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RIAA Confusion In Tenenbaum & Thomas Cases? 229

Posted by timothy
from the well-there-are-a-lot-of-names-yerhonor dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "There seems to be a bit of confusion in RIAA-land these days, caused by the only 2 cases that ever went to trial, Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset in Minnesota, and SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, in Boston. In both cases, the RIAA has recently asked for extensions of time. In Thomas-Rasset, they've asked for more time to make up their mind as to whether to accept the reduced verdict of $54,000 the judge has offered them, and in Tenenbaum they've twice asked for more time to prepare their papers opposing Tenenbaum's motion for remittitur. What is more, it has been reported that after the reduction of the verdict, the RIAA offered to settle with Ms. Thomas-Rasset for $25,000, but she turned them down."
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RIAA Confusion In Tenenbaum & Thomas Cases?

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  • "Lawyering is hard!"

    Push the button on his back down to make him raise his hand to object! Push the same button up and he slides an affidavit full of unmarked bills across the judge's desk! Just like in real life!

    Judge'sDeskAndNewYorkCountryLawyerVillainSoldSeparately. RIAADollVoidOutsideOfDesignatedUseAreasAndMayCausePermanentInjuryOr BankruptcyUponMissedPaymentInstallments.
  • Or do you suggest that you should be put out to pasture because every case is the same?

  • Total non-story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grond (15515) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:09PM (#30944838) Homepage

    Requests for extension of time are very common, and there's nothing unusual about the reasons given by the RIAA lawyers in the motions or for the length of extension requested. This seems like little more than an attempt to drive more pageviews to Mr. Beckerman's ad-laden site.

    • Re:Total non-story (Score:5, Informative)

      by jhoegl (638955) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:12PM (#30944862)
      ad-block-plus...
      welcome to the internets.
    • Re:Total non-story (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:13PM (#30944878) Homepage Journal

      And he has a think geek link to encourage /. to run the story.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Afforess (1310263)
      By ad-laden, I assume you mean the very small ads that are at the very bottom of his site, and are barely noticeable? Google has more ads than his site, IMO.
    • Re:Total non-story (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:45PM (#30945410)

      The attacks on Ray Beckerman are more than a little unfair, given his solid record over the years here on Slashdot. He's given a lot of free legal advice here over the years, and personally, I appreciate him. For the record, Blogspot.com is owned by Google, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that the ads are crammed in there by Google to help pay for the service. The insinuation here (and in other replies immediately following) that he simply posts here to drive people to an "ad-laden" site is more than unfair.

      I, for one, appreciate his updates on these very important cases. If you disagree with Ray's take on requests for extension, that's certainly your right (and I disagree with you, by the way; I think it's very significant in this case, given the circumstances).

      • Re:Total non-story (Score:5, Informative)

        by smpoole7 (1467717) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:02AM (#30945490) Homepage
        I must have accidentally clicked "post anonymously" when I posted the above defense of Mr. Beckerman. I wrote it and I'm not ashamed of it. :)
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I wrote that article!

      • Re:Total non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ari_j (90255) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:51AM (#30945728)
        I'm going to step in and correct one thing. I wouldn't say that he's given "legal advice" here at all. That's a special creature that includes all sorts of ethical duties. What he has done, though, is provide a great deal of legal information, clarification, and insight. I would hate for a good deed to turn into a regret by people confusing legal information for advice. At the very least, he can be appreciated for being a contributing member of the community where most people in his position would not bother.
        • It's a sad legal world we live in where "giving advice" has to be clarified as not actually giving advice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Grond (15515)

        He's given a lot of free legal advice here over the years

        I don't think he would appreciate that claim, actually. If he's been giving legal advice to essentially anonymous internet posters in a public forum he has almost certainly breached the ethical rules for lawyers. It would probably also expose him to malpractice liability if anyone relied on the advice.

        For the record, Blogspot.com is owned by Google, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that the ads are crammed in there by Google to help pay for the s

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The attacks on Ray Beckerman are more than a little unfair, given his solid record over the years here on Slashdot. He's given a lot of free legal advice here over the years, and personally, I appreciate him. For the record, Blogspot.com is owned by Google, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that the ads are crammed in there by Google to help pay for the service. The insinuation here (and in other replies immediately following) that he simply posts here to drive people to an "ad-laden" site is more than unfair. I, for one, appreciate his updates on these very important cases. If you disagree with Ray's take on requests for extension, that's certainly your right (and I disagree with you, by the way; I think it's very significant in this case, given the circumstances).

