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Song File Sharer Gets Penalty of $222,000
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msg:3469870
 11:41 am on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

In a crucial legal victory for record labels and other copyright owners, a federal jury yesterday found a Minnesota woman liable for copyright infringement for sharing music online and imposed a penalty of $222,000 in damages.

The verdict against Jammie Thomas of Brainerd, Minn., brought an end to the first jury trial in the music industry’s protracted effort to rein in piracy with lawsuits against individual computer users.

Song File Sharer Gets Penalty of $222,000 [nytimes.com]

That's a lot of money!

 

rocknbil




msg:3472184
 8:45 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Strange to think that this poor woman was found guilty under laws passed by people who's job it is to represent, protect and fight for normal citizens just like her.

Well, I for one don't agree with most of the reactions to this.

So "normal citizens" steal? Just because everyone does it makes it right, or okay, or we should just slap them on the wrist and let it go?

Sure corporations are greedy. Maybe this fine doesn't fit the crime. But all of these emotional issues cloud two fundamental points:

Stealing is wrong. Just don't do it.

She had the chance to cop a plea and get off cheap. But she decided to fight it. You're wrong, and you're going against the big dogs with big dog lawyers, get a clue!

hutcheson




msg:3472201
 9:13 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

It should also be emphasized that no act of theft was alleged. Nobody stole anything.

Someone (is alleged to have) infringed a copyright. That's not theft. It's not <kidnapping>. It's not even extortion or barratry or criminal monopolistic behavior. It's copyright infringement.

<snip>

[edited by: lawman at 11:18 pm (utc) on Oct. 8, 2007]
[edit reason] Name Calling Is A Foo No No [/edit]

incrediBILL




msg:3472360
 2:23 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Someone (is alleged to have) infringed a copyright. That's not theft. It's not <kidnapping>. It's not even extortion or barratry or criminal monopolistic behavior. It's copyright infringement.

Now you're quibbling semantics as the copyright infringement may be the actual act but it stole money from the mouth of the copyright owner, probably with kids to feed and mortgages to pay just like every else. Therefore, bypassing the sales process and copying the file, copyright infringement, still ultimately resulted in royalties not being paid and that's why I just called it theft and bypassed all the niceties.

FWIW, the statutory damages alone per unique instance of copyright infringement in the US is $150K if I'm not mistaken so she got of pretty easy IMO.

Like I said earlier, let's just chuck copyrights out the windows and steal each others web pages to make money and see how everyone here enjoys the treatment.

I know the answer to this based on all the posts in WebmasterWorld, nobody here likes it, which is why so many people ask about DMCA, etc. to get their content off other people's websites.

It's not just the RIAA either, many photographers and large stock photo houses use services like PicScout to scour the web looking for their unlicensed images on websites and have been suing copyright infringers left and right.

Fair use doesn't mean "No fair, I can't afford it!" or "No Fair, it's too expensive!" or "No Fair, they're rich enough already!".

Sorry people, you can't have it both ways.

If copyright works for you it works for everyone and the size of the company doesn't matter, big or tall, rich or poor, it's an even playing field especially if you register your copyright with the law on your side and nice statutory penalties to pay off like a Vegas jackpot.

vincevincevince




msg:3472417
 4:28 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Like I said earlier, let's just chuck copyrights out the windows and steal each others web pages to make money and see how everyone here enjoys the treatment.

One-to-one personal sharing of copyright content is many miles away from repackaging and monetising copyright content. From previous threads here it is clear that few here object to someone emailing some of their content to a friend, or printing a copy of something useful to put on a noticeboard.

I don't think anyone here is trying to defend true 'pirates' who duplicate CDs and sell them commercially. This case is about a private individually freely offering someone else a chance listen to a few songs.

lexipixel




msg:3472431
 4:45 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

"...I sure hope someone steals all the web pages from every webmaster in this thread..."
-incrediBILL

Welcome to the thread incrediBILL! ...<grin>

I'm sure you didn't mean to make a blanket statement like that and that it was directed at those who advocate or justify infringement.

"...the statutory damages alone per unique instance of copyright infringement in the US is $150K if I'm not mistaken ..."
-incrediBILL

It appears $150,000.00 is the high end (if the copyright holder is forced to prove their case in court) and $200.00 at the low end for unknowingly violating the act..


Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits
17 U.S.C. § 504 (c), (2) -

"...In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200.."

[copyright.gov...]

Big curve --- $200 to $150,000... Kinda makes pleading ignorance and hoping for a $200 fine a decent option since you can't get two hours of legal advice for that kind of money. It looks like she played her hand and lost.

lgn1




msg:3472617
 11:17 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

This maybe just round one. It looks like this lady does not have the money to fight this case, so I imagine the case is being sponsored by the EFF or some other organization.

