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Woman gets slapped $2 million fine for downloading/sharing





tingkagol
Quote:
A federal jury on Thursday found Jammie Thomas-Rasset liable in the nation’s only Recording Industry Association of America file-sharing case to go to trial, dinging her $1.92 million for infringing 24 songs.

Thomas-Rasset (then just Jammie Thomas) went to trial two years ago, and was ordered to pay $222,000 by a different jury for the same songs. The judge in the first case declared a mistrial. Thomas-Rasset opted for a new trial instead of settling like the 30,000-plus others the RIAA has sued or threatened to sue for copyright infringement.

Thomas-Rasset, fined $80,000 a track, told our sister publication, Ars Technica, she wouldn’t pay.

Clearly, the Minneapolis jury didn’t buy her latest version of events. This time, she testified that her children might have used her computer to file share on Kazaa. The previous trial, she testified a file-sharing hack or crack hijacked her WiFi connection, even though she didn’t have a WiFi router.

Under the Copyright Act, juries can award damages of up to $150,000 per pilfered track. About $3,500 was the average payment in the thousands of RIAA cases that settled out of court.

In December, the record labels announced they were winding down their 5-year-old litigation campaign and instead began lobbying ISPs to disconnect music file sharers. But the RIAA, the labels’ litigation arm, said it was continuing with the hundreds of cases already in the legal pipeline.

Here’s Thomas-Rasset’s $1.92 million playlist.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/06/riaa-jury-slaps-2-million-fine-on-jammie-thomas/

I was shocked they were able to fine her that much money.
desonium
Jeah it is really unbelievable
I never believe that 24 songs even come close to 2 million. It is really strange
silverdown
Holy smokes on top of old smokie! Shocked
I hope she has a really good job or rich in general, guess it pays to not download!
Nick2008
So many people are involved in illegally downloading songs, but the few that are caught are rarely the ones who seriously break the law. Maybe the judges don't know how prominent these actions are... $2 million?

What about all those that illegally download thousands of songs?
Da Rossa
These recording industries are just ridiculous. Those cowards prefer to seu grandmas, single poor women, and children. Downloading music should not be a crime. They decriminalized abortion but kept this understanding about copyright. Most artists don't care about having their songs downloaded, they even like it, specially the starting ones. This is not their moneysource like it used to be in the early 90's.
[FuN]goku
Yeah, i read this on slashdot as well
http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/06/18/227219/In-Round-2-Jammie-Thomas-Jury-Awards-RIAA-1920000

I think it's pretty ridiculous how they charge that much for downloading music. The RIAA is just stupid imo. There are people doing ALOT worse things. And as Da Rossa said, some artists don't care. I know around here , I used to go to alot of metal shows. Some of the bands would actually give out copies of their albums for free, because they want to promote their band.
deanhills
I'm a bit of a dunce here. Exactly what did she do that was wrong? I don't get it? Embarassed
harismushtaq
I think this is quite obvious that she would not pay simply because she cannot. If this is the case, what will happen. Would she have to stay in jail against the money that she cannot pay ?
Solon_Poledourus
Here is the thing:
Musicians typically don't make all that much money off of record sales. The record labels, lawyers, marketing departments, recording studios, production teams, engineers, technicians, etc. all get a cut of money from the sales of the CD. So unless the artist or band sells multiple millions of records, they really don't make much more than pennies on the dollar from it. So how do they make money? From live concerts, touring. Also from selling other paraphernalia such as T-shirts and posters and band licensed musical gear, etc.

So this whole idea of musicians 'recouping' money from lost album sales through suing people who illegally download is damned ridiculous. It's nothing more than another way for the RIAA to get more money from people. Do you really think any of the money the lady in that news article has to pay will end up going to the respective artists? Hell no. It goes to lawyers and other RIAA and record label representatives.

Just say no to Lars.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Here is the thing:
Musicians typically don't make all that much money off of record sales. The record labels, lawyers, marketing departments, recording studios, production teams, engineers, technicians, etc. all get a cut of money from the sales of the CD. So unless the artist or band sells multiple millions of records, they really don't make much more than pennies on the dollar from it. So how do they make money? From live concerts, touring. Also from selling other paraphernalia such as T-shirts and posters and band licensed musical gear, etc.

