US File-Sharer Gets $675,000 Fine | INFJ Forum

US File-Sharer Gets $675,000 Fine

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by TheLastMohican, Aug 1, 2009.

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  1. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8177285.stm

    _____________________________________________


    This strikes me as ridiculous. The bulk of such a fine is obviously punitive damages, because the company is not losing anywhere near $22,500 due to the illegal distribution of a song. Punitive damages are fine, but they should be calculated relative to the severity of the crime. These fines far exceed those for crimes that we would normally consider more serious, like assault and battery, or driving drunk or with a suspended license.

    Furthermore, notice that the jury is limited to $30,000 fines only if it does not consider the infringements willful — so apparently accidental distribution can still be punished by up to a 30-grand fine per song. These huge sums seem pretty excessive, since they are liable to ruin the convicted felon's life. ($1.92 million is more than a lot of people ever make in their lifetimes, so how can an average person be expected to pay it off?)

    Especially considering the randomness of actually getting caught, these penalties seem counterproductive as well: wouldn't these felons be much better used for anti-piracy programs that would help to catch a higher percentage of the culprits (a form of community service)? Picking just a few file-sharers to make examples of will not discourage the crime nearly as much as simply catching more of them and slapping them with more reasonable fines.
     
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  2. Black Swan

    Black Swan Community Member

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    The article I read yesterday said that he plans to file bankruptcy if the ruling sticks. It could have been a lot more though, I read that it could've ended up in the millions. Which, seems silly when each song can be purchased for a buck...then again, when you calculate how many times the songs were downloaded by other people, then shared, then downloaded, and so on... Who knows?
     
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  3. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    See, this is the problem, though.

    Every individual is unique and every situation is unique. There is a website out there that lets you download single songs for ten cents. A DIME. And you can download full albums for less than $1.00. Now who is liable there? The person certainly paid for a service, and the site claims it's legal.

    And what about people whom we let borrow our CDs who make multiple copies of them? And what about CDs we find in the dollar bins in stores? Can we really, honestly and in good conscience charge more than a few hundred dollars for illegal filesharing? I don't think so. Even playing a Disney movie in a school (yes, that's illegal) will only bring you a $5000 fine.

    Surely there are better ways of handling this. I think yes, damages should be assessed, but the cap should be a few hundred dollars per song. Not a few thousand. Especially not for a first time offense!
     
  4. OP
    TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    It's possible that he got an average of 10,000+ downloads per song, but I think it unlikely. Also, if they are trying to get all that money back from him, what does that leave for the people who actually did the downloading? I assume it is just as illegal to download a copyrighted song as it is to make it available, so if some of those who downloaded are apprehended and charged, will they be fined? If they are fined, and the company miraculously gets all that money back, in theory it is making a sizable profit (being compensated twice for each illegal download), which seems off.
     
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  5. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    The person paying the fine should be the person who uploaded the file in the first place to be shared. Not the ones who innocently took it.
     
  6. OP
    TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    Eh, it's not really innocent when you know that it was illegally put up there. And what if you download it and then share it yourself? I have seen legal warnings on file sharing sites (no, I haven't downloaded from any, but I have seen notices that it might be illegal to do so, and that downloading a copyrighted file would render me subject to charges).
     
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  7. J. Cardigan

    J. Cardigan Community Member

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    The part of this that pisses me off the most is that the band/musicians that made this music probably won't see a dime of this money. This goes to the recording companies that didn't have any hand in actually making the music, save for perhaps the production and the ownership of the musician's souls.

    "We're doing it for the music, man."
     
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  8. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Meh, you're right; most people know what they're doing...but not always. Kids usually get into file sharing a lot, and they tell their parents they can get this stuff for "free" online, and not tell them it's illegal. My mother would believe something like that.

    If I ever downloaded something, I would keep it. Mostly because you really don't know what has viruses and what doesn't. And c'mon...what about services like hulu, which are totally free, but they host movies as well as TV shows? How different is that from music? That's an unlimited source, too. I guess you can't keep it, technically, but you can access it at home whenever you want. And MP3 clips are everywhere for free. What's the difference between making your own album mix tape and ripping a full one?

