21.  
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    Azrael (profile), Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:48pm

    Re:

    If you don't really know, every "baddy" group is in cahoots, with hot lines between them so they can each take their turn kicking at things. It's called the communion of interests: the labels want money for nothing, their supporting groups want their money and both will do anything to get it.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 10:58pm

    I love the pro RIAA people that get on here and say it's for the artists! No it's for the executives of the record labels and the RIAA to get richer then they already are. They are the ones who get money from this. The artists don't see a dime of it hypocrites.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 11:01pm

    Re:

    Just your way of justifying downloading more music and not paying for it? Does your mom know you are on the internet so late at night?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

    Yo Ho Yo Ho the Pirates Life For Me!!!!!!!

     

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  25.  
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    Chuck, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Did the RIAA Just Sentence This Woman To a Life of Slavery?

    The RIAA has gone too far this time.
    I thought they went too far the last time. Do you mean way too far?
    They have taken advantage of a flawed system and in turn have crush the lives of many American citizens
    Really? Next time I suggest "poor, innocent, unfed American citizens who only download music to keep themselves alive." because, you know, that's true. If you download music illegally, man up when you get caught, don't whine and lie.

     

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  26.  
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    Erelas RyAlcar, Jun 19th, 2009 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Call me crazy, but...

    Call me crazy, but, what bit of legislation gives MediaSentry the right to invade, without a warrant, the defendan't computer, and then sell, for a profit the listed contents of her shared folder to the RIAA?

    Oh wait, that's right, the RIAA dumped MediaSentry after they began to be investigated for operating without proper licensing, or any at all for that matter.

     

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  27.  
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    The Fake Bloodhound Gang, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:04am

    Hefty Fine

    Ever hear "I'm The Least You Could Do"?

    I like the part:


    Street legal whore hauling so much stunning ass
    Sell yourself short like bridget at the bunny ranch
    Do it all fours the satisfaction of getting fouled

    ...

    When my fumbling breaks you should...
    I thank your dad for the damaged goods.

    When my fumbling breaks you should...
    I thank your dad for the damaged goods.

    When my fumbling breaks you should...
    I thank your dad for the damaged goods.

    When my fumbling breaks you should...
    I thank your dad for the damaged goods.


    Aw, nevermind, You'd never understand. Happy Father's Day, You RIAA asshole.

     

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  28.  
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    Steven, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:18am

    "I love the pro RIAA people that get on here and say it's for the artists! No it's for the executives of the record labels and the RIAA to get richer then they already are. They are the ones who get money from this. The artists don't see a dime of it hypocrites."

    The RIAA doesn't get that money - its lawyers do. The RIAA is standing up for a wrong. One of the consequences of it doing so is that the people who aren't covered by the RIAA will benefit by the sole fact that people will be deterred from pirating and will therefore actually buy the work that they want to listen to.

    "Call me crazy, but, what bit of legislation gives MediaSentry the right to invade, without a warrant, the defendan't computer, and then sell, for a profit the listed contents of her shared folder to the RIAA?"

    She already made the contents of her folder public. If her computer hadn't been online, she wouldn't have been sharing content and they wouldn't have been able to see what she was doing - in public.

    I'm perfectly aware that there are execs that have victimized artists. CCR is the best example I can think of. On the other hand, members of The Beatles and The Stones are billionaires despite the cut which the labels take. I doubt it would be Lord McCartney as he's addressed now if they'd come out in this day with piracy rampant. I doubt he'd be a billionaire. And why shouldn't the ultra elites be billionaires? If Bill Gates with his viruses... I mean Windows... can be a billionaire for his products, then why not a musician? Linus Torvalds gave away his OS, why not force Bill et al to do the same? Why protect any game or any software? People can and do do it for free. If the programmers want to make money, they should teach or something like that and writing programs should just be a hobby. Or how about a business? How about I clone a business like, say, McDonalds, put a restaurant next to theirs, sell Big Macs and the like, without authorization from the corporation? It's not like the owners are still flipping burgers - or ever flipped burgers. Yet they're still making money from it, and will long after the owners of the Beatles' copyrights. Their children and their great great grandchildren will benefit for as long as the families own a part of the franchise.

     

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  29.  
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    Headbhang (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:51am

    Re: Re: Well, it's time to unite...

    What if you like an artist who got tangled by the RIAA's tentacles and still want to support them?

    Personally, I'd suggest to download for free, but go to their gigs (or if you can't just buy a ticket online and give it away or something) and purchase their merchandise. (AFAIK) the RIAA doesn't get a cut from that. THAT's sticking it to the man.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's sales tax, not property tax. They want to treat their IP as physical property, then they can pay a property tax on it, just like everyone does for their home and car. You know, real property?

     

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  31.  
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    Luci, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Lapdog Shill

    Why should she have to settle? They cannot, and did not, prove that she actually uploaded anything. All they could prove was that the files were available, and making available is not the same thing as infringing.

    I'll tell you what, right now. I'd be neither sympathetic NOR repentant, either. Because they cannot prove anything at all, and yes, I've gotten letters from both the RIAA and MPAA for files not even on my computer.

    Seriously, the attitudes from the RI/MPAA defenders is grating.

     

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  32.  
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    Bumclouds, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:19am

    Re:

    You're made of dicks.

    That aside, please get your facts straight. This woman did buy music. A lot of it. She never stopped. She just was kind enough to turn around and share that music with others, people who probably would not have bought the records themselves anyway. Artists are loosing little to no money. Personally, if I download a song and enjoy the music enough then I'll download a couple more by that artist and listen to them, and if I like those too, then I'll go ahead and buy one of their albums, if not numerous albums. It's a great way to sample music before you buy.

    GTFO my internets.

     

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  33.  
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    Chuck, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You pay property tax on your car? How about the food in your fridge? Your clothes? Your computer? If you want to pull an argument out of your ass, think it through first.

     

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  34.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:28am

    Reading this, all I can say is:

    I'll never buy a music CD ever again. From whatever source.

    Why? Well, they really don't need to sell cd's anymore, they only have to wait to catch 1% or less of the file-sharers, brand them as "pirates", sue them, and make more money then actualy working.

    The artists? Well, the ones I respect and encourage, are on Jamendo. The rest aren't artists anymore, only businness man/woman. So, no, don't respect them, any of them anymore.

    I do listen to music. I do spend money on music, but, supporting them directly, not distributors that are on it just for the money.

    If a band needs a space, I can share my garage with them, and actualy attend. I'll gladly build them a website for free. But, no, no more money for RIAA or anyone that thinks music as $$$.

    Goodbye RIAA.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 4:05am

    Don't feed the troll. Oops....

    "Don't you get the fact that she stopped buying music when she started pirating music?"

    Right, and how much music will she buy now after that hefty fine?

     

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  36.  
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    ChrisB, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    Re:

    I, too, will never buy a CD again, and will only download all my music. But I'm from Canada and that is perfectly legal because we pay a levy on all blank CDs and MP3 players.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 5:33am

    TAKE THE RIAA DOWN!!!!!!!!!

    The RIAA needs to be taken down! And here is how to do it!:
    http://www.boycott-riaa.com/myactions

     

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  38.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Taxes are paid on purchased intellectual property."

    And real estate, or REAL property, has taxes paid by the buyer, seller, AND holder. If copyright is PROPERTY and you want it treated as such, all three coffers must be filled.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    RIAA Trolling this site

    I haven't even gotten half way trough the replys, and i already spotted about 5 posts which MUST be from an RIAA rep trying to defend their poor and outrageous actions.

