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. icon
    Azrael (profile), 19 Jun 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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