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Finnish Courts: Man Who Shared 150 Albums Owes 3,000 Euros

from the that-seems-a-bit-more-reasonable dept

With all of the discussion over the size of the awards in the Jammie Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum rulings, it appears that the courts over in Finland are a bit more reasonable. An appeals court has upheld a ruling against a guy who was found guilty of sharing 150 albums online, and the court has ordered him to pay 3,000 euros. I'm trying to figure out how 24 songs = $1.92 million here in the US, but 150 albums and 1,850 songs = 3,000 euros (a little over $4,000). Which one seems more aligned with the actual action?


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    william (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    about freakin' time

    about $2.16 each song.

    Now that's what we call a sensible ruling.

    However, I think both European and US courts have their fair share of idiotic rulings. We'll have to see if this trend continues in Europe...

     

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    imbrucy (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    2.16 is about 220% of the actual damages. If you support awards beyond actual damages as a deterrent I find that to be a pretty reasonable award. Over twice the actual damages is a fair punishment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    Re: about freakin' time

    "However, I think both European and US courts have their fair share of idiotic rulings."

    I'm sure enough bribery and illegally or unethically manipulating the system occurs in both systems but here in the U.S. it seems more extreme.

     

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    Free Nintendo Points, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Wow, yes, that is crazy.
    Just like William said, $2.16 is somewhat reasonable however here in the US where songs are .99 cents it is a bit more of a harsh ruling. Regardless, say you purchased music, and you give it to everyone for free, don't you have the rights as long as the DRM is there?

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Wow, that's about $27 bucks per album. Which isn't bad.

    However, was there actually any evidence presented at trial that someone completely downloaded any or all of the albums without permission?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    "Wow, that's about $27 bucks per album. Which isn't bad."

    I know, it's weird. It's almost as if the Finnish peoples can, like, do math and stuff.

    Course, with all those islands to count it's no surprise.

     

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    mjb5406 (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Re:

    There wasn't any of that kind of evidence presented in the US truals, either. The RIAA, for example, was never compelled to prove that anyone downloaded the songs Thomas shared, nor did they have to show any financial loss. The sharing itself was the crime (well, to the RIAA and the numbskull jury it was, at least).

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    I'm not sure where that math is coming from... I guess you are basing it on a $1-per-song price structure but that doesn't really translate to "damages". If anything you would have to multiply that dollar-per-song by the number of people who actually downloaded copies from him - but that would be (wrongly) assuming that all of them would have bought the songs otherwise. The simple fact as that damages in a case like this are pretty much impossible to calculate.

     

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    ricebowl (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    A little closer to rationality.

    Well, with any luck the Finnish court was willing to "ignore the potential multiplying effect of peer-to-peer file-sharing."

     

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    another mike (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    maths is hard!

    That's a heck of an exchange rate between dollars per song and euros per album. These foreign currency exchange rates are so complicated.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    but one of the points of p2p software is that you dont just get an item from one source, you get it from multiple sources. so if someone shares a song how can it really be proven that that person shared the whole of the song(s) with others.
    and if it cant be proven that he shared the whole of the song then doesnt that mean sonething at all?

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Re: about freakin' time

    Here here brother! Thank God someone has reasonable idea about the value of something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    Is the amount so low because that is all they could prove he shared - to one person (the investigation team).

    If they claimed he shared it dozens, hundreds, or millions would they not have to prove that the recipients exist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    If you think about it, why is it the 'one person' who gets caught has to bear the burden of paying the lost money back? From what I've seen, the movie, music, and software industries lose a combined total of $638,534,023,299,231,863,430,412,754,234,831,001,620 every minute (I think that's the amount that's often quoted) from file sharing. But now that they don't need to prove if a single file was ever even shared, only that it's 'made available' for download.

    So why should one person be forced to pay that all back at once? They can't. I stated in another story that it has to do with making them an example. Obviously, that's not going to happen in Finland, so the industries are going to have to strong arm the Finnish government and MAKE them institute American rule in copyright, trademark and patent infringement suits.

