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Music The Almighty Buck The Courts

Judge Lowers Jammie Thomas' Damages to $54,000 390

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the no-resolution-in-sight dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Judge Michael Davis has slashed the amount Jammie Thomas-Rassett is said to owe Big Music from almost $2,000,000 to $54,000. 'The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.' The full decision (PDF) is also available."
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Judge Lowers Jammie Thomas' Damages to $54,000

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  • My favorite part (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:24PM (#30863658)
    Per NewYorkCountryLawyer [blogspot.com]:

    Judge Davis also indicated that he found even the reduced amount to be "harsh" and that, were he -- rather than a jury -- deciding the appropriate measure of damages, the award would have been even lower than $54,000. But he felt that since the jury had determined the damages, it was his province to determine only the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award.

    • Re:My favorite part (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sanosuke001 (640243) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:35PM (#30863820)
      I know it won't be as funny pointing out the irony, but it's his decision on what is the maximum amount reasonable so he goes on to say that he can't make the amount lower because it isn't his decision? How the hell did he drop it to $54,000 if it wasn't his decision?
      • by DeadDecoy (877617) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:38PM (#30863856)
        Maybe because there's some legal specification as to the min/max of statutory dmgs? As a judge he is allowed to move the slider but not change the endpoints, I'm guessing.
        • Re:My favorite part (Score:5, Informative)

          by PunditGuy (1073446) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:50PM (#30864014)
          $750 minimum x treble damages for willful infringement x 24 violations = $54000.
          • by Applekid (993327) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:00PM (#30864154)

            Treble damages? Were the shared songs THAT bad?

            • by Ossifer (703813) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:12PM (#30864316)
              Just wait until they apply bass damages...
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Trouble with trebles?

            • by smchris (464899)

              To put it in perspective, $54,000 would buy a house in her neighborhood.
               

              • by Psion (2244) on Friday January 22, 2010 @08:17PM (#30865928)
                Wow. Looks like someone just found out they paid too much money for their house.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:35PM (#30864592)

              They were MP3s - of course the treble was damaged

          • Re:My favorite part (Score:4, Informative)

            by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:13PM (#30864342) Homepage

            Well, he might have chosen to triple it, but treble damages are not part of the statute.

            Willfulness merely raises the maximum amount that can be awarded per work infringed from $30,000 to $150,000. Nothing prevents a court from awarding the minimum of $750 per work infringed even for willful infringements.

            • Re:My favorite part (Score:5, Informative)

              by EvanED (569694) <evaned@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:24PM (#30864456)

              Well, he might have chosen to triple it, but treble damages are not part of the statute.

              This is correct; the decision addresses this issue:

              Of course, the Copyright Act contains no treble damages provision. The Courts remittitur is not an attempt to create such a provision. Rather, the Court has labored to fashion a reasonable limit on statutory damages awards against noncommercial individuals who illegally download and upload music such that the award of statutory damages does not veer into the realm of gross injustice. Finding a precise dollar amount that delineates the border between the jurys wide discretion to calculate its own number to address ThomasRassets willful violations, Plaintiffs farreaching, but nebulous damages, and the need to deter online piracy in general and the outrageousness of a $2 million verdict is a considerable task. The Court concludes that setting the limit at three times the minimum statutory damages amount in this case is the most reasoned solution.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:45PM (#30863942)
        As I understand it (I'm not a lawyer):

        His decision was that the amount awarded was in violation of the principles of remittitur. As a result, it was his duty to find the absolute maximum in damages which could be awarded based on the violations. In this case, he determined that sharing 24 songs could be worth, at most, $54,000 in damages ($2,250 per song).

        He ALSO felt that, while that was the maximum in damages, he believed this case was not deserving of the maximum in damages. HOWEVER, he felt that while altering the damages awarded to be in line with remittitur were within his powers, he did not feel that lowering it further were, and thus let the judgement of the jury stand as much as possible.
        • How the hell is a song worth $2250?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Razalhague (1497249)
            It's not the downloading, it's the sharing... and sharing... and sharing...
          • Re:It's still BS (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Pulzar (81031) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:31PM (#30864532)

            How the hell is a song worth $2250?