So this whole idea of musicians 'recouping' money from lost album sales through suing people who illegally download is damned ridiculous. It's nothing more than another way for the RIAA to get more money from people. Do you really think any of the money the lady in that news article has to pay will end up going to the respective artists? Hell no. It goes to lawyers and other RIAA and record label representatives.

Just say no to Lars.
What did she do wrong? I can't get it .... what does file sharing mean?
tingkagol
It's worth noting that the "$2 million playlist" contains songs from big names in the music industry, which explains the industry watchdogs. If those were indie artists, it would've been different.

And as for Lars and Metallica, well, they are pretty much like the other bands of the 80s and 90s who feel they're being cheated off the truckload of money they used to make back in the day when the internet was non-existent. They haven't quite digested the fact that in this age, all types of multimedia can actually be made free. On the other hand, new artists come out with this in mind, and in my opinion only encourages artistry which makes it an art in the first place.
jabce85
all these people try to do is set an example so it will possibly scare others into doing what they want.
tingkagol
Obviously, but I doubt any of these types of scare tactics can endure the "tides of change". The internet is just one big realization that music is not a very lucrative business as before. I don't know if the same applies to film... (big-budget movies tend to entertain more).
davidfromoz
deanhills wrote:
What did she do wrong? I can't get it .... what does file sharing mean?


Most software that helps you to download songs or movies or the like also shares it with others. Simplistically if you download a song, your software might share it with others who want to download it. This is known as filesharing.

So to the user it might look like they downloaded a few songs. But the record company might say you made it available to others for download, perhaps thousands of others.

This lady downloaded 24 songs. She's being fined for making them available to many others as a kind of distributor of copyrighted material.

cheers,
david
deanhills
davidfromoz wrote:
deanhills wrote:
What did she do wrong? I can't get it .... what does file sharing mean?


Most software that helps you to download songs or movies or the like also shares it with others. Simplistically if you download a song, your software might share it with others who want to download it. This is known as filesharing.

So to the user it might look like they downloaded a few songs. But the record company might say you made it available to others for download, perhaps thousands of others.

This lady downloaded 24 songs. She's being fined for making them available to many others as a kind of distributor of copyrighted material.

cheers,
david
Thanks for explaining it to me. Still murky but I get the gist of it. So why aren't they suing the software company, whose software is responsible for the file sharing?
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Thanks for explaining it to me. Still murky but I get the gist of it. So why aren't they suing the software company, whose software is responsible for the file sharing?
This is a long conversation. Here is a link with a decent article that should explain the basics, as well as some of the complexities of this mess.
davidfromoz
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Thanks for explaining it to me. Still murky but I get the gist of it. So why aren't they suing the software company, whose software is responsible for the file sharing?
This is a long conversation. Here is a link with a decent article that should explain the basics, as well as some of the complexities of this mess.


Dean the software that is used to share this kind of material (for the most part) has legitimate uses. For example its used to distribute software more cheaply. World of Warcraft patches, Linux software, even music which has a copyright that says it can be freely distributed can be shared using these services. So software like Bit Torrent could be said to be without blame because its makers only make a software for sharing files, they don't encourage the sharing of anything illegal. But as Solon points out its a rather complex multilayered situation.

I mostly agree with the article posted. That is I hate it when my usage of media is restricted. For me fair use is restricted by things like:

Having lived all over I have DVDs bought in various places. I don't think DVD players exist (at least they are not easily obtainable/makeable) that will play all my DVDs. The ones I bought in Japan only work on a Japanese drive, the ones I bought in USA only work on a USA drive and when I go back to Australia none of them will work. I feel justified in copying these disks to digital files that I can play without such restrictions.

The same thing with music. If I buy a CD I think its fair that I can play that music on my PC or on my portable player without paying for a second copy.

Thats broadly accepted usage I think. But even though the copyright holders haven't gone after anybody for doing this, they don't accept it being OK. In USA I believe this to be covered by a concept called "Fair use".

Now its possible to find DVDs and music CDs that try to restrict this kind of behavior by using something called Digital Rights Management (DRM). Other tricks are also used to achieve this. Usually this involves some kind of encryption that limits the use of the file. Lots of people (including me) hate this because they believe the technology and business model will eventually fail them. For example Microsoft has now twice thrown away the key to DRMed music leaving users with useless files they can no longer play (once with Plays for Sure and more recently songs on their Zune music service). Most people think that once they buy the music they should be able to play it without restriction. Thats why most people prefer unprotected files that they can use as they wish. Even here its not black and white because files can be watermarked with identity of the purchases so if millions of copies of "Stairway to Heaven" appear on the internet with "davidfromoz" watermarked into them then the source of these files is apparent.