    Every government in the ENTIRE WORLD will succumb to American rule and US policy when it comes to the copyright, trademark and patent systems we have in place. No government will DARE to stand in the way of that progress. Absolutely NO GOVERNMENT will stand up to the US government. Period! Don't even try it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

    Which decision discourages further file trading? Guy gets caught, and pays effectively the price of the records if he bought them, big deal. That won't stop anyone.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    It's sad that the U.S. is turned into a tyrannical government that wants to subject the world to its tyranny in the name of spreading democracy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    There wasn't any of that kind of evidence presented in the US truals, either. The RIAA, for example, was never compelled to prove that anyone downloaded the songs Thomas shared, nor did they have to show any financial loss. The sharing itself was the crime (well, to the RIAA and the numbskull jury it was, at least).

    Wrong, the first trial of Jammie Thomas was thrown out on exactly this point. Tenenbaum and Thomas-Rassett II both required the jury to find either actual downloading or actual sharing. Given that Thomas-Rassett and Tenebaum both lied in depositions and/or on the witness stand and both destroyed evidence, I am not surprised by the outrageous verdict. Juries love to punish liars. We don't have much info about the Finn, but I doubt he engaged in similar skullduggery, merely pointed out a lack of evidence.

     

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    Jay, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Brutal

    Wow, when I was reading this all I could think was that if this guy wanted that many albums, then why didn't he just pre-order Brutal Legend? The soundtrack for that game is massive! Over 100 songs for a normal video game! checkc it out at brutallegend . com

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 4:37pm

    "Which decision discourages further file trading? Guy gets caught, and pays effectively the price of the records if he bought them, big deal. That won't stop anyone."

    Neither will the two other guys that will now file for bankruptcy protection and pay nothing.

     

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    Brendan (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

    Congratulations, Finland!

    I just thought I should show they we appreciate their hard work.

    Seems worth applauding logical, reasonable and fair thinking these days. Especially when it comes to copyright law/cases.

    Keep it up, Finland!

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    Re:

    Both punishments will discourage file trading to approximately the same extent -- almost not at all. By and large, people don't gauge the potential punishment when deciding to break the law. The decide based on how likely they think it is they'll get caught, regardless of how extreme the penalty is, plus other, largely social factors.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re:

    John, think about it. If the punishment for stealing something worth $50 is a $50 fine, why not take the chance? Like it matters, right?

    Now, make it worse - the "stealing" isn't going to get you a criminal record, just a civil judgement. Heck, "infringing" is almost encouraged at that level.

    The Thomas and Tenenbaum decisions make it clear: actively sharing music can cost you your future, not just $50. Want to take that risk?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 6:18pm

    Does it really matter how much a violated is forced to pay? At the end of the day the consumer will only pay the price that they think the music is worth.

    So any fine that a violated is forced to pay becomes meaningless to consumer when it comes to buying music.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    "At the end of the day the consumer will only pay the price that they think the music is worth. "

    Incorrect - the consumer almost always wants to pay as a little as possible. Honestly, if you could shoplift with impunity, don't you think your trips to the shopping mall would be way more interesting? The only reason we don't have mass shoplifting is because we have laws, rules, and societal norms.

    With music (or movies, or software, or whatever) if people think they don't have to pay, or they can get it for free, they will. So what someone who is found liable pays has a great influence on the number of people who will consider file trading as a safe, effective, and free method to get music.

    A few more cases like this, and parents will be checking their kids computers out a whole bunch more closely.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Re:

    It's the good old, "Don't do as we do, do as we say" school of thought.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re:

    "Incorrect - the consumer almost always wants to pay as a little as possible. Honestly, if you could shoplift with impunity, don't you think your trips to the shopping mall would be way more interesting? The only reason we don't have mass shoplifting is because we have laws, rules, and societal norms."

    Dude, it must SUCK to have such a jaded view of humanity. The people you're describing are out there, but shame on you for not recognizing how vastly outweighed they are by the majority of good, honest people. I hope they're paying you well to spew such dishonest, hospitable garbage. You've just vocalized your industry's major problem: it sees its customers as the enemy.

    "With music (or movies, or software, or whatever) if people think they don't have to pay, or they can get it for free, they will."

    Take the empire-like multi-national corporation out of the equation and you're incredibly wrong, as has been shown by several music acts that get consumers to pay them directly.