            Minimum is $750, and that is tripled in case of willful infringement, which is what jury decided was the case.

            As he said in his ruling, you can't only look at the actual damages, since this fine needs to serve as a deterrent, too. If you are only going to pay the value of the songs you downloaded when you get caught, then there would be no deterrent to downloading songs for free.

    • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:45PM (#30863932) Homepage Journal

      ...it was his province to determine only the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award.

      If that language was used in the official decision then that means that the maximum allowable fine per song would be set to $2,250 = $54,000/24 right? Is that how legal precedence is established?

      It still seems quite high. I wonder if another case could appeal to get it lowered even further to something like, say, $5.00 per song. I mean, when you think about it, $54,000 could buy someone a 4 year education, a really nice car, could be used for a downpayment on a decent home, or, for the philanthropic, would be a very sizeable charity donation. That money that Jamie Thomas has to pay, now, could be used for some very important things that could help progress society (as in, employing a home builder or auto manufacturer, helping Jamie grow educationally to become a more productive member of society, etc.) Instead, it is going to line the pockets of some already very rich folk who are probably going to spend it on blow and hookers, or maybe, at best, a very overpriced car that contributes to little more than an ego.

      Lame.

  • by viking099 (70446) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:24PM (#30863666)

    $54,000 is still a crazy amount all things considered, but hopefully this judgment can stand as a sort of benchmark for future ones, even if it's not setting a precedent.

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      The problem is that the statutory *minimum* for copyright infringement in this case would have been $18,000. So that was the lowest number the judge could come up with. Because of the strong arguments that the behavior was "willful" and the strong need for deterrence because of the low cost of infringement and high cost of enforcement pushed him into the "treble damages" routine, just tripling the minimum number and saying that is basically as high as you can justify for the purposes of deterrence.

      Still,

      • by cetialphav (246516) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:14PM (#30864354)

        Still, I think $18,000 is a number that already more than took into effect the need for deterrence and costs of enforcement, since it's already massively higher than any actual damages or lost revenues, which are in the several hundreds of dollars.

        I think the problem with the law is that there are two different things it is addressing. This case is about an individual who shared a handful of songs with a few people with no expectation of monetary gain. For that case, a few thousand dollars is a significant deterrent.

        But there is also the case where someone decides to make a business out of selling illegally copied music. The statutory damages in the law are really meant to be a serious deterrent to this kind of business. Without being able to attach a really big number to each infringing activity, someone might decide that the risk of paying a few thousand dollars is offset by the big money you can make by selling music without having to pay any artists.

        I think the law itself is reasonable, it just gets really ugly when it is applied to individuals. They probably need to expand the law to distinguish personal file sharing from commercial intent. That could result in reasonable penalties for infringement. It sounds like the judge was doing the best he could to provide justice while still following the law.

  • Some relation? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rix (54095) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:26PM (#30863692)

    The wholesale price of 24 songs is $16.80. $54,000 is over 3,000 times the maximum possible damages.

    • Re:Some relation? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Khashishi (775369) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:29PM (#30863740) Journal

      I think you missed the "distributing" part.

    • Re:Some relation? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:31PM (#30863768)

      The wholesale price of 24 songs is $16.80. $54,000 is over 3,000 times the maximum possible damages.

      What kind of punishment would I get for shoplifting a $16 CD? Isn't petty theft like a $500 fine and community service? This guy didn't even steal anything.

      • Incorrect analogy. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RingDev (879105)

        It's not the downloading, it's the uploading.

        The correct analogy would be:

        What sort of punishment would you get is you printed off 3000 CDs of copy right protected music, and gave them away for free with out the permission of the copy right holders?

