Unbelievable

It’s often true that court reporting exaggerates sentences to make them sound ludicrous, and I have railed against that before. But this case a fortnight ago – held in a jurisdiction where juries get to award damages – is beyond ridiculous:

In a surprise decision, the jury imposed damages against Thomas-Rasset, who was originally accused of sharing more than 1,700 songs, at a whopping $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was ultimately found guilty of illegally sharing.

I haven’t the words. What an affront to justice and common sense. $1.92 million for 24 songs? What was that based on – the amount the RIAA executives rip-off from artists and consumers each day?

Still, you’ve got to admire the work of the RIAA’s lawyers. You know, the sheer skill they must have employed – regardless of what it was used for. What unmitigated but spectacular bullshit they must have sold that jury. They may have been working for evil, but they clearly did it really, really well.

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9 responses to “Unbelievable

  1. Maybe the summation was as effective as this courtroom speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc7oZ9yWqO4

  2. It is truly disgusting … what on earth was this judge thinking or perhaps they failed to think. They ought to be stood down to be honest that type of fine is crazy.

  3. The problem with your ‘summation’, Leon, is that the facts are against it. Take China, for instance. China is thoroughly capitalist now. It makes no sense for business owners in China to be ‘inventors’, as labour is too cheap. It is cheaper to invest in slave labour than in technology. This is the end product of your philosophy.

  4. The lawyer apparently said “the need for deterrence here is great.” which could be unconstitutional.

  5. How do they determine the damages? Isn’t the damage only what this lady got for free which should have otherwise paid for? Who pays $80,000 for a song?

    And if instead the damage is based on the amount lost in sales based on the people she gave it to, I have two problems with that: did she actually manage to give each song to 80,000 people (songs are about $1 online); and why don’t *those* people pay their share of the fine?

  6. She was featured in “Rip: A Remix Manifesto”, at that point she had won a re-trial. Obviously they pushed on with it. She was on the verge of bankruptcy back then, she has 2 kids from memory.

    The 24 included Journey, Linkin Park, Gloria Estefan and Sheryl Crow.

  7. So do you think the west is exaggerating here, Jeremy?

    http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,27574,25718059-2761,00.html

    “Dannie Adam Wright, 36, had been out of prison for just one day when he followed Ms Jiao from Stirling Train Station on October 8, 2007, and attacked her less than 50m from her Innaloo home.”

    What possible justification is there for allowing this guy to be eligible for Parole, ever?

    He raped and murdered a girl after being out of prison less than 24 hours.

  8. Nice attempt to drag the thread off-topic, Sam.

    BTW, The West is exaggerating there – they report the non-parole period and not the total sentence.

  9. As much as 90% of all digital music acquired today is from illegal downloads. Damn, there sure are a lot of criminals out there! But wait, illegal downloaders are 6 times more likely to go out and purchase music compared to those who keep their noses clean. There’s a new economy at play here, the music providers need to adapt.

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