    I hope we find out who from the RIAA is trolling Techdirt so we can go find them and show them the anger of the interweb!!!

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    CrushU, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You pay property tax on your car? How about the food in your fridge? Your clothes? Your computer? If you want to pull an argument out of your ass, think it through first."

    Those are consumable goods, their worth drastically drops over time. How much is a head of lettuce worth a month after you've bought it? How much is that copyright worth on that song you made a month after you've made it?

    Compare to intellectual "property", which currently has a Life+50 time period where it is still worth full value.

    Compare to Real Estate Property, which always has a worth and value, which can either increase or decrease.

    Compare a car, which has a worth based on how old it is, true, but the taxes on them are comparatively small.

    Really, all anyone has to do to realize this is bogus... $80,000 can buy a HOUSE. This much for ONE SONG? Justify to me how One Song = House, then you can talk.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Dr. Evil, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re:

    We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for...
    - Holds pinkie to mouth -
    One Million Dollars

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Jeano, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Re:

    Sharing music is wrong.

    The amount is ridiculously high.

    Buy indie music and let those with the RIAA rot.

     

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  43.  
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    Nesson, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    Where have you been - some other planet ?

     

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  44.  
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    amused, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    OK so its $80,000 to put any song into a shared folder for download LEGALLY??? WOOOHOOO!...

    All we need now is someone to charge like 10cents for a MAJOR released song by a well-known singer, give $80,000 to the RIAA and cash-in.....I assume one single broadband connection with a 50mbps upload should be enough to allow literally MILLIONS of transfers of a 3mb MP3.....

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re:

    "Yeah, they get it, as do most commenting. Hence the public discourse on what can be done about it. Going on the attack isn't the only option available to rights holders, or are you new here?"

    Every other choice offered here is "give in to the people who want to steal your stuff". It is a sucky choice. I think that given that as the only choice, many rights holders will stop making new product.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    please - asked and answers. The BMW case is in the liability area that has no preset limits. The copyright laws have well thought out guidelines established by congress, that are clearly written in the law. It is very clear that this judgement is within those guidelines.

    That isn't a basis for appeal. The BMW thing is an armchair lawyers idea that you all have latched onto. It is meaningless in this discussion.

     

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  47.  
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    Taxman, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Chuck, it is you that needs to think first.

    And in most states, you pay tax on your vehicle value thru renewal of the license plates.

     

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  48.  
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    CleverName, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Except that in this case the holders of copyright did not make any thing except a stinky mess upon the floor

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:19am

    Re:

    jacking the thread ?

     

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  50.  
    icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    I have a question for you guys... You have shown all sorts of amazing new business models for artistic creation. Musicians can do concerts and sell special upper-dupper collector's edition CDs, Movies can depend on the same collector's edition stuff and cinema, writers can just depend upon e-books sucking at least for now (and I find it easy to imagine authors connecting with the fans etc...) However, I am curious about what you think about software. I don't mean games which have fans and can such. I mean just simple productivity software like Microsoft Word. Now of course, we have OpenOffice, but that's non-profit and so that's a different story. You're always saying that all you have to do is tie the non-scarce product to a scarce one. Now, in some cases, that is really hard and the guy who created the abundant product can't figure it out. Now, the easy way out is to say that well, then, he doesn't have an inherent right to get paid. That's all well and good, but maybe he would have otherwise created an abundant product of value. I'm just thinking that in some areas, the absence of intellectual property rights of sorts can be a real deterrent to innovation. I feel like this could be solved. I'm sure that there is a profitable business model for whoever writes Microsoft Word. I just want to make sure that they can focus of coding Microsoft Word and have some relative certainty that if it has value to users, they can capture some of that value.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Did the RIAA Just Sentence This Woman To a Life of Slavery?

    That's right. And to those who do not own a computer or are not even alive .... well man-up now because you got caught and should not be whining

     

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  52.  
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    Clevername, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re:

    "She already made the contents of her folder public. If her computer hadn't been online, she wouldn't have been sharing content and they wouldn't have been able to see what she was doing - in public."

    Very Weak - are you a laywer ?
    Do they need a warrant when they seize the computer and browse its entire contents ?

     

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  53.  
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    Scorpiaux, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    That Big Award

    "... if the RIAA is really serious about playing down the size of the jury award ..." - Masnick

    You really don't need to parade your prejudices in such a blatant fashion any longer, Mike. Everyone knows what they are.

    It is more likely that the RIAA was making the point that a neutral party, the jury, came up with the award, not the RIAA. More than likely, the jury's award will have the desired effect on most people who would engage in this illegal activity.

    Suppose, on appeal, the award is reduced. Does anyone really want to give away something that is not theirs with large penalties attached to the punishment for doing so even though the penalty is no longer a million-plus dollars? If anyone wants to give away something that belongs to them, that is their right. Giving away something that is not theirs is illegal.

    If you respond to this at all, try to do so without citing your stupid business model.

     

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  54.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    Try as I may, I simply cannot read into Mr. Syndor's quoted comments he holds the personal belief that the amount of the judgment was "reasonable".

    Really?!? Try harder. He explained why it made sense. Hence, it's "reasonable." If he didn't think it was reasonable, why would he justify the number?

    Let me dispel a common misperception about the lawsuit. The defendant's computer at the time it was reviewed on-line by Media Sentry apparently contained approximately 1700 song files in its shared folder. It is commonplace in order to conserve judicial resources to pare the number of potentially infringing copies down to a more manageable number. For reasons known only to the parties and the court, the number eventually selected totalled 24.

    Let me dispel a common misperception by folks like yourself defending the RIAA here. It doesn't matter how many songs they found in the folder if they have no proof that she actually shared them. Don't you remember? Making available is not infringement? So the fact that there were 1700 files is meaningless... unless the jury ignored the law.

    And that would be a problem.

     

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  55.  
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    DueProcessIsDead, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Re: That Big Award

    So, they are not embarassed at all - heh.

    They must be partying it up in celebration.

     

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  56.  
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    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re:

    Really?!? Try harder. He explained why it made sense. Hence, it's "reasonable." If he didn't think it was reasonable, why would he justify the number?

    Again, you are attributing to the person quoted an opinion, "It is reasonable", that is not contained in the quote. I know I will never change your mind, but it seems to me that you are to some extent viewing the quoted language through an "anti-Syndor" filter, and in the process avoiding the fact that the award was the result deliberations by a jury that sat through the trial and heard all the evidence presented.

    Let me dispel a common misperception by folks like yourself defending the RIAA here. It doesn't matter how many songs they found in the folder if they have no proof that she actually shared them. Don't you remember? Making available is not infringement? So the fact that there were 1700 files is meaningless... unless the jury ignored the law.

    Since I expressed no opinion about the award and never even mentioned the RIAA, there is no basis for stating that I am defending the RIAA.

    As for "sharing/making available", we both know that was not an issue in the re-trial of this case. The issue before the jury was whether or not it believed that the defendant wrongfully made copies of protected content.

     

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  57.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re:

    "Thousands support a Supreme Court Appeal" - I think that translates more to "Thousands of pirates are scared they are next"

    One good lawsuit out of how many failed ones? I bet they are shaking in their boots...

    So - yeah the RIAA got the judgment - you think they'll collect a dime of it?

    A bankruptcy lawyer might end up a $1000 bucks richer and that's probably the extent of what they will collect.