    "So what someone who is found liable pays has a great influence on the number of people who will consider file trading as a safe, effective, and free method to get music."

    I actually agree with that, and I have a negative view of infringing file sharing. But I'd argue that the effect of those ridiculous fines is more a deterrent to listening to affiliated music than buying vs. infringing.

    "A few more cases like this, and parents will be checking their kids computers out a whole bunch more closely."

    Jesus I hate it when you fascist-types actual show your pleasure in scaring everyday people. Marx got a lot wrong, but he did get one thing right: keep oppressing and eventually you'll go to far and the middle class WILL rise up against you.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Dude", let's get one thing straight, okay?

    "You've just vocalized your industry's major problem:"

    IT AIN'T MY INDUSTRY! How many times have I got to repeat this? There aren't any RIAA shills on this board, just people that don't have the same f-ed up opinions as you have.

    GET OVER IT! Seriously, do I have to get a lawyer? ;)

    As for the rest of your stuff, you need to study basic group / mob mentality. Right now the mob thinks they can steal anything digital, emboldened by the actions of some. Change that around and shift the mob mentality to "we could actually get caught" and suddenly the riot is over.

    It isn't about anyone treating their customers as the enemy. The customers are ransacking the store, what do you expect them to do? Hand them a baseball bat and help them swing it?

    *shakes head*

     

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  28.  
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    ..., Aug 17th, 2009 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    and what about all those who have been falsely accused

    what should the punishment be for extortion

     

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    David, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 8:29pm

    Neither!

    Actual damage: 0.
    $1920000/$0 = €3000/€0 = ∞.

    See they’re both infinitely greater than the “damage”.

     

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  30.  
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    ..., Aug 17th, 2009 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and your opinions are not "f-ed up" ?

    what makes your opinion of greater value than that of others around you ?

    seems you have a rather inflated opinion of yourself

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, not knowing what theft is pretty much places you in the category of "shill" or "moron."

    Take your pick.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, no. It's just that if we are a society are willing to tolerate petty theft, then we aren't far from tolerating larger theft, disrespect for any form of property, and then we slippery slope off down to anarchy.

    As much as Mike tries to paint music and movies as not being deserving of any copyright protection, our society as a whole (almost entirely worldwide) has recognized the same basic concepts. When someone violates those concepts, the law of the land comes into play and the punishment meted out per the laws.

    The purpose of those laws isn't just to "make them whole", but also to discourage the violating of those laws and rules. Making a "copyright infringer" pay only what it would have cost them to purchase the music / movies original isn't much of a punishment. The risk? having to pay. The reward? Free music / movies. Why would they not take the risk?

    The mob mentality out there are this point (and many posters here are in that mob) is that there is no risk, and any punishment is somehow "wrong". Mike has spewed on about everything from 1st Amendment issues to bizarre abstractions of product and goods, but in the end, the law of the land on copyright has survived hundreds of years for a reason - because generally it is good. So the current mob mentality isn't any different from the last LA riot - what you are protesting may be valid, but the method of protest isn't. Normal people are getting "mob ruled" into breaking windows and setting fires, even if they aren't really upset, because they think they can get away with it.

    Jammie and Joel are the living proof that you can't get away with it all the time, the element of risk has been put back on the table. Are you going to "infringe" and share a few hundreds dollars (retail) of music at the risk of millions of dollars of punishment? Smart people might think that the risk isn't worth the reward.

    F-ed up opinions are the ones that start out with "let's all break the law".

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Roughly 2 in over several Billion people have been tried and faced that penalty. That is simply not going to discourage the world from copyright infringement.

    The world too broad for you? Thats 2 in perhaps 50 Million (being extremely generous on how 'small' that pool is). It simply is not a deterrent, it is extortion carried out by the failing business.

     

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    lordmorgul, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "As much as Mike tries to paint music and movies as not being deserving of any copyright protection"

    Are you new here? I'd like references for this stupid claim please, thanks.

    The entire point of this blog, from day one, which you apparently have missed, is that the market pressure determines the price, period. This has nothing to do with whether the art deserves protection, and everything to do with the simple fact that it can no longer be protected in the same draconian fashion. Maybe you should do a little reading before speaking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 9:38pm

    "but in the end, the law of the land on copyright has survived hundreds of years for a reason - because generally it is good."