        -Rick

        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          Did they ever actually prove the uploading? I'm not trolling here, I'm actually curious ... did they download a copy from her machine, or observe it from the ISP? I can see "intent to upload" otherwise ...
          • by RingDev (879105)

            Ahh the joys of civil court. They don't have to prove that she uploaded the music, just that it is the most likely explanation.

            -Rick

        • by sjames (1099)

          Uploading 3000 copies would take quite a while on a typical broadband connection. Long enough that it seems rather unlikely any defendant has yet done it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sanosuke001 (640243)
        Saying he didn't steal anything is a bit much unless he actually had a legitimate copy of whatever songs they said he infringed. However, I would like to see them start to go after downloaders; it shouldn't be the responsibility of an uploader to make sure the downloader has a legitimate license for something.

        I know fair use doesn't allow receiving a backup of something from another individual, but it should. If it did, though, what would the great big corporations do if they could only sue downloaders
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Stormwatch (703920)

          Saying he didn't steal anything is a bit much unless he actually had a legitimate copy of whatever songs they said he infringed.

          Copyright infringement and theft are completely different, unrelated things.

      • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday January 22, 2010 @06:59PM (#30865280) Homepage Journal
        What kind of punishment would I get for shoplifting a $16 CD? Isn't petty theft like a $500 fine and community service?

        Perhaps that's the lesson to be learned here. Don't pirate music, just go down to the local music store and steal it.
    • Well, if 1000 people downloaded it (And 100% of them would have purchased it otherwise), the damage would be ~$17k. If 3k people downloaded it, damages would be == to actual losses. Now, assuming that a small fraction of users would have purchased it if they didn't download it (Let's for arguments sake say 1%), then 300k downloads would be needed to inflict around $50k of damages...

      Do I believe this? No, but this is the kind of math that would be used. Of course, you'd need to justify not only how man
      • by Firehed (942385)

        You're just going to give up and pay their $20k (10-track album) extortion charge? I'm not exactly broke, but I don't have that kind of cash sitting around in my rainy day jar. Maybe at $200 a song (which, is memory serves, isn't too far from what they ask for in the "pay up and we won't sue" letter) that makes sense.

    • Better three thousand than sixty thousand times - but it's still way too much. Hopefully the greedy bastards at the RIAA will appeal this and get slashed even lower next time.

  • Quick! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:28PM (#30863726) Homepage Journal
    Everyone get vaccinated, this outbreak of common sense might be contagious!
    Penalties that can actually be paid? Preposterous! My God man, next thing you know they'll say gay marriage is acceptable! Harumph!
  • Doesn't P2Pnet realize that Elmo is copyrighted! And yet, there they are showing a boy with Elmo on his overalls! Doesn't anyone think of the content owners??? When will this madness end???
    • That's a trademark issue, unless the image of the boy with Elmo was not under an open license. The image itself would be under a separate copyright than the trademark on elmo that could be applied.
  • They need to (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218)

    although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages

    Plaintiffs should, without a doubt, be required to prove actual damages. If they can't, their case gets thrown out. That is how it should be. I don't think it would work this way with anything physical. If someone stole a CD from a music store, that cost $10, they cost $200 in labor, and $150 in court costs, they shouldn't have to pay anything more than $500 (assuming we are inflating the price for deterrence). If I said that I shouldn't have to prove what the CD costs and say that the CD is worth $10,000

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sowelu (713889)
      Devil's advocate: What's the labor involved in tracking down P2P users? They use some pretty sophisticated tech to catch people these days--someone had to pay to develop it--and they hire agencies for the specific purpose of tracking violators and even poisoning torrents in some cases. The cost of enforcement is pretty high, so actual damages might have to include those.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        Well, I wouldn't think that for one the RIAA would want to bring these agencies to the light of law, a lot of times they use illegal methods to take down torrents and track people. Would a physical store want to hire thieves to break into homes to re-steal the items and then sue for them?
      • Re:They need to (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vagabond_gr (762469) on Friday January 22, 2010 @06:30PM (#30865018)

        The cost of enforcement is pretty high, so actual damages might have to include those.