     

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  58.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    You people just want your music for free, and kick and scream whenever parties whose property you steal try to get retribution. Bravo for RIAA. They're the heroes to every artist who are or are not with them

    lol, I guess - but the are enemies of consumer's everywhere. And that's who they should really worry about.

     

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  59.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Re:

    If it's for 'the artists' - then why has the Recording Industry been screwing them for decades?

    As we all well know - most Artists LOVE the contracts they have with the labels...

    LOL

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Outraged....

    This is the kind of thing that makes me think "Lawyers, Guns & Money" is still a good idea!

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Seems pretty typical for a nation that elects a village idiot from Kenya as president.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    herodotus (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    This will in fact stop file sharing. All of you freetards are finished.

    It's just like how the federal government stopped people from using drugs. Since the war on drugs was announced, who gets high anymore? That's right: NO ONE!

    There is no problem in the world that can't be solved by fining people, putting them in jail, or both.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    Mike C. (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Property taxes on cars

    Here in Connecticut, we pay an annual tax on both residence AND vehicles. It may not be a huge amount (usually less than $500 per vehicle), but it is a property tax that we can claim on our Federal tax returns if we itemize.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    DL, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Anonymous Coward's critique of Mike's writing.

    In Mike's defense, I believe all good journalists, technical writers and authors mindful of their audiences introduce an organization by using the full name prior to the abbreviation. Mike isn't doing this because he wants to single them out as a "baddy." He does this because it gives context to us the readers who are not familiar with obscure or less prominent organizations. Would you really want to stop reading the article to search for the abbreviation meaning? Compare Mike's writing style to any magazine columnist addressing a similar subject, and you'll see his writing is top-notch!

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Noid, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    The problem with this judgement is that it appears it was never proven that she actually uploaded anything. And what if she did? Was it the entire song or just a collection of random unplayable bits of data?

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    "just a collection of random unplayable bits of data"

    Think more like "single page from a book". Random data could not easily be reassembled as a song.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Cyryl, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    ...except for they DON'T help the artists. They FUCK THEM.

    You dare to be ignorant enough to say something like that; after watching RENOWNED ARTIST AFTER RENOWNED ARTIST - who IS signed with these record labels - turn to 'free advertisement' by supporting the free distribution of some of their materials?

    Some of these artists have also simply turned to giving their music to people FREE. Hell... I'd go to their concert and not even bitch about paying the $100+ it takes to get in if I like their music. JUST BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T DICKS ABOUT THEIR MUSIC.

    Can you possibly suck the RIAA cock any harder?

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    I simply do not understand the constant reference to whether or not the defendant uploaded files (or parts of files) to others. This was not a part of the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit was about her downloading of songs over P2P. During its investigation of her online activities it was determined that she had at least 1700 files on her computer. The fact they were in her "share folder" was irrelevant since she was charged with having illegal copies, and not that she was distributing illegal copies. Of course, and while it was not a part of the case, one would have to be an ostrich with its head in the sand to believe that file uploading never took place.

    Now the $1.92M dollar question. Why did she get hit with a verdict in that amount? Not having been present in court to see what evidence was introduced against her and on her behalf, it still seems quite clear that the jury believed she had acted in flagrant violation of the law, that her explanations while on the witness stand were not to be believed, and that in its view her actions were such that a large award was merited in this particular instance.

    On a lighter side, is it just me or did anyone else note from her photo in the linked article what I believe to be a strong resemblance to the famous "Octo-Mom"?

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    RD, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    well..no

    "I simply do not understand the constant reference to whether or not the defendant uploaded files (or parts of files) to others. This was not a part of the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit was about her downloading of songs over P2P. During its investigation of her online activities it was determined that she had at least 1700 files on her computer. The fact they were in her "share folder" was irrelevant since she was charged with having illegal copies, and not that she was distributing illegal copies. Of course, and while it was not a part of the case, one would have to be an ostrich with its head in the sand to believe that file uploading never took place."

    Wrong. If this was the case, she would be the first person IN HISTORY to be sued for DOWNLOADING music. This case, and all the other cases, are and have ALWAYS been about PROVIDING (sharing, making available, distributing) music.

    Simple possession of 24 songs (or even 24 cd's) would not have brought nearly 2 million in fines, that would be absurd. Dont kid yourself here, this case was entirely about the sharing/providing of music. Simply having a digital (mp3, etc) copy of a song is not worth pursuing by the labels, and in many cases is not even illegal (if you own the originals, etc).

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    Actually, it is not illegal to have music files on a computer, such as ripping them from a CD, in the case the RIAA even said they would not be illegal.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Cabalamat, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Mad at the RIAA's lies?

    Are you mad at the RIAA's lies and misinformation? Don't get mad, get even, join the Pirate Party today!

     

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  72.  
    icon
    Truths Razor (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    RE:

    The RIAA is operating on an Old business model it's been proven time and again file sharing increases interest in artist and if liked people tend to by more copies several artist have dropped there record labels and adopted a 21 century business model. Secondly speeding is also illegal no one gets a 1.92 million dollar fine for it, fact is she did not share with a million users and furthermore i highly doubt she even knew how to set up the program, lots of these programs share your my documents folder by default. This is the war over cassettes and vcr's all over again. because the possibility exists for misuse doesn't mean that's whats being done with it. the punishment should fit the crime and law firms and business like the RIAA are simply extorting Americans. Pay or we'll prosecute is simple Selective Prosecution which is also Illegal you cant prosecute one class of citizens different than another, which is precisely whats happening, if you can afford it you don't get prosecuted and stay out of jail, but they know most are to poor to afford this hence the initial reason for file sharing and thusly are prosecuted under a poorer class of citizenship would you feel the same if they only prosecuted black people? or only whites? I doubt it. yet this is the same they only prosecute the poor keeping them poorer. Lets put a stop to the senseless madness. Judges and Attorneys stop the Classation and Selective prosecution of our Citizens, And quit lining your pockets with the Extorted money of those that can afford to pay and bowing down in servitude to the cooperate giants who's hand outs come to easily because the money came Illegally, you are all equally Guilty.

     

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  73.  
    icon
    Truths Razor (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    RE:

    The RIAA is operating on an Old business model it's been proven time and again file sharing increases interest in artist and if liked people tend to by more copies several artist have dropped there record labels and adopted a 21 century business model. Secondly speeding is also illegal no one gets a 1.92 million dollar fine for it, fact is she did not share with a million users and furthermore i highly doubt she even knew how to set up the program, lots of these programs share your my documents folder by default. This is the war over cassettes and vcr's all over again. because the possibility exists for misuse doesn't mean that's whats being done with it. the punishment should fit the crime and law firms and business like the RIAA are simply extorting Americans. Pay or we'll prosecute is simple Selective Prosecution which is also Illegal you cant prosecute one class of citizens different than another, which is precisely whats happening, if you can afford it you don't get prosecuted and stay out of jail, but they know most are to poor to afford this hence the initial reason for file sharing and thusly are prosecuted under a poorer class of citizenship would you feel the same if they only prosecuted black people? or only whites? I doubt it. yet this is the same they only prosecute the poor keeping them poorer. Lets put a stop to the senseless madness. Judges and Attorneys stop the Classation and Selective prosecution of our Citizens, And quit lining your pockets with the Extorted money of those that can afford to pay and bowing down in servitude to the cooperate giants who's hand outs come to easily because the money came Illegally, you are all equally Guilty.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: well..no

    I spoke much too casually in my post. The original complaint (Virgin v. Thomas, later renamed Capitol v. Thomas, and then later renamed Capitol v. Thomas-Russet) contained three alleged infringements:

    1. Illegal downloading/copying
    2. Illegal uploading/distributing
    3. Illegal "making available" for illegal uploading/distribution.