If this is the case, I expect round 2 at a higher court, and this thing may drag out for years until it arrives at the suppreme court.

The other thing, the RIAA will never collect the $222,000 judgement. They will probably settle on something she can actually afford, otherwise she will play the bankruptcy card, or become a job hopper staying one step ahead of a garnishment order. I feel sorry for the children, they are the ones that are going to suffer.

Old_Honky




msg:3472652
 12:38 pm on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Technology changes markets, and there is no going back to the "good old days" otherwise we would all be listening to wax cylinder records on a clockwork machine! The record companies and the movie industry just need to work out how to make money out of p2p sharing.

I remember a few years ago when twin deck cassette players were launched and later twin deck VHS players. The same sort of hysterical over-reaction ensued, and if I remember correctly a levy was raised on blank media which was re-distributed to the copyright holders and their "bloated capitalist" management and record companies. Then everybody was happy for a while.

I know downloading is bigger scale, but with a bit of imagination it should be possible to recompense the copyright holders without stifling the great benefits and total flexibility that file sharing can give to the consumer. "I tunes" and their ilk are not the answer. The selection of music on offer for legal download is not enough. Those of us who remember the amazing "Audio Galaxy" were suddenly exposed to many obscure tracks and out-takes which the corporate music world will never release. e.g. Jimi Hendrix jamming with Jim Morrison.

My solution would be to create a copyright fund into which revenue would accrue from a number of sources. This would then be redistributed to the copyright owners and their management in approximate proportion to the popularity of their downloaded music.

Revenue could be raised by a combination of:
1) A levy on blank CD's and DVD's
2) An annual or monthly downloader's licence for anyone who has a broadband connection.
3) A Tax on ISP's who allow downloading of certain file types e.g. mp3, wma, etc. even zip and rar. If the ISP blocks these file types they are not liable to pay the tax, so some people can choose a cheaper ISP if they don't wish to download or subsidise those who do.
4) A tax on file sharing software providers.
5) Voluntary contributions.

Then a change in law would be required to make file sharing legal for personal use only. Pirating, i.e. making bulk quantities of CD's and DVD's from the downloaded material and then selling them would still be illegal and miscreants would suffer far harsher penalties including mandatory jail.

So rather than bleating on, Canute like, about how this is wrong and we must stop it and punish these evil students and young mothers who are perpetrating this horrendous crime against humanity. The recording industry should recognise that p2p is what is happening and they must work within it's limitations to make their money in a different way. When you factor in the amazing and unprecedented promotional options that p2p provides they should realise that this problem is really their greatest opportunity in disguise.

MatthewHSE




msg:3472741
 2:20 pm on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

The record companies and the movie industry just need to work out how to make money out of p2p sharing.

As I said earlier in this thread, I've never yet seen a good plan for this. It's easy to say "work out how to make money out of p2p sharing," but coming up with a workable idea is quite a bit harder! ;)

I know downloading is bigger scale, but with a bit of imagination it should be possible to recompense the copyright holders without stifling the great benefits and total flexibility that file sharing can give to the consumer.

Find anywhere this is discussed and you'll find people want it free, totally and completely. Even ad-sponsored music wouldn't meet this demand; look at the conversations here about the ethics of ad-blocking on websites.

My solution would be to create a copyright fund into which revenue would accrue from a number of sources. This would then be redistributed to the copyright owners and their management in approximate proportion to the popularity of their downloaded music.

Seems it would be difficult to accurately track the popularity, but assuming that could be done....

Revenue could be raised by a combination of:
  1. A levy on blank CD's and DVD's
  2. An annual or monthly downloader's licence for anyone who has a broadband connection.
  3. A Tax on ISP's who allow downloading of certain file types e.g. mp3, wma, etc. even zip and rar. If the ISP blocks these file types they are not liable to pay the tax, so some people can choose a cheaper ISP if they don't wish to download or subsidise those who do.
  4. A tax on file sharing software providers.
  5. Voluntary contributions.

The first two would require everyone to pay for something they may not use themselves - nothing personal, but I don't download music, so why should I pay for your privilege to do so?

The third option is about the same, since all those file types have legitimate purposes other than copyrighted music downloads. Again, why should I pay extra for the ability to download MP3 files, just because someone else wants to download copyrighted MP3 files? Besides, not everyone has a choice in ISP's, or, in another scenario, what ISP wants to be known as the bad guy who doesn't allow music downloads?

The fourth option could be viable as far as the record companies are concerned, but I question how the software providers would monetise it. Charge for their software? Then pirated copies of it start showing up. Bundle adware with their software? That would be nice, wouldn't it? ;)

The fifth option might work in a perfect world, but I'd say it has little chance in this one. At best, it would be an unpredictable way to make a living.