        This is totally absurd. If I steal a bread and the bakery develops their own hitech satellite surveillance system to catch me, they couldn't possible claim that they lost a billion dollars because I stole a bread.

        If the cost of enforcement is more that the actual damages, it's a stupid business decision and clearly their problem that they chose to do it.

    • Re:They need to (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:38PM (#30863844)

      I have a restaurant. You run around town telling people we spit in each and every plate that goes out. I've lost business because of it. Are you saying I'd have to go and find each and every person that didn't come to my restaurant because of your lies? Even if I could find them all, what possible way would I have to convince them to testify for me?

      Any simple solution to a complex problem is wrong.

      • You should have to prove that at least some people didn't come to your restaurant because of it and then start from there. For example, if you can find 3 people who no longer come and will testify, you can sue from there and then increase it a reasonable number based on their testimony. If you can't find anyone, and you don't have any proof, the court case should be thrown out. Otherwise I can say anything and accuse people of libel and slander. There needs to be actual, measurable harm. When you find 3 peo
        • Re:They need to (Score:4, Informative)

          by idontgno (624372) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:05PM (#30864218) Journal

          I assume you're proposing your idea of slander and damages, not trying to recite your current understanding of the law in this area.

          IANAL, but a quick google turned up this interesting page about defamation and harm. Quoting (emphasis mine):

          The Libel or Slander must Harm or Damage the Plaintiff

          Where libel is concerned, damages are presumed and the plaintiff need not prove special harm. Special harm is harm to one's reputation that results in monetary losses. If the libelous matter requires proof of additional, or extrinsic, facts for one to understand its defamatory meaning or its reference to the plaintiff, it is called libel per quod, which does require proof of special harm.

          Slander generally requires proof of special harm. If the defamatory statement amounts to slander per se, however, the plaintiff is not required to prove special harm; damage is presumed. Slander per se includes statements that the plaintiff engaged in criminal behavior or sexual misconduct or that the plaintiff has a communicable disease. Statements that adversely affect the plaintiff's trade or profession are also slander per se.

          Read more at Suite101: The Law of Defamation: Libel or Slander and Causing Harm to Reputation http://law.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_law_of_defamation#ixzz0dNf06jQq [suite101.com]

          So, in your precise scenario, spreading lies (verbally or published) that damage my business reputation are automatically presumed to cause damage. According to this Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org], all states of the United States except Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee consider "allegations or imputations injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession" to be defamatory per se.

    • by Spazmania (174582)

      If I knee you in the groin, your actual monetary damages are -zero-. If I kick hard enough, I may even save you some money that you'd otherwise have to spend supporting children...

  • Stealing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:33PM (#30863782) Homepage Journal

    'The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music.

    I take issue with the language used. If I download and then upload a song, that's copyright infringement. If I walk into WalMart and shoplift a CD, that's stealing. WalMart has been deprived of their property. In neither case has the record company been deprived of anything. Plus, WalMart owns the CD, Warner does NOT own the music. In the US, this "property" belongs to all of us; the "content creator" has a limited time monopoly on its publication, not ownership.

    If I steal a CD and get caught I have a misdemeanor criminal charge and a few hundred dollar fine, but if I infringe copyright and get caught it costs $50k. This is better than before, but still very bad.

    • You don't think that a strict distinction between theft and infringement is just a tad pedantic?

      • When the penalty for actual, physical, potential-to-cause-real-violence theft is three orders of magnitude smaller than point-and-click infringement, then no, it's a very important distinction.

        The words "tart" and "molarity" can both be used to indicate degrees of acidity, but even though they can both mean essentially the same thing, there's an important difference.