    1. Was shown by contents of her "share folder" at the time the alleged infringing acts were taking place.

    2. Was shown by downloads made by the plaintiffs' investigator.

    3. Like 1., was shown by the contents of her "share folder".

    In the first trial she was found to have illegally copied, distributed and made avaiable for distribution protected content. The jury awarded plaintiffs $220K. Judge then decided his instruction to the jury about the content being "made available" was wrong, set aside the verdict, and then ordered a new trial.

    The new trial was limited to two of the rights associated with the protected content; namely, copying and distributing. "Making available" was taken off the table for the new trial.

    The evidence for copying and distributing was essentially the same evidence proferred in support of 1 and 2 above.

    Thus, we have a case where 24 protected works were shown to have been copied, and where those same 24 works were shown to have been distributed.

    Let's cut to the chase. It seems Ms. Thomas-Russet was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. A simple mean culpa and modest payment would have ended the matter, but for reasons known only to her she chose to bet the farm. It seems almost certain she now regrets having made that choice.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: well..no

    "Let's cut to the chase. It seems Ms. Thomas-Russet was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. A simple mean culpa and modest payment would have ended the matter, but for reasons known only to her she chose to bet the farm. It seems almost certain she now regrets having made that choice."

    However, how the law is worded, in this case there would have been nothing to require the RIAA to settle before such a verdict. Sure, she could have "settled" with the RIAA in this case, but if the RIAA decided they no longer wanted to settle with future cases, the law would be be fine giving out this kind of verdict to anyone who they can get evidence on. Most aren't arguing this woman did nothing wrong, but rather this law (and this verdict) is insane.

    Regardless of what someone does, I can not see ANY possible case where one can justify punishing someone EIGHTY THOUSAND times worse than the damage they did. That is the equivalent of taking a dropped dime and not returning it, then later being charged 8,000 dollars.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: well..no

    "Regardless of what someone does, I can not see ANY possible case where one can justify punishing someone EIGHTY THOUSAND times worse than the damage they did."

    Problem is this: She did more than $1 of damage. If the average user shares a song with 4 people, and they share it with 4 people, etc... do the math. 7 levels of that (and only 7 levels) and the song is in the hands of more than 60,000 people. So it isn't 80,000 times the damage - the damage is almost incalculably high. at 80k, she got off lightly.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Are you seriously suggesting that if this woman never used the internet, the record industry would have made 80 thousand more dollars per song?

     

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  78.  
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    zcat (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

    Re:

    I don't think Sun are making OpenOffice free to the world out of the kindness of their hearts. There's a business model in there somewhere. Same for Novell, Redhat, IBM, Google, Canonical. These companies make large contributions to FLOSS as necessary to sell related services. Kinda like NiN making Ghosts I-IV free for download (free advertising) and then selling a whole bunch of CDs and DVDs and Vinyl and concert tickets and perhaps even a few T-Shirts on the back of that.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Jane Doe, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Every time I walk into a friend or relative's house and the computer is turned on, LimeWire is running and music is being shared with the world. The only reason I know this is because someone usually wants me to remove a virus, adware, malware or spyware from their hard drive, and when I sit down in front of the PC, LimeWire is always running in the background.

    I have seen computers with 25 days worth of shared music being stored in Itunes and shared via LimeWire or some torrent program. This is approximately 10,000+ songs. The average housewife in Omaha makes Jammie Thomas look like a real poser, a music pirate wannabee with her 1600 songs, and remember, she was only sued for possession of 25 songs. The RIAA had better run fast and train hard so they can catch up to all the real baddies in America.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Jason Sykes, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    "She deserves jail time alongside everyone else who does this sort of thing."

    You feel that copyright infringement is grounds for loss of personal freedom. Glad you are so reasonable.

     

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  81.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re: well..no

    1. Illegal downloading/copying

    There was no evidence presented to show that she downloaded the music. In fact, the evidence suggested she buys CDs regularly. Can you please explain how they could prove that the copies on her computer were illegally downloaded, rather than a legally made backup copy?

    2. Illegal uploading/distributing

    Again, since "making available" is not considered infringement, can you please show what evidence was presented that showed she *actually uploaded* a single file -- beyond the copies made by MediaSentry? Since MediaSentry is an authorized party, one could argue that those copies were not infringing.

    I have said, repeatedly, that I agree that Thomas should have settled and never should have let the case go this far, but you are about as wrong as you can be that the evidence is so solid against her as to the specific charges against her.

    Let's cut to the chase. It seems Ms. Thomas-Russet was caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

    Prove it. She was not caught with her hands in the cookie jar at all. There is a fair amount of evidence that her computer was used with file sharing software. There was no proof given that she either made an illegal copy or distributed an illegal copy.

    For someone who comes here on a regular basis, and mocks us for not understanding copyright law, I find this immensely troubling that you seem to think that there was real evidence that met the statutory definition of infringement.

    There was no evidence presented that she downloaded those copies, rather than made a legal backup copy to her machine. To be ruled against on that front would require a lot more than was shown.

    Second, the law states, quite clearly that distribution does not apply to digital copies. Section 106 covers what is meant by distribution, and it says the distribution right is "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;"

    Great. So let's go to section 101 where "copies" is defined and we discover:

    ""Copies" are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term "copies" includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed."

    Oops. That's just for fixed works including the material object. Considering Thomas shared no physical objects, the law seems to suggest she has not done any distribution.

    On top of that, again, the record labels never proved she distributed a single unauthorized file anyway. To whom did this distribution occur?

    I agree that Jammie Thomas was a bad lawsuit example. But, for you to breezily claim that she violated both of these rights when the industry presented proof of neither is really quite amazing -- especially a "stickler" for the law.

    All this, as per your usual refrain, is merely FYI.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

    OMG!

    100,000 people sharing 2000 songs at $80k per song costs the record industry about 16 trillion dollars!

     

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  83.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Problem is this: She did more than $1 of damage. If the average user shares a song with 4 people, and they share it with 4 people, etc... do the math. 7 levels of that (and only 7 levels) and the song is in the hands of more than 60,000 people. So it isn't 80,000 times the damage - the damage is almost incalculably high. at 80k, she got off lightly.

    No. First you would need to *prove* that she did more than $1 worth of damage by showing how many people she shared with. The industry did not. And what those people did with it is meaningless for Thomas since she has no liability over the actions of others.

    We explained this to you already. I mean, even normal trolls don't repeat debunked arguments. You're making your kind look bad.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Mike, what is amazing is that you type the stuff and you don't appear to read it.

    "it says the distribution right is "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;""

    "lending". Let's see, is that like sharing perhaps?

    "distribute copies" - obviously what is downloaded is a copy.

    So you have distrubute copies by lending.

    End of that silly argument.

    "since "making available" is not considered infringement, can you please show what evidence was presented that showed she *actually uploaded* a single file -- beyond the copies made by MediaSentry? Since MediaSentry is an authorized party, one could argue that those copies were not infringing."

    Again, another silly argument. That MediaSentry was able to obtain a copy from here is enough (sort of like cops buying drugs from a drug dealer and then arresting him). MediaSentry may be an authorized party, but the copy they got from Thomas wasn't authorized.