    Excuse me while I die from laughter.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Do you even understand what the word "damages" means? Do you REALLY believe people sharing music means "damages"?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your calculations are far too simplistic and don't reflect the actual calculus made by the actual infringers. To the vast majority of them, it won't matter if the fine is $5 or $5,000. They don't think they'll get caught in the first place, so the level of punishment dooesn't even enter into it.

    If you really want to discourage infringers, you need to address what actually motivates them, not what makes sense to those who wouldn't infringe in the first place, and you're thinking like someone who wouldn't infringe in the first place.

    What motivates them is complex, but there are some primary themes that can be used. For example, if there were a simple way to get the music in the form they want at a cost that seems reasonable to them, thena large percentage will go that route. A lot of infringers are motivated to do so because they feel they're on a crusade ("sticking it to the man") and those are certainly not going to be dissuaded by extreme punishments. They are actually encouraged by them, and by all the other actions the labels have taken.

    To reduce infringement takes a completely different approach than what the RIAA crowd is doing. RIAA is only making it more prevalent.

     

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    dragos (profile), Aug 18th, 2009 @ 1:56am

    maybe this is the EU way?

    i live in Romania (also in EU :D) and we recently had a similar amount ($4,100) awarded by a court for sharing >200 works. i'm not sure if 'works' means 'songs' or 'albums', but since it's about 66GB, it's more like albums. i guess the only place you can find some details in english it's here:

    http://torrentfreak.com/hackers-whack-music-industry-for-punishing-pirate-090802/

    so, at least some countries in Europe seem to be more reasonable after all.

     

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    martin, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 2:13am

    Get the facts

    The sums aren't comparable. The american guy is sentenced to pay damages done to the record company, the finnish guy got fined 80 day's rates for his crime (which adds up to 3000 EUR according to his estimated daily income), the article sounds like he was convicted in a criminal court. Usually the civil process comes later. Might be he has to pay a lot more later.

     

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    The Idiot, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 4:13am

    "It's just that if we are a society are willing to tolerate petty theft, then we aren't far from tolerating larger theft, disrespect for any form of property, and then we slippery slope off down to anarchy."

    WRONG. Anarchy is not a lack of order. IT is a lack of orders. This is a key distinction between the two. ORder is a concept, but orders are things you are told to do.

    Also, sensible country is sensible.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike has stated he would like to roll back copyright to what it was originally, as it was originally intended. That would be 10 years, I think? Effectively, the shelf life of current music is a generation, Mike wants to protect it for a very short period of time.

    How short? Dark Side of the Moon would have been in the public domain before it fell off of the Top 200 sales chart.

    What was valid and relevant 200 or more years ago doesn't exactly work today.

     

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  42.  
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    ..., Aug 18th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "the actual calculus made by the actual infringers"

    Huh?

     

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  43.  
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    ..., Aug 18th, 2009 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow
    You really are full of yourself

     

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  44.  
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    Banking CEOs of America, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 5:25am

    Re:

    We can not tolerate larger theft for any form of property.
    Our bonuses were our property and you tried to steal them fromus.

     

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    jrod, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 5:38am

    Re:

    Actual dameges should be (assuming $1) per song 1 x the # of times it was share.... not just 1$ per song.

     

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    Free Nintendo Points, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    Re:

    That's really that bad compared to how much I heard one case was in the in millions.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 18th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    AC who is against the views here, I hereby state that I will no longer take anything you have to say seriously. Your reading comprehension level is too low. You don't listen to anything most of the people here say and you just keep repeating the same argument over and over again that people "just want free stuff". You are so wrong it is not even funny anymore. Countless people have stated that they will pay the artists given a chance, but do not want some middle man to take 99% of that. Does this make sense? I am laying it out for you right here. Reread that sentence about 50 times before responding because aparently so far you have completely failed to understand it. Try thinking it through for a change. Open up your closed little mind.