        Thank you. I appreciate that. The reality is that I make almost no money from advertising. I just spend so much time blogging and microblogging that I figure if I could make a few bucks to offset some of that time it would be helpful. Hasn't really worked out, however.

  • Settlement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:17PM (#30944908) Homepage
    I suspect Thomas will rue the day she turned down the $25k settlement. While whatever millions the jury awarded was obviously excessive, her lawyer's assertion that $1/song is appropriate is also excessive, but in the opposite direction. If the law's bite was no more than the cost of purchase for what you get caught illegally "sharing", there would be no incentive for people to be honest and pay for their music.

    Anyway, $25k is not an enormous life ruining debt. Yes, it is not trivial, but it is surmountable.
    • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:27PM (#30944968) Homepage Journal

      She did the right thing, though. If she had given up in court at 50k, the next person might have to start over in the millions.

    • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:35PM (#30945022)

      This isn't about what her lawyer asserted, it's about what the judge ruled.

      She's actually very clever to not take the settlement. Aside from the fact that there may well be someone behind her bankrolling that 25 grand difference anyway, she's more likely than not to end up paying nothing other than court costs.

      The RIAA really doesn't want that 54k verdict to become official. It would set a legal precedent, one which would more likely than not be referred to, even in other jurisdictions. It's probably relatively close to a fair number(I can't recall the details of the case at the moment), but that's really not the point. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the RIAA ends up dropping the Thomas case. It'll cost them to do so, but it will severly limit their ability to extort and intimidate future defendents.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by anagama (611277)
        Actually, it would not establish a precedent (you only get precedential decisions from appellate courts). It might be an influential decision, but no other court must follow it.

        I don't understand why the RIAA would drop the case -- sure, millions sounds better in a headline, but for most people, $54k is seen as a heck of a lot of money. The RIAA is likely hoping that parents will see $54k and be worried about what their kids are doing on the net. In that respect, it probably has an effect near to what a
        • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Vengie (533896) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:32PM (#30945346)
          IAAL. I am assuming you meant to write "IANAL." A trial court ruling, while not binding on other courts (but certainly persuasive) may in some instances be binding on that same trial court, and as a practical matter, often is even when it need not be. Also, there may be an estoppel issue for the RIAA lurking here.
          • by lorenlal (164133)

            IANAL, and if it weren't for wikipedia, I wouldn't even know what an estoppel is. [wikipedia.org]

            In fact, I still don't know what it means. I read it and my head hurts. I think I'll go back to my programming homework...

            • Re:Settlement (Score:4, Informative)

              by tomtomtom (580791) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:15AM (#30946606)
              IANAL either but my interpretation of most forms of estoppel is that they're more detailed equivalents to the playground rule of "no takebacks".
          • by ari_j (90255)
            It should also be noted that some trial court decisions are more persuasive than others. This isn't an area where it matters, but the classic example if a federal court looking to the decision of the lowest-level court in the state for some good, old-fashioned Erie guidance. But any legal writing ex cathedra, as I like to call it, from a court at any level is going to inform other courts what to do. If one court says that your damages are excessive as a matter of law, you will have an uphill battle in th
            • by Vengie (533896)
              mmmm unguided erie guesses. Did you know that the Illinois Supreme Court will only take certified questions from the Supreme court OR the 7th circuit? (talk about ridic...)
              • by ari_j (90255)
                Interesting tidbit. Something tells me that SCOTUS doesn't certify a whole lot of questions to anyone, ever.
          • Estoppel in its broadest sense is a legal term referring to a series of legal and equitable doctrines that preclude "a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has, in contemplation of law, been established as the truth, either by the acts of judicial or legislative officers, or by his own deed, acts, or representations, either express or implied.
            [From Wikipedia]

            --
    • by selven (1556643)

      there would be no incentive for people to be honest and pay for their music.

      The real world says otherwise [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by anagama (611277)
        One album by an already famous band is not exactly earth-shattering evidence. I'm sure everyone who is honest is with themselves, and who has also downloaded media via illegitimate means, will find that he/she downloaded music he/she liked and might otherwise have paid for, but did not.
        • by HuguesT (84078)

          On the contrary, I think many people would have downloaded the album just to try it for free, precisely because it is a famous band and they are not short of cash. But most people seemed to have liked it and actually paid for it *a fair price*.

        • I'm sure everyone who is honest is with themselves, and who also watched MTV during the 90's, will find that he/she listened to music he/she liked and might otherwise have paid for, but did not.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DangerFace (1315417)

          A little while ago I calculated how much I would have spent on various media if I'd paid for everything I consumed in the way that I should have. After revising the £20 000 to closer to £30 000 ($48 426.85) because I missed out e-books and various foreign media, I would like to point out that I do not have £30 000. I never have had £30 000. If I took all the money me and my girlfriend get in a year, and didn't bother taking out bills or rent or anything, I would just about have half

    • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:43PM (#30945074)

      Anyway, $25k is not an enormous life ruining debt. Yes, it is not trivial, but it is surmountable.