    If MediaSentry could find the file without difficulty, we have to assume that others did as well. After all, putting the files out there and having the file sharing software turned on made her part of the network. Again, if MediaSentry got the files from her, others could have - and MediaSentry could have setup any number of computers and obtained multiple copies without issue.

    Again, end silly argument.

    Ms Thomas got caught, plain and simple, and when offered the easy way out (a very low dollar settlement) she got horrible legal advice and took this one to the end. Now she gets to pay for her stupidity for a very long time.

     

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  85.  
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    steven, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

    ""She deserves jail time alongside everyone else who does this sort of thing."

    You feel that copyright infringement is grounds for loss of personal freedom. Glad you are so reasonable."

    If you walk out of a jewelry store with a diamond necklace that you stole, you'll see jail time.

     

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  86.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Mike, what is amazing is that you type the stuff and you don't appear to read it.

    The only person who appears not to have read is you.

    "distribute copies" - obviously what is downloaded is a copy.

    Read what I wrote -- or better yet -- read the statute again. It CLEARLY DEFINES what counts and what DOES NOT COUNT as a copy. And the ONLY THING that counts as a copy are "material objects". Now, you can argue that the law should be different, but that's an issue for Congress to take up, because the law, right now, clearly limits copies to material goods.

    I actually agree that, given what is *intended* by copyright law, it makes sense that it SHOULD include digital files. But the law quite explicitly states that it is limited to "material objects."

    That MediaSentry was able to obtain a copy from here is enough (sort of like cops buying drugs from a drug dealer and then arresting him)

    Uh, that's quite different. A criminal charge vs. a civil charge -- and with drugs there's such a crime as "possession with intent to sell" which does not exist under copyright law.

    Again, if MediaSentry got the files from her, others could have - and MediaSentry could have setup any number of computers and obtained multiple copies without issue.

    Yes, we absolutely agree that others "could" have. But what "could" have happened is not what *did* happen -- and the law is pretty explicit again in that it only covers what DID happen.

    Ms Thomas got caught, plain and simple, and when offered the easy way out (a very low dollar settlement) she got horrible legal advice and took this one to the end. Now she gets to pay for her stupidity for a very long time.

    Again, I agree that she should have settled. I'm not sure why you repeat it. But she was no "caught." No evidence was presented that shows she did anything that broke copyright law.

    And, it's beginning to look like the end result of this won't be her paying for a long time, but the crumbling of ridiculous statutory copyright rates for non-commercial sharing.

     

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  87.  
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    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: well..no

    There was no evidence presented to show that she downloaded the music. In fact, the evidence suggested she buys CDs regularly. Can you please explain how they could prove that the copies on her computer were illegally downloaded, rather than a legally made backup copy?

    Perhaps you can explain why, at the conclusion of the plaintiffs' case in chief, counsel for the defendant did not move for a directed verdict. Assuming, arguendo, that what you say is true and unassailable, then I have little doubt the defendant has a strong and compelling case against her counsel for legal malpractice. The same can likewise be said for her original counsel. In fact her case would likely be won by a simple motion for summary judgement.

    Second, the law states, quite clearly that distribution does not apply to digital copies. Section 106 covers what is meant by distribution, and it says the distribution right is "to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;"

    Great. So let's go to section 101 where "copies" is defined and we discover:

    ""Copies" are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term "copies" includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed."

    I applaud your taking the time to read through portions of Title 17, The Copyright Act of 1976, as subsequently amended. If I may, I suggest you add to your reading list the entirety of Sections 101, 106 and 114. Again, if what you say is true and unassailable, the defendant has a strong and compelling case for legal malpractice against each of the counsel who represented her over the course of these proceedings.

    Given your obviously strong views about the construct of US copyright law, I presume you are diligently working with counsel for Mr. Tenenbaum to ensure nothing like what happened here is repeated.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Mike, you should read all the definitions and information.

    To “perform” a work means to recite, render, play, dance, or act it, either directly or by means of any device or process or, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to show its images in any sequence or to make the sounds accompanying it audible.

    So perform would include music played off a CD, indirectly by a device.

    A “digital transmission” is a transmission in whole or in part in a digital or other non-analog format.

    Note this is important, it includes "in part" - thus even a single packet of data.

    section 106, sub 6: In the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

    The rights holder is exclusively the one allowed who controls the performance of the work via digital transmission.

    Good enough?

    "And, it's beginning to look like the end result of this won't be her paying for a long time, but the crumbling of ridiculous statutory copyright rates for non-commercial sharing."

    Can you explain this? Examples? Links? Stories? Do you have a member of congress or the house, after seeing this judgement, reacting to the story? Or is this just your personal opinion, stated as some "fact" with nothing to back it up?

     

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  89.  
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    zcat (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Did the RIAA Just Sentence This Woman To a Life of Slavery?

    How about poor starving Africans who write music?

    Like Solomon Linda?

     

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  90.  
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    obviously a trool, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 12:03am

    Re:

    troll anyone?

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 1:16am

    Re:

    Congratulations on making it absolutely clear you have no concept of what a reasonable punishment for this crime would be.

    This so-called 'just desserts' is totally absurd.

    The real cost to the recording industry for her actions is $24... until they can prove she shared a file with anyone else that is all they are entitled to, period.

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 1:30am

    Re: Re:

    Sun isn't making OpenOffice at all, it is an open source development they support but is developed by a community much larger than Sun. StarOffice on the other hand is a Sun offering, which OpenOffice was once based on.

     

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  93.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 1:37am

    Re:

    Wow steven that is so interesting but just never mind the fact that it is completely unrelated to copyright infringement.

     

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  94.  
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    steven, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 2:50am

    Anonymous Coward - it has to do with theft. She stole. She tried to get away with it. She got caught. She lied. The verdict is hopefully sending a strong message out to folks that they'd better start thinking twice about stealing and distributing.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Hmm

    Culture is immaterial, and as such is not owned by any one entity. What is 'owned' are exclusive rights for a limited time. IP laws are pretty darn clear on that subject.

    IP laws are, or rather were, supposed to protect everyones rights to arts and sciences, not the meddling middle hand.

    When it comes to copyright ... well, one only have to ask whom benifits the most from all the reforms to the copyright legislation.

    It's interesting, if every bit as sad, to see how supposedly liberal democratic people in sound capitalistic countries now rationalizes extreme measures for the protection of financial monopolies in a free market reality.

     

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  96.  
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    Jane Doe, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    It certainly did send a strong message. The Jammie Thomas verdict sent a powerful life-altering message to me: screw the bastards before they get a chance to screw you. I've never downloaded a pirated song in my life, and my kids have a monthly Itunes allowance that's as much as my car payment, but that's all about to change.

    They're going to have to download pirated music now, just like everyone else, because I'm not going to support the tyrannistic actions of corporate muggers like the RIAA.

    I just looked at my VISA bill. In a family of six, four kids and two adults, we each have a monthly Itunes allowance of $100. That's $7200 a year. My husband completely agrees with me that we should turn off the RIAA spigot in our house, in protest of the Jammie Thomas verdict.

     

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  97.  
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    WorBlux, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: Steven

    " Don't you get the fact that she stopped buying music when she started pirating music? "

    That's an assertion, not a fact.

    Furthurmore even if true, there is still no way that the woman could have ever bought enough music to create 1.9 million dollars in gross revenue.