    When these organizations (MAFIAA) have tried to sue every innovative start up online that helps the consumers (the people who really determine value - which is different from price) get what they want in great ways, then nobody will like said organizations. Make sense? This is the internet. Technology advances. The organizations seem hell bent on stopping a future that all consumers want. When all of your customers want something, you need to find out a way to make money by helping them get that. If it is not how you have always made money, well then too damn bad. Figure out something new. Just because things were one way once doesn't mean they have to be that way forever. Fucking adapt or die bitches. Your hatred for the way things will be in these industries and failure to come up with new ways to make money off of that make people hate you. Stop fighting the future when the future is awesome and everybody could be happy (except aparently you lazy people who don't want to have to think for two seconds).

    As I have said, people will pay the artists who do the work, but do not want to pay middlemen who screw over artists. I am one of those people. That is really all there is to it. Fight the consumers and lose, no matter how many laws you try to screw the world over with. Try paying attention to this argument instead of calling us criminals and a mob and pirates and theives. It just mades you look incredily stupid because you never pay attention. You are the reason companies die (and need to).

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Aug 18th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re:

    > Actual damages should be (assuming $1) per song:
    > $1 x the # of times it was shared ...

    x the percent of people who would have bought the song otherwise x (1 / number of available copies of the song on the internet).

    So if the person wouldn't have bought it, you can't count it. And if there are millions of other copies of the song available (so a potential infringer could just as easily get it somewhere else), you can't count it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 7:31am

    Why not $2.16 a song for Jammie Thomas? Because that would only be a little over $50.00 and they spent too much time and money on this already that only being awarded $50.00 would not make any of it worth it. This is not about protecting the rights of the RIAA, artists, or who ever they claim they are working for. This is ALL about lining the lawyers pockets with as much fast cash as possible. Now I think $2.16 a song judgment is correct, I would even say $5.00 or $10.00 per song would be fair. If that was the judgment awarded in the Jamie Thomas case it would make the lawyers think twice about bring up another lawsuit against a fan with such little evidence because there would be no money in it.

    If you ask me how to fix these overblown judgments it would be to force the lawyers to take a much, much, much smaller share of any judgments or force them to just take a fair hourly pay for their time. By allowing lawyers to take a good chunk of the judgment awarded it drives more lawyers to bring up suits for the sole task of bring in fast cash. You see too many lawyers quick to want to bring up class action suits and then the people that were supposedly harmed get a couple hundred of bucks out of it while the lawyers bring in millions.

     

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    Stefan, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    compared to a human life

    Let's just compare the 1.92 million = 80'000 USD per song to the 24'000 USD Air France payed for every victim of the latest crash (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/06/20/france.brazil.crash/index.html?eref=rss_topstories).

    That means for the RIAA, an mp3 is worth three times more than a human life. Is that reasonable?

    If find it very disturbing that one song should be worth so much more than the life of a loved one or even a complete stranger.

     

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

  51.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 18th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, wait, were we speaking English? Sorry about that, sometimes I forget to translate from my internal gibberish. :)

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    RecycledBottle, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 10:25am

    The dollar calculation is a calculation of potential gain/loss. The potential loss depends on the exposure. It is entirely possible that the exposure in one case is different from the exposure in another.

    ...Anyone who smokes since 1965 knows it's bad for your health. Just as anyone who has downloaded music since the Napster days knows it illegal to share music on the internet. These people deserve what they get for having the intelligence of a smoker.

     

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

  53.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 18th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    Bottle your analogy is kind of stupid.
    Smoking can and will kill you over time (and those around you to an extent).

    Downloading music hurts nobody. And as long as I have the rights to the song from buying it from somewhere, I can download it all I want perfectly legally, much to the RIAAs dismay.

     

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

  54.  
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    CrushU, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Sorry, no. It's just that if we are a society are willing to tolerate petty theft, then we aren't far from tolerating larger theft, disrespect for any form of property, and then we slippery slope off down to anarchy."

    This, folks, is an Ad Absurdum fallacy, better known (and helpfully self-identified!) as the Slippery Slope fallacy. It's also the only two sentences you need to read to throw out the entire rest of his arguement.

    And it does nothing to deter, because once you get those ridiculous judgements no human being could hope to pay without owning their own company, they have no reason to stop sharing. Already lost everything, got nothing more to lose, so why not?

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Person, Aug 19th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    Thank you, a punishment that fits the crime

    Finally, a fair punishment. 3000 euro seems fair for 15 albums.

     

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


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