The situation is even more complicated with digital book where the copyright holders would like to charge you again if you get a new digital book player or protect audio book sales by restricting the ability of book displays from reading the words out in audio.

If you distribute files without any DRM generally they can be freely copied.

Now some people copy music and pass it on to a few friends or a million people on the internet. Some people hate DRM so much they won't buy media with DRM and feel that copying it is legitimate because DRM is crippling the media they buy. I think a lot of people use all this as justification for receiving and using copied music against the terms of its license. On the other hand there is some appeal to the idea that this is just information and should be freely shared by humanity. But if I were to sit at home and write the next great novel I might want my ability to be paid for it protected. I might not like the idea of selling one copy and then seeing it distributed freely.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Disruptive technology has arrived. We now have the ability to put creative work in everybody's hands nearly overnight with almost no distribution cost. A person can (perhaps unknowingly) distribute millions of dollars of digital files and then be charged for it. Copyright, which was originally conceived to prevent material from immediately becoming part of the public domain (belonging to everybody), for long enough for the creator to collect some payment for their efforts, is now being used to lock content up for a long, long time (perhaps for ever if Disney get their way with Mickey Mouse). Artists can create music and not see payment for it because its being distributed freely. Some think its OK because of the extra exposure, some think its not OK.

I guess its a sign of the times. Things are moving fast enough that legislation, companies and even normal people can't keep up.
deanhills
davidfromoz wrote:
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Thanks for explaining it to me. Still murky but I get the gist of it. So why aren't they suing the software company, whose software is responsible for the file sharing?
This is a long conversation. Here is a link with a decent article that should explain the basics, as well as some of the complexities of this mess.


Dean the software that is used to share this kind of material (for the most part) has legitimate uses. For example its used to distribute software more cheaply. World of Warcraft patches, Linux software, even music which has a copyright that says it can be freely distributed can be shared using these services. So software like Bit Torrent could be said to be without blame because its makers only make a software for sharing files, they don't encourage the sharing of anything illegal. But as Solon points out its a rather complex multilayered situation.

I mostly agree with the article posted. That is I hate it when my usage of media is restricted. For me fair use is restricted by things like:

Having lived all over I have DVDs bought in various places. I don't think DVD players exist (at least they are not easily obtainable/makeable) that will play all my DVDs. The ones I bought in Japan only work on a Japanese drive, the ones I bought in USA only work on a USA drive and when I go back to Australia none of them will work. I feel justified in copying these disks to digital files that I can play without such restrictions.

The same thing with music. If I buy a CD I think its fair that I can play that music on my PC or on my portable player without paying for a second copy.

Thats broadly accepted usage I think. But even though the copyright holders haven't gone after anybody for doing this, they don't accept it being OK. In USA I believe this to be covered by a concept called "Fair use".

Now its possible to find DVDs and music CDs that try to restrict this kind of behavior by using something called Digital Rights Management (DRM). Other tricks are also used to achieve this. Usually this involves some kind of encryption that limits the use of the file. Lots of people (including me) hate this because they believe the technology and business model will eventually fail them. For example Microsoft has now twice thrown away the key to DRMed music leaving users with useless files they can no longer play (once with Plays for Sure and more recently songs on their Zune music service). Most people think that once they buy the music they should be able to play it without restriction. Thats why most people prefer unprotected files that they can use as they wish. Even here its not black and white because files can be watermarked with identity of the purchases so if millions of copies of "Stairway to Heaven" appear on the internet with "davidfromoz" watermarked into them then the source of these files is apparent.

The situation is even more complicated with digital book where the copyright holders would like to charge you again if you get a new digital book player or protect audio book sales by restricting the ability of book displays from reading the words out in audio.

If you distribute files without any DRM generally they can be freely copied.