    "You people just want your music for free" Generally not even true, those who download and share the most, spend the most hard copies. And an assertion irrelavent to the case, since it does not provide evidence of injury.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Perhaps you can explain why, at the conclusion of the plaintiffs' case in chief, counsel for the defendant did not move for a directed verdict. Assuming, arguendo, that what you say is true and unassailable, then I have little doubt the defendant has a strong and compelling case against her counsel for legal malpractice. The same can likewise be said for her original counsel. In fact her case would likely be won by a simple motion for summary judgement.

    My question was about downloading music. Until you brought it up, I had not seen anyone else suggest that she was on trial for downloading music -- and as others mentioned every previous case had been about uploading (distribution) of music, not downloading (reproduction).

    And with distribution, the labels had a much stronger case (exactly why I thought she should have settled) given the additional evidence of her username on the Kazaa account and the lack of a wireless network.

    But I asked you where any proof was ever even attempted to be presented that the copies of the files in her folder were *downloaded* in an unauthorized manner? That wasn't even brought up during the trial.


    I applaud your taking the time to read through portions of Title 17, The Copyright Act of 1976, as subsequently amended. If I may, I suggest you add to your reading list the entirety of Sections 101, 106 and 114.


    I'm not sure why you constantly feel the need to be pedantic. Or why you insist on assuming I've not read the act.

    Again, if what you say is true and unassailable, the defendant has a strong and compelling case for legal malpractice against each of the counsel who represented her over the course of these proceedings.

    Very little in the law, as you know, is "true and unassailable."


    Given your obviously strong views about the construct of US copyright law, I presume you are diligently working with counsel for Mr. Tenenbaum to ensure nothing like what happened here is repeated.


    I am not a party involved in either trial. As I have said, I find both of these trials to have become silly circus-like events, in part due to defense counsel.

     

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    RIAA Licks Salty Walrus Nuts, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:45am

    The lady should have just paid the bands to perform live in her house--probably would've been cheaper!

     

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  100.  
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    WorBlux, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:56am

    RIAA Trolling this site Doubtfull

    Doubt it.

    There are plenty of people more that willing to lick the jackboots or the first "authority" that comes along.

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Re:

    this writer has a history of opining on legal issues. the problem is, of course, he's never went to law school, or studied the law. his legal opinions are therefore, merit-less. but the first amendment does protect certain speech, and his merit-less legal opinions do fall within categories of protected speech. he's allowed to write these columns, even if they're idiotic.

     

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  102.  
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    RD, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 11:47am

    Good

    "this writer has a history of opining on legal issues. the problem is, of course, he's never went to law school, or studied the law. his legal opinions are therefore, merit-less. but the first amendment does protect certain speech, and his merit-less legal opinions do fall within categories of protected speech. he's allowed to write these columns, even if they're idiotic."

    Oh good, then we dont have to listen to idiots like you either, since apparently no one is EVER allowed to have an opinion on a subject unless they have gone to law school about it.

    By, dont the let door hit you on the way out! You wont be missed.

     

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  103.  
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    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    My question was about downloading music. Until you brought it up, I had not seen anyone else suggest that she was on trial for downloading music -- and as others mentioned every previous case had been about uploading (distribution) of music, not downloading (reproduction).

    I must say you are persistent in promoting your understanding of the lawsuit, and seem to miss no opportunity to chide me. Since it is clear there is nothing I can do or say to change your understanding, then perhaps it may prove useful to note at least one other copyright attorney who notes that both copying and distributing were involved in the matter. In this regard I direct your attention to comments by Mr. Beckerman at his website "The Recording Industry vs The People":

    Liability-Reproduction right
    Plaintiffs failed to introduce an iota of evidence that Jammie Thomas-Rasset had made a single copy using Kazaa.
    Result: directed verdict on reproduction right.
    Liability-Distribution right
    Plaintiffs failed to introduce an iota of evidence that
    (1) any copy was disseminated to anyone other than MediaSentry
    (2) any dissemination “to the public” occurred
    (3) any sale, other transfer of ownership, rental, lease, or lending occurred.
    All of the above are necessary components to the distribution claim.
    Result: directed verdict on distribution right


    Of course, the above was Mr. Beckerman's pre-verdict "wish list", none of which has come true. BTW, I most certainly do not agree with Mr. Beckerman's "iota(s)", but do note for your benefit his references to reproduction, distribution, and directed verdicts.

    I'm not sure why you constantly feel the need to be pedantic. Or why you insist on assuming I've not read the act.

    I am not pedantic in the least, unless by using that term you mean it to apply to anyone, myself included, who may question your oftentimes unique interpretations concerning copyright law that you then spoon-feed to your readers. Moreover, I have never insisted that you have not read the Copyright Act (Title 17 to the US Code). What I and most other lawyers do insist when we read some of your interpretations is that they are plainly wrong, not consistent with the statutory language, not consistent with the legislative history, and not consistent with longstanding case law In all fairness, you have at times accurately noted points of law, but this is most certainly not one of those times.

     

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  104.  
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    jonny bond, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    Do I deserve jail time too I stopped buying music when i worked out I could record it off the radio and listen to it at my leisure. Also if we do jail all the file sharers we will have to release a god awful amount of peados and sex criminals to make space for them, your argument sucks donkey bollocks and so do you. The riaa are not even heros to anybody who wants to get a song they created heard by millions of people as they do not want free distribution of songs which is the only way for new artists to be heard.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    $1.92M? Tell us how you really feel, Sir.

    Damn, that's a big ass elephant in the room.

    Lots of connecting with fans going to happen because of this, huh?

     

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  106.  
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    Brian Corber (profile), Jun 21st, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    the RIAA vs. anerican courts

    If the RIAA had its way, it would destroy the long standing common law requirement that a plaintiff still has to prove a case and damages. It would demand judgment upon the filing of the lawsuit itself. That is an attack on the third branch of government, the system of american jurisprudence--as such, that is an act of terrorism and treason. The RIAA wants to overthrow the courts! District Court judges should place RIAA reps under arrest and throw them into prisons.

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re:

    "Thousands support a Supreme Court Appeal" - I think that translates more to "Thousands of pirates are scared they are next"

    Try hundreds of millions of pirates. I doubt anyone is scared considering people still commit murder and think they won't get caught.

    Imagine a world were the RIAA has enough money to go after and prosecute an entire generation of young people. How much money would it cost to prosecute 30 Million people and how would you recover those cost?

    A law is only a law if it is enforceable. To say this is a fight that can't be won would only be stating the obvious.

    In the real world the people decide what laws are followed and which are not. It has been this way since the start of our country. If people don't believe in a law then it ceases to be a law. Take slavery for an example.

    We have spoken as a generation, only the RIAA isn't hearing us and pursuing their own self annihilation instead. They have a few shills who cry out foul, but it is limited to that.

    Even if they could force some D.A.R.E like program, maybe C.A.R.E (Copyright Abuse Resistance Education) do you really think they are going to convince anyone? I mean where in the hell is the smoking gun!?!?

    No, only true idiots buy into the RIAA's argument.

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Dear Michael L. Stoner

    The real question is how a law that was meant to bust people profiteering off of copying copyrighted works has somehow now been applied to this woman who had no intention of making money nor the expertise on computer that she would even understand what sharing was.

    Take another hit Stoner and step back and look at the bigger picture. Ohhh wait, I am guessing your higher brain functioning may have been damaged by the fact you are a nit-picking troll.

     

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  109.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    Amused - Not to mention that WMP11 tries to automatically share your music with everyone on the the network.

    I guess now Microsoft should be sued by the RIAA for "providing the tools so even an idiot can infringe on copyrighted material"

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: the RIAA vs. anerican courts

    HERE HERE!