        • by Spazmania (174582)

          Ironically you're right, but not in the way you mean. If you're not a chemist "molarity" means nothing at all while "tart" is known to anyone who enjoys food. Likewise, "infringement" holds little meaning to someone not steeped in intellectual property law while theft is comprehensible even to a child.

          When you want to explain something in a way that will make sense, it helps to use words the reader will understand. Nitpicking the precise fit of those words is the very definition of pedantry.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I take issue with the language used. If I download and then upload a song, that's copyright infringement. If I walk into WalMart and shoplift a CD, that's stealing. WalMart has been deprived of their property. In neither case has the record company been deprived of anything.

      The record company has been deprived of its right to distribute.

      Instead of talking about Walmart and stealing CDs, consider if you copied a print by a famous artist and started selling it yourself. You haven't "stolen" from the artist, per se, but you are certainly infringing that artist's exclusive right to reproduce his/her work.

      The simple version is that it isn't yours to give away, whether or not you profit from it.

  • Welp... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:35PM (#30863816) Homepage

    ...I think it is still a bit much, but it's a hell of a lot better than it was. I like that the judge acknowledged that he wasn't doing this because he sympathised with the defendant, but rather was disgusted with the punishment based on the crime. The reasons he gave for changing the amount are the way a judge SHOULD be.

  • It's a positive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:37PM (#30863842) Homepage Journal
    Yes the amount is still absurd, but at least the principle that the statutory damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages has been invoked and vindicated. My blog post is here: Jammie Thomas verdict reduced from $1.92M to $54,000 [blogspot.com] and my Slasdhot submission is here [slashdot.org].
    • by idontgno (624372)

      Until overturned on appeal.

      No, actually, that's just my inner cynic talking. IANAL, so I don't know whether the pigopolists even have an appeal path. If they have one, I can't imagine them not using it, since allowing "the principle that the statutory damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages" to stand in precedent would seem to be quite undesirable to them. Proportionality and reason are definitely not among the weapons of the RIAAish Inquisition. Reasonable limits on damages kinda

      • If they have one, I can't imagine them not using it

        I don't know about that. I think there is logic in not pushing this issue. There is no way you can tell me that $54,000 is not a deterrent. In fact, I would be more scared of that than a $2 million judgement. With $2 million, there is no way I can pay and so I can start pursuing bankruptcy to get this off my back. But $54,000 is payable over several years by most people and so it would be hard to get out of that.

        The bottom line is that they now have a judgement with a tough penalty that can stick. Als

  • The maximum actual damages is ~35 cents per infringed work, since the wholesale price is ~70 cents and the expenses are around ~35 cents. Under constitutional principles, the statutory damages awarded should not have exceeded $1.40 per infringed work, or a total of $33.60. Even the reduced award is 6428 times the actual damages, a grossly excessive amount.
    • by Nukenbar (215420) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:55PM (#30864086)

      To say that that a copyright holder could only recover his actual damages would render the law meaningless. That is why the law allows for statutory damages "in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court
      considers just." Three times the minimum does not seem excessive as a matter of law to me.

    • The judge seemed to indicate he thought $54,000 was still high, how did he settle on that number?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rich0 (548339)

      That would be the actual damages resulting from her not buying the music herself. However, her uploading did allow many others to cause the plaintiffs the same damages. We just don't know how many.

      Personally I'd probably have aimed more at $10k than $50k, but I don't think that it is unreasonable for the court to take a position that punishes people for violating the intent of a law. Otherwise, what point is there in having the law?

    • by mooingyak (720677)

      The maximum actual damages is ~35 cents per infringed work, since the wholesale price is ~70 cents and the expenses are around ~35 cents. Under constitutional principles, the statutory damages awarded should not have exceeded $1.40 per infringed work, or a total of $33.60. Even the reduced award is 6428 times the actual damages, a grossly excessive amount.

      Is that the case even if distribution is involved?