Now some people copy music and pass it on to a few friends or a million people on the internet. Some people hate DRM so much they won't buy media with DRM and feel that copying it is legitimate because DRM is crippling the media they buy. I think a lot of people use all this as justification for receiving and using copied music against the terms of its license. On the other hand there is some appeal to the idea that this is just information and should be freely shared by humanity. But if I were to sit at home and write the next great novel I might want my ability to be paid for it protected. I might not like the idea of selling one copy and then seeing it distributed freely.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Disruptive technology has arrived. We now have the ability to put creative work in everybody's hands nearly overnight with almost no distribution cost. A person can (perhaps unknowingly) distribute millions of dollars of digital files and then be charged for it. Copyright, which was originally conceived to prevent material from immediately becoming part of the public domain (belonging to everybody), for long enough for the creator to collect some payment for their efforts, is now being used to lock content up for a long, long time (perhaps for ever if Disney get their way with Mickey Mouse). Artists can create music and not see payment for it because its being distributed freely. Some think its OK because of the extra exposure, some think its not OK.

I guess its a sign of the times. Things are moving fast enough that legislation, companies and even normal people can't keep up.
Thanks for explaining it to me in detail. All of it totally complicated, a sign in its own that it is very unhealthy. It's kind'a ironic that in the days before this problem, people could buy CD's, and copy them for their friends, but now that we have Internet, it's become quite sinful and relatively innocent people are made into examples with extreme penalties. Wish we could have a reverse situation and a class action of penalized individuals taking on the recording companies.

I did not realize how invasive it is. I remember I used to get totally irritated when I was watching a DVD (which I paid for) and it would come up with the advertisement that to make copies of the DVD is illegal, and I could not fast forward it, it went on and on and on, and it has happened to me that it went into a loop and I could not watch the movie. Something like that is an infringement of my rights as a purchaser of the DVD. Another irritation was the regional limitations on the DVDs. I'm an expat from Canada living in the Middle East, so in effect, after 5 times of switching, I can't play my DVDs purchased in Canada in the Middle East. I would have loved to build a library of favourite DVD movies, but can't purchase them online from the United States, and if I should buy a number of them in the United States and bring them to the Middle East, that could be a liability for me.

What is the law about taping shows from TV stations for personal use?

Think what really worried me was what I found from Solon's article:
Quote:
A Chilling Internet Fact of Reality
The fact that various commercial enterprises like Sony, the RIAA and the MPAA are allowed to search private files at a college or university is alarming at least. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides these commercial enterprises the right to search your personal files without a search warrant.

For me that is a total infringement of rights. One of these days people will be able to get into our computers with no restrictions. On the back of these regulations allowing those people to get into our computers, will obviously be hackers with bad intent. Whenever I hear anyone saying we need regulations, I get concerned. I'd rather that there be regulations to keep people out of my computer than allowing them access to it. Evil or Very Mad
Vrythramax
@deanhills

As far as I know you CAN record shows off the air for personal/private use (at least in the US anyway). It becomes illegal if you either try to make copies for distribution, or try to charge for viewing the copyrighted material. It is [almost] the same for software you buy online that comes via electronic delivery...you are allowed to legally make one (1) copy for backup purposes, but don't get caught trying to give away a copy (file share or plain old software piracy).

Just a note...because of all the liabilities involved it's a big no-no here at Frihost for posting torrents. It's also a very quick way to lose your hosting and get banned.
Afaceinthematrix
tingkagol wrote:
And as for Lars and Metallica, well, they are pretty much like the other bands of the 80s and 90s who feel they're being cheated off the truckload of money they used to make back in the day when the internet was non-existent. They haven't quite digested the fact that in this age, all types of multimedia can actually be made free. On the other hand, new artists come out with this in mind, and in my opinion only encourages artistry which makes it an art in the first place.


I actually like how many bands start out on the internet (myspace, soundclick, etc.). It allows you to hear some pretty incredible garage/underground bands. Some of the best bands are small internet bands. Although, those bands from the 80's did make a lot of money back then... Speaking of Metallica, they've made plenty of money from me alone (I've purchased their albums, concert tickets, etc.)

davidfromoz wrote:
The same thing with music. If I buy a CD I think its fair that I can play that music on my PC or on my portable player without paying for a second copy.


I do that too. I buy CDs but then I make copies of them and only listen to my copies. Then when my copies scratch, I go and get the original (which I keep somewhere safe) and make another copy. That way I do not have to re-buy an album that I have already purchased to listen to. I do not think that it is illegal to make copies of something that you own for your own use.