     

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  111.  
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    Triatomic Tortoise, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 5:22pm

    Re: On Steven's Original Post

    Obviously there are some supporters of RIAA and that is how they are able to continue doing their bullshit. I do have artist friends who share music themselves and don't feel that it hurts artist community.

    RIAA is one of the most evil organizations in the US after the conservative GOP camp ;) I am sure people will "love" my association.

     

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  112.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    In this regard I direct your attention to comments by Mr. Beckerman at his website "The Recording Industry vs The People":

    I'm not sure what point you are making. Mr. Beckerman has his interpretation of the case at hand, which again seems to side much more with my points than yours. We disagree on certain elements, but both point out the fact that the labels did not appear to present any significant evidence to support what the law claims needs to be shown.

    I am not pedantic in the least

    Telling me to read sections of copyright law that you know I've read is pedantic.

    Moreover, I have never insisted that you have not read the Copyright Act (Title 17 to the US Code).

    Uh, then why did you say: "If I may, I suggest you add to your reading list the entirety of Sections 101, 106 and 114." That clearly implies you do not think I have read those sections.

    What I and most other lawyers do insist when we read some of your interpretations is that they are plainly wrong, not consistent with the statutory language, not consistent with the legislative history, and not consistent with longstanding case law In all fairness, you have at times accurately noted points of law, but this is most certainly not one of those times.

    So please, rather than insult me, point out where I was wrong. I will note that you have not...

    I will add, by the way, that my interpretation here of copyright law was certainly helped along by a number of copyright law attorneys, who I have discussed this matter in great detail with. You imply, falsely, that I am making this up out of my own understanding which is simply not true.

     

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  113.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    You fail to mention that the attorney's that you discuss the matter with tend to be the same types of people who gave Ms Thomas such horrible legal advice.

    Not only was the sort of interpretation they are giving you shown to be wrong, but shown to be very expensive too.

     

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  114.  
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    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Mr. Beckerman mentions "reproduction right" and "distribution right" as the the issues tried by the court. I said likewise, to which you responded that only distribution was at issue. (E.g., "Until you brought it up, I had not seen anyone else suggest that she was on trial for downloading music.") Must I secure affidavits from the trial attorneys, the judge and the members of the jury in order to meet your unusual standard of proof?

    I still believe you would do well to take up my suggestion and read the noted sections of our copyright law. You seem to take umbrage that my suggestion implies you have not read them. Quite the contrary. I have no doubt you have read them. Unfortunately, your legal analysis of those sections as applied to the instant case is plainly wrong, suggesting you would be well served to read them again...several times in fact. Should you have any questions after doing so I would be pleased to refer you to colleagues who can explain them with the degree of specificity you seem inclined to demand. Not that I believe you would find their explanations persuasive, but that at least you would come to realize I and others who have in the past responded to some of your declarations of law are not lone voices in the wind and separated from mainstream copyright law analysis. Quite the contrary.

     

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  115.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    You fail to mention that the attorney's that you discuss the matter with tend to be the same types of people who gave Ms Thomas such horrible legal advice.

    Not only was the sort of interpretation they are giving you shown to be wrong, but shown to be very expensive too.


    Er, no, actually. Why do you think I've said over and over and over and over again that I thought she should have settled, and this was an incredibly poorly run defense?

     

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  116.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2009 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Mr. Beckerman mentions "reproduction right" and "distribution right" as the the issues tried by the court. I said likewise, to which you responded that only distribution was at issue. (E.g., "Until you brought it up, I had not seen anyone else suggest that she was on trial for downloading music.") Must I secure affidavits from the trial attorneys, the judge and the members of the jury in order to meet your unusual standard of proof?

    No, my point (apparently not made clearly enough) was that all of the evidence presented was SOLELY on the distribution side. None of it was on the reproduction issue, which has me wondering how she could have possibly been found against on that issue. There was simply no evidence at all presented.

    I still believe you would do well to take up my suggestion and read the noted sections of our copyright law.

    Fair enough. I just reread them, and again, my point stands. I'm guessing the relevant section you are talking about is 114(b), in regards to 106(1). But, again, it uses the word copies, and copies is clearly defined in 101 as *material objects*. I would agree that this is likely not what Congress means today. But if that's the case, they should fix the law, not pretend it doesn't say what it clearly says.

    Unfortunately, your legal analysis of those sections as applied to the instant case is plainly wrong

    Again, there are a lot of copyright lawyers who disagree with you. This point has been raised to me by numerous copyright lawyers, and I even argued against one for a long time until I carefully read through the statute and realized he's absolutely right. The law says it in plain language. Copies only applies to material objects.

    Not that I believe you would find their explanations persuasive, but that at least you would come to realize I and others who have in the past responded to some of your declarations of law are not lone voices in the wind and separated from mainstream copyright law analysis.

    Oh, no. I agree that your voice is "separate from the mainstream." I agree that many folks -- especially copyright law practitioners -- believe the interpretation of the law that you present. But it's not what the law says.

    And that's kind of a big issue, don't you think?

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Why yes she could: "

    Only if you are a rich and powerful entity.

     

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  118.  
    identicon
    techdirt_rules, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 10:42pm

    Difference between a catfish and a lawyer

     

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  119.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "many rights holders will stop making new product."

    Prove it.

     

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  120.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "many rights holders will stop making new product."

    How many and prove it.

     

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  121.  
    identicon
    techdirt_rules, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 10:51pm

    Difference between a catfish and a lawyer?

    Whats the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a scum sucking bottom feeder and the other is a fish.

    The fact that she didn't make any money from it should be considered. The fine should not be more than 10 times what she made... oh nothing!

    How many of these songs could have been recorded legally from the radio TV or internet "radio?" Was her music system adequate to derive the benefit in sound quality? If I buy a poster of the Mona Lisa, and anyone can come to my house and photograph it, exactly how is that not illegal? My god, lock up all the librarians, they are letting people read and listen without paying!!!

    - Laws are made for lawyers.

    - What do you call thousand dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? a good start.

     

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  122.  
    identicon
    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 21st, 2009 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    I am pleased you took note of Section 114(b). Presumably you also took note of the definition of a "sound recording" as stated in Section 101.

    One of the difficulties with copyright law for laymen and professionals alike is that the definitions move with alacrity among many fundamentally different principles. Clearly copies and phonorecords are limited to material objects. However, a sound recording is not a material object. It is in a sense ethereal in nature. In order for an act of infringement in the case of a sound recording to take place, the sound recording must at some point in time be fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

    Now, lest you think I and others steeped in the practice of copyright law are practicing such law in what I term "cruise control", my characterization for those who tend to follow conventional wisdom and not examine a law in detail to understand its true metes and bounds, there are some very interesting aspects of Section 114 that oftentimes go unnoticed.

    Merely by way of example, it seems to me a likely outcome that downloading a music file is not an act that without more gives rise to a claim of infringement. Rather, the act is completed and arises at the point in time when the downloader "fixes" the amalgamation of sounds on tangible media...be it a DVD, tape, hard drive, player piano sheet, etc.