    Personally, I'm more on the side of artists who offer their albums for free on their websites a week or two before the album's big release date. Music companies already make money hand over fist; it's the artists who make pennies on the dollar with each song - because of the companies.

    ETA: Absolutely, J.Card, absolutely (I posted before I saw your note).
     
  9. IndigoSensor

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    I think this is "scare tactics" that the law is trying to show everyone. It is not going to work. I have said this before, if they are going to fine these people, they need to fine the world. I would venture to guess that over 1/2 the population downloads illegal songs.
     
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  10. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Yeah, but what a pain in the ass and how expensive it would be for them to fine everyone, seeing as how virtually no one is able to pay these ridiculous fines. They're trying to terrorize people into buying albums.

    I don't give a damn about those musicians who won't see a dime of this fine money, anyway. It's their own fault for selling themselves to the record labels. Ani Difranco refused to do it, she saved up her own money and started her own label to be her own boss. There should be some sort of revolution in the music industry. Cut out the record label middle man.
     
  11. OP
    TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    Well, that's just the thing: they would get a lot more money from a multitude of smaller, payable fines than just a few enormous ones that can only be payed in part.
     
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  12. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Yeah. They are financially terrorizing people.
     
  13. IndigoSensor

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    I think there more trying to strike fear into people who re-share music. Which kind of does make sense.
     
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  14. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I think they ought to be on Obamas agenda. Shut the companies down and put those RIAA people in prison serving hard time.
     
  15. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    It'd be nice to make your own label, but very few have upfront cash to try it - and the venture's not always that successful. But there are some really good indie labels who will help promote you and many of them are truly independent (and won't rip you off). Otherwise, pressing your own CDs and getting cash for your own studio (or renting a studio) and hocking your wares at a small, rinky dink venue gets damn tiring sometimes...and some guys really aren't that talented.

    I know *why* folks go with bigger labels (more press & publicity & "instant" stardom) but the pre-established indie labels can be goldmines.

    It's like being self-published versus finding an agent or a small book publisher. Except the major record companies are too greedy. The reason the fat cat record labels are losing money isn't because of file sharing. They want that to be the case...but the truth is, more people are seeking independent labels, too. Our musical tastes are diverse like that.
     
  16. Eniko

    Eniko May snark if provoked
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    The funny thing is that they think this will actually work instead of encouraging people to download even more, all the while thinking to themselves "screw you bastards".
     
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  17. OP
    TheLastMohican

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    Is $675,000 really a more fearsome sum than, say, $30,000? Both will ruin the felon's credit and make life miserable. The difference is that the latter sum can be paid, albeit at likely ruin of the debtor. Se might have to sell shis house and car, clean out shis accounts and borrow shimself into oblivion, but the money is still attainable. The former sum, meanwhile, simply forces the felon to declare bankruptcy immediately, and probably less will actually be paid in such a case.
    From the perspective of the average person, if you're going to get hit with a fine of more than $100,000, it might as well be ten times that amount: there is just no way to come up with the money. Therefore it should be much more frightening to the average downloader if the government reduces the fines by a factor of 20, while multiplying the number of cases by the same. Their current scare tactic is too lopsided to be very effective.
     
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  18. IndigoSensor

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    The thing is the average public won't realise that, as such they won't actually try it. The fact that it is in the news is because they are going for a sensationalist hit.
     
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  19. BenW

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    RIAA et. al. are just pulling the occasional round of heavy handed scare tactics.

    Piracy is utterly unstoppable, and if media companies were remotely serious about actually putting a dent in it, they would stop lagging two steps behind the technological trends and cease treating their legitimate customers like criminals (IE: DRM).
     
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  20. Tamagochi

    Tamagochi Sushi Destroyer
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    Yeah... take that you big bad ugly scary pirate. That'll teach you a lesson or two.
    Another win for America and it's democracy.
    :m105:

    I feel so like a Bush after saying this.
     
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