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:43PM (#30863912) Journal

    Ok, call me paranoid, but could this be an attempt to defuse the situation? $2M damages for 2 CDs worth of songs is outrageous enough to get the attention of even the most complacent. $54K, although a heavy burden, is significantly less so and (seems to me) much less likely to cause a general backlash.

    • You're paranoid. Most people in the US don't care about this case.

      You're basically accusing the record companies of controlling the actions of this judge somehow. To make such an accusation, which is serious, you ought to have some pretty good evidence.
  • Can the RIAA appeal this verdict and demand more money? NewYorkCountryLawyer, are you listening? $54,000 is still an unreasonable amount for downloading a few songs (my entire 80GByte MP3 collection only cost about $10,000). If you accept the RIAA's contention that each of these songs could be passed on to other people, who could in turn pass them on to more people, it may sound reasonable. However, it that is the case, then shouldn't the commercial price of a song on iTunes be about $2000?
  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:47PM (#30864698)

    As has been pointed out, that's roughly the value of a house in the area of the country she lives in. She's married now so I'm guessing she'll quit her job (if she hasn't already), and never work for a wage again. Since she can't get rid of the judgment by declaring bankruptcy, she has no incentive to ever earn money that will only be taken away from her.

    So the RIAA has only succeeded in removing one person from the labor pool. Congratulations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by russotto (537200)

      Since she can't get rid of the judgment by declaring bankruptcy, she has no incentive to ever earn money that will only be taken away from her.

      Unless the RIAA snuck in an extra provision to the Bankruptcy Act (and I wouldn't put it past them), civil judgements ARE generally dischargeable in bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Act ReForm bill passed a few years ago does make it more difficult to declare real bankruptcy (Chapter 7) rather than slavery bankruptcy (Chapter 13). I'm sure the RIAA would prefer to have t

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Friday January 22, 2010 @09:57PM (#30866514)

      So? I’d hire her exactly because of her refusing to cave to the bullshit reality of others.
      That makes her reliable not to fall for schizophrenia-like diseases, like religion, strong irrational beliefs, being detached from reality etc.
      Which is a great and rare quality to have.

      Also, I’d hire her for minimum legal wage, and unofficially pay her a lot more.

  • Irony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:52PM (#30864734) Homepage

    Here's a spot of irony for you...

    We used to say, "Dude, it's just infringement. It's not really theft."

    Now we say, "Christ, it's just petty theft."

  • Off-topic but (Score:4, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3NO@SPAMjustconnected.net> on Friday January 22, 2010 @07:57PM (#30865772)

    I'm a student-IT assistant at my university (it's like $40 a week, but I don't have to do anything). Part of this job is handing out infringement notices.

    I've only done a few, but I have to say - they're doing these right. First of all, they are sending out DMCA C&Ds (which is an order to remove the infringing material i.e. delete it, and not get caught again), not lawsuits. Second, they have the list of the exact files, infringing products, dates and times, and checksums - all linked to the IP address which has been duly looked up by our IT department (we are, after all, an ISP and bound by the same rules). They actually send the whole thing along as an XML file, with a custom schema

    Maybe they're just laying off a bit because it's college students. But they're really being quite reasonable IMHO - and this is coming from someone who did, and does, hate the MPAA/RIAA with the burning passion of a thousand firey suns. No lawsuits, and it effectively boils down to a warning. If it comes to it, they leave discipline to the university (who will cut of 'net access, or worse).

    Big media is still a leech, contributing little of value to the creative process - but when they make an accusation, they at least aren't being dicks about it.

    YMMV.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Friday January 22, 2010 @09:43PM (#30866410)

    Their agents found out, that this is the maximum amount they can squeeze out of her, without her declaring bankruptcy, and them getting nothing.

  • $0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmcvetta (153563) on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:29PM (#30866980)

    No damages of any amount are appropriate when the "crime" in question is virtuous act of making recorded music available to all, thereby enriching the people as a whole.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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