Vrythramax wrote:
As far as I know you CAN record shows off the air for personal/private use (at least in the US anyway.


There are actually quite a few restrictions in the US regarding that but I do not want to go into detail here.
deanhills
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I buy CDs but then I make copies of them and only listen to my copies. Then when my copies scratch, I go and get the original (which I keep somewhere safe) and make another copy. That way I do not have to re-buy an album that I have already purchased to listen to. I do not think that it is illegal to make copies of something that you own for your own use.
I do exactly the same. I also download a copy to my computer and mix my favourite tracks with other CDs. Smile

Vrythramax wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
As far as I know you CAN record shows off the air for personal/private use (at least in the US anyway.


There are actually quite a few restrictions in the US regarding that but I do not want to go into detail here.
Would be interesting to here about those. How would they know that the shows have been taped for personal/private use. Question
Afaceinthematrix
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
As far as I know you CAN record shows off the air for personal/private use (at least in the US anyway.


There are actually quite a few restrictions in the US regarding that but I do not want to go into detail here.[/quote] Would be interesting to here about those. How would they know that the shows have been taped for personal/private use. :?:[/quote]

I am not sure about all of the restrictions. I didn't go into detail because I am not a lawyer and I do not believe in giving legal advice where uncertainty exists. But I will give you the general mindset of many television producers and cable companies and then you can go and do the research yourself...

Movies are sometimes played on cable television. The cable channels have to pay the movie people for the right to play that movie once (or maybe more - whatever is in the contract). I then record it using my VCR. I now own the movie and can watch it as many times as I want without ever buying the DVD.

I use my VCR to record all of my favorite shows. I now have them on tapes, so why am I going to go out and buy season DVDs (many shows can be purchased on DVD. I have personally bought DVDs for many of my favorite shows)? In fact, if I have all of my favorite shows on my recorded tapes, and that's all I watch. then why not just cancel my cable subscription? The cable companies lose their money.

Broadcasters make their money buy selling some of their airtime to commercial companies. If people don't watch the commercials, they don't get their money. I don't want to watch commercials. So why don't I just record the show so that I can watch it later and fast-forward through the commercials?

I'm sure you can now see where the problems are coming up... I'll leave it up to you to check out the actual laws because I am unsure. I have heard that it is against the law to record some professional sports broadcasts. I don't watch sports, but I have slipped by ESPN a few times and seen things like "Under no circumstances can this be reproduced without expressed written permission by the NBA/MLb/Etc."
deanhills
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I am not sure about all of the restrictions. I didn't go into detail because I am not a lawyer and I do not believe in giving legal advice where uncertainty exists. But I will give you the general mindset of many television producers and cable companies and then you can go and do the research yourself...

Movies are sometimes played on cable television. The cable channels have to pay the movie people for the right to play that movie once (or maybe more - whatever is in the contract). I then record it using my VCR. I now own the movie and can watch it as many times as I want without ever buying the DVD.

I use my VCR to record all of my favorite shows. I now have them on tapes, so why am I going to go out and buy season DVDs (many shows can be purchased on DVD. I have personally bought DVDs for many of my favorite shows)? In fact, if I have all of my favorite shows on my recorded tapes, and that's all I watch. then why not just cancel my cable subscription? The cable companies lose their money.

Broadcasters make their money buy selling some of their airtime to commercial companies. If people don't watch the commercials, they don't get their money. I don't want to watch commercials. So why don't I just record the show so that I can watch it later and fast-forward through the commercials?

I'm sure you can now see where the problems are coming up... I'll leave it up to you to check out the actual laws because I am unsure. I have heard that it is against the law to record some professional sports broadcasts. I don't watch sports, but I have slipped by ESPN a few times and seen things like "Under no circumstances can this be reproduced without expressed written permission by the NBA/MLb/Etc."
Thanks Matrix. I'm doing exactly the same with my movies, although the bulk I own have been bought as I went without TV and DVDs for about 7 years and in that period bought movies and watched them on my computer. Why I was interested is to see whether there would be a way that they could monitor that you have taped the show. Looks as though there isn't. Unless you would re-use it publicly perhaps. For example someone who does a PowerPoint presentation for marketing purposes and included a DVD clip from a movie in it for example. Or companies selling TVs in large stores, and showing DVDs of Nemo for example to attract attention to sell their hardware.
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