    The practice of copyright law is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who appear self-satisfied by an introductory course either in law school or via a CLE presentation. It took me many years before I began to fully appreciate the ebb and flow of the law and the considerations underlying its construct in legislation. Even now I am only too well aware of my limitations given the also infinite scenarios that can arise and for which one must determine how the copyright law applies to each such scenario. Whereas many of my self-satisfied colleagues seem quite pleased with their level of knowledge and are only too happy to express with confidence their purported expertise to potential clients, I have been around long enough to know what I know...but even more importantly what I don't. Hence, except in the most straightforward of circumstances, the majority of my time is spent garnering the facts from a client, advising the client that I will need to research the matter, and then based upon that research provide an opinion that in my judgement represents the state of the law as it applies to the client's circumstances. At the same time, I also give pause to consider the client's business objectives and provide my views on how to best promote those objectives. Quite frankly, much more often than not resort to standing on one's legal rights is precisely the wrong thing to do, and any legal counsel who fails to consider other such options in my opinion ill serves the needs of the client.

     

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  123.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 1:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    I am pleased you took note of Section 114(b). Presumably you also took note of the definition of a "sound recording" as stated in Section 101.

    One of the difficulties with copyright law for laymen and professionals alike is that the definitions move with alacrity among many fundamentally different principles. Clearly copies and phonorecords are limited to material objects. However, a sound recording is not a material object. It is in a sense ethereal in nature. In order for an act of infringement in the case of a sound recording to take place, the sound recording must at some point in time be fixed in a tangible medium of expression.


    Indeed. I did read the definition of sound recordings. But I also noted that sound recordings only comes into play in section 106 for *performance rights* and not for reproduction rights.

    And, when you get to 114, again, it does discuss sound recordings (that's the whole point), it focuses on copies. And the law states -- again, quite explicitly -- that those *copies* must be material objects.

    Again, I recognize that not everyone agrees on all of this. I am merely pointing out what the law says -- and, as multiple copyright lawyers have pointed out, this is a big problem that Congress really ought to deal with, because as it stands, the law doesn't seem to say what the RIAA insists it says.

     

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  124.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Yet, the advice given by your lawyer friends (based on comments you make here and your opinion of P2P in general) is that she did nothing wrong, which would make her defense correct, no?

     

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  125.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Remember that laws aren't just what is on the books, but what has also been decided in a court of law. There are copyright cases that go back hundreds of years, which help to define the terms and issues and help to clarify the rules. Often laws are specifically not re-written to avoid disturbing existing rulings that actually achieve the same end result.

     

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  126.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    Yet, the advice given by your lawyer friends (based on comments you make here and your opinion of P2P in general) is that she did nothing wrong, which would make her defense correct, no?

    Nope. It's not at all that she did nothing wrong. However, it is that the recording industry did not prove that she broke the law. She very well may have done things wrong and very well may have broken the law. But it's troubling that the industry did not present evidence that matches with what the law says it needs to present.

    The reason I thought she should have settled was that I figured that industry would be able to present enough *real* evidence to prove the points (the use of her username suggested they would have a lot more evidence to go on). I still think she should have settled -- but I think both sides on this case did a terrible job.

     

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  127.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You pay property tax on your car?"
    Yep, every September. It sucks, but I guess it's me doing my part to pay for road maintenance.

    "How about the food in your fridge? Your clothes? Your computer?"
    Food and clothing are consumables, not property. Other property generally has to be above a certain value for it to be taxed. So, one computer, probably not. But, if you are a company that sells computers, you do have to pay property tax on unsold shelf inventory. That's why stores have huge blowout sales at the end of their fiscal year.

    Either way, we're talking about an asset that the RIAA claims is worth $800,000 per 10-song album. (Actually, it's more than than because on top of suing you for sharing the songs, they can sue again for the same songs by calling the "album" a separate work.) So, comparing it to food in the fridge or a personal computer is ignorant and downright friggin stupid.

    "If you want to pull an argument out of your ass, think it through first."
    Irony.

     

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  128.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    Again I ask


    The one thing I want out of this is ....

    to know where the money is going. So my question is ...

    will you open your books to the public and show that the artists are getting paid?

    I personally think that someone should get a bunch of indie labels and artiists together and start a + - a penny a song system for college students.



    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090521/1714594965.shtml#c430

     

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  129.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    its copyright infringement not theft ...

     

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  130.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well..no

    "Indeed. I did read the definition of sound recordings. But I also noted that sound recordings only comes into play in section 106 for *performance rights* and not for reproduction rights."

    If you take a look at 114 again (even though I have read and applied it many times over the years, I make it a practice of reading it each time it comes up in any given situation) you will note that sound recordings are integrated with the rights specified in 106(1), 106(2), 106(3) and 106(6). When a file is downloaded and "fixed" on tangible media (e.g., a hard drive) 106(1) comes into play, i.e., a copy has been made. Whether or not such a copy infringes depends, of course, on what authorizations have been given by the rights holder.

    106(3) coupled with 114 is a far, far more interesting question in the context of P2P file sharing. Clearly, the file on the "sending" computer is fixed such that a copy of the original exists. When the file is uploaded to a "receiving" computer, it is the sound recording, and not the physical copy, that is transferred. Obviously, the file itself while in transit is not a copy since it is not "fixed" (though, quite frankly, I can conceive of forceful arguments that can be made to the contrary). It is a "signal" capable of being converted to tangible form. Once a recipient of the file "fixes" it on tangible media the recipient is certainly deemed to have made a copy within the meaning set forth in 101.

    Hence, in my mind and that of many others who practice copyright law, the difficult question is what to do about the "signal" in terms of legal principles that pertain to infringing activities. This is a part of the debate within legal circles that has led some to proffer opinions that the mere "sending" of a music file in not an infringement of the distribution right.

    Frankly, this is not an issue that I have ever had to squarely confront and it would be foolish for me to make a definitive declaration that "sending" a file, without more, is or is not a distribution within the meaning of 106(3). I will reserve expressing on opinion on the issue until such time, if ever, a client asks me to do so.

     

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  131.  
    identicon
    Michael L. Slonecker, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Re 131:

    Did not notice that AC was the selected name. It should not have been as I did save a cookie from your site.

    Last night as I shut down my Vista machine it got stuck in the shut down process and I had to shut down manually. When I rebooted this morning several of my intenet preference settings were changed, including, apparently, the techdirt cookie.

     

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  132.  
    identicon
    Carl, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Re:

    Anonymous Coward - "it has to do with theft. She stole. She tried to get away with it. She got caught. She lied. The verdict is hopefully sending a strong message out to folks that they'd better start thinking twice about stealing and distributing."

    Except that copyright infringement is not theft. The legal definition of theft requires depriving the rightful owner of the property in question, such as stealing a car. Making files available on your computer doesn't do that.

     

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  133.  
    identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    THE RIAA IS THE WRONG... GET IT.. NOT STANDING UP FOR IT... THEY ARE THE PROBLEM, THE LABELS ARE THE PROBLEM...IF I AS A FAN AM TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL... THEN SOD OFF BECAUSE I AM NOT BUYING A DAMN THING FROM YOU....
    OR THE LAZY LABELS COULD TRY A BUSINESS PLAN THAT DOESNT FAIL IN THE FACE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY, KINDA LIKE BUGGY WHIPS.
    SORRY THAT YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT OF HOW IT ALL WORKS...

     

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  134.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Difference between a catfish and a lawyer?

    What do you call a lawyer buried up to his neck in sand?

    ...not enough sand.

     

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  135.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    When one gets down to brass tacks, what we're talking about here are the arrangements of one's and zero's. Last I knew, numbers couldn't be copyrighted. I doubt that number "strings" can be copyrighted, either... at least not in any "sane" society. Enter large sums of money, and all common sense gets thrown out the window, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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