The recording industry should recognise that p2p is what is happening and they must work within it's limitations to make their money in a different way.

Again, easy to say, not so easy to do. Furthermore, what about the rule of law? Copyright law is the reality at the moment, and it needs to be enforced if only for that reason. There's a lot more at stake here than just music. The mentality of "forget copyright" is hurting print publishers too, some in a major way. And this attitude of "me first at anyone else's expense" just isn't good for society.

When you factor in the amazing and unprecedented promotional options that p2p provides they should realise that this problem is really their greatest opportunity in disguise.

Still easy words to say, but I just don't see how the "unprecedented promotional options" of p2p are going to help anyone make money if what they are promoting in such a large way is available for free.

TheGuyAboveYou




msg:3472767
 2:45 pm on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wow....No wonder my content shows up for free
all over the place......The mentality of people is amazing. No ability to think about the big picture. Only the ability think about what they THINK they should get.

Long term the quality of the content created (for many industries) in this country will suffer if we continue to allow people like her and others to steal IP or "share" it.

Why? It costs money for people with talent to produce any kind of content. If they can not earn a living doing it they will have to do something else. Period. If you want to push music and content to a more "manufactured" and lower quality then this can be tolerated.

An example: Bloggers love to join forums and listen to themselves chime with others that only think the way they do. Rather than pay for content written by professionals in an environment where others at their company have verified their sources. People would rather log in and complain about the other side and have a sounding box for only their side of the story. Perhaps they should be picking up another source of news and listen to an argument from the other side. This is what a lot of people need.
The quality of content on blogs is worth about what you pay for it.
Nothing. It makes you feel good about yourself and thats about it.
None of the people posting have any verified sources or any type
of credential or education as far as we know.

The same can be said for music. This younger generation logs on and downloads music for free. There is something to be said for waiting for the release of a new album and everyone goes out an buys it.

It doesn't really feel like stealing to this younger generation because they can't physically touch the product. They can "magically" get the songs and content they want for free.
In the past you would have to get a book and go photocopy it page by page and you would "feel" like you were stealing it.

A good friend of ours is releasing an album this month with a band that is in the top ten. He told us it is already out online and they are worried about it hurting his sales. If this album does not do well he will be moving on to do something else. Thus another talented musician (who actually plays an instrument and sings imaging that) may leave the scene....

Think about these concepts a little bit rather than complain about
wether you deserve to get things for free. Quit acting like victims
all the time. You deserve NOTHING for free. It is not yours to take.
Have some respect for people with talent.

I think its more absurd that a lady recently sued Mcdonalds for $200 million. No one complains about that. Its always the successful people that are the bad guys. Where do they get these numbers. If Google stole your content you would take them to court for $200 million and get $6 million and feel that justice had been served.

[edited by: TheGuyAboveYou at 2:52 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2007]

Old_Honky




msg:3472957
 5:56 pm on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

MatthewHSE, I understand the points you make but I think you misunderstand mine. I am not looking for or excusing freebies, and if you think my ideas for revenue generation have flaws then a wider debate may solve that problem.

My contention is that if you forget the legalities for a moment p2p is a great method of distribution for music. It gives the consumer real choice and flexibility, but I agree that they must pay for this.

The music industry will have to work with p2p someday because there is a demand for it and it is efficient. A way of "monetarising" p2p without destroying the ability of anyone to find anything however obscure(not just the tracks the record companies want to push)will be found eventually. I believe that rather than prosecuting and fining people who will never be able to pay the fines anyway, IMHO purely as a way of trying to "frighten off" the forces of the market place, the record companies should seize the opportunity and make money from this potential growth area. All that is needed is some creative marketing and an ability to change.

Just as a side question, the problem here is breach of copyright so does that mean that nobody has a problem with p2p sharing of music for which the copyright has expired?

MatthewHSE




msg:3473252
 12:08 am on Oct 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

MatthewHSE, I understand the points you make but I think you misunderstand mine. I am not looking for or excusing freebies, and if you think my ideas for revenue generation have flaws then a wider debate may solve that problem.

Agreed. I think we're on the same side; I just think the answer is a lot more complex (and no, I don't have an answer that I like either, except to enforce the existing laws until something better can be worked out).

Just as a side question, the problem here is breach of copyright so does that mean that nobody has a problem with p2p sharing of music for which the copyright has expired?

I have no problem with that whatsoever. I do, however, believe that copyrights should be renewable indefinitely, with the ability to be passed on to heirs. However, this is a whole new can of worms that probably deserves a thread of its own if anyone cares to discuss it! ;)

This 71 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 71 ( 1 2 [3]
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