      Considering the damages caused by the crime, $500 would be the high-ball figure for a sane punishment. Considering the act of downloading and uploading files is at least as common as speeding and done by millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans, that should be taken into account -- it's a bad law.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)

        I was thinking $50 or $100 per song would be a "reasonable" fine so that would be about $1,200 to $2,400. (tho you could make an arguement for $50 / $100 per "album" if all the songs were from the same album).

        I think people forget that they are breaking the law and get themselves into trouble.

        While copyright has been perverted, even the original terms gave 28 years of protection. Without a reasonable but stiff fine, you don't have the original 28 years of protection.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Considering the damages caused by the crime, $500 would be the high-ball figure for a sane punishment. Considering the act of downloading and uploading files is at least as common as speeding and done by millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans, that should be taken into account -- it's a bad law.

        It's a good law, it's just being mis-applied. The copyright statutes were written with "piracy" meaning someone bootlegging your CD, stamping out thousands of copies, and selling them on the street corner. Be

    • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Informative)

      by mystikkman (1487801) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:47PM (#30945100)

      True, she makes the RIAA guys look like the good folks.. and that's hard.

      Now, “Here’s what I’m telling them,” says Jammie.

      “You guys can settle this on my terms or take it to trial and try to prove the damages.

      “You’re going to be lucky to prove more than $24 ”

      I do not understand why Slashdot continues to support this woman.
      Some background from the Wiki and http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/06/jammie-thomas-takes-the-stand-admits-to-major-misstep.ars [arstechnica.com]

      The RIAA first warned Thomas with a cease-and-desist letter and settlement offer.[when?] Thomas refused to settle, and was then sued on April 19, 2006, by several major record labels for copyright infringement.
      In the trial, the plaintiffs alleged that on February 21, 2005, Jammie Thomas shared a total of 1,702 tracks online. The plaintiffs, however, sought relief for only 24 of these.

      Two weeks after MediaSentry noted the infringement of "tereastarr@KaZaA" (and notified the user via KaZaA instant message that he or she had been caught sharing files) back in February 2005, Thomas-Rasset hauled her Compaq Presario down to the local Best Buy. There was a problem with the hard drive, so Best Buy replaced it under warranty.

      That might sound like no big deal until you realize that Thomas-Rasset later provided this new hard drive—and not the one in the machine during the alleged February infringement—to investigators and to her own expert witness. It becomes an even bigger deal when you realize that she swore under oath—twice—that she had replaced the hard drive in 2004 (a full year earlier) and that it had not been changed again since.

      Next up was Eric Stanley, who had been hired by Thomas-Rasset before her first trial to examine the same hard drive that was turned over to recording industry investigators. Thomas-Rasset at first told Stanley that the drive had been replaced in 2004, well before the alleged infringement, so this evidence looked like it would be great for Thomas-Rasset... until recording industry lawyers deposed Stanley and Thomas-Rasset on the same day. At some point during that day, Stanley heard something that led him to examine the physical drive once more during a break. It was then he found the sticker with a manufacturing date—of early 2005.

      Stanley realized he was looking at a drive that had likely not even been in the machine when the alleged infringement took place.

      So she refused a settlement offer at the very beginning even before being represented by a lawyer, then repeatedly lied under oath to judge and jury(no wonder the damages were soooooo high, juries hate being blatantly lied to and want to teach such people a lesson) and now is still being...well... a dick. Imagine if the only punishment if you get caught stealing(stealing real goods, pedants please note) was to just pay up later, everyone would just steal then and pay up later if got caught. On top of that, the $1/song is for downloading the songs, not uploading which has a bigger punishment under law since the plaintiffs potentially lost revenue. I am sure this distinction will be lost on most of the posters here again who will repeatedly say the actual damages are just $24.

      Anyway this was one of the worst cases that should have gone to court against the RIAA. They sued wrongly lots of times but this one case should've been settled long ago by Thomas, she knew she was in the wrong and tried to weasel her way out of it by lying.

      More, if you want to read:

      Why was Thomas-Rasset's password-protected computer running KaZaA in February 2005, and with the "tereastarr" name, if she had not set up the software? And since no one else ha

      • Because the enemy of Slashdot's collective enemy is our friend.
      • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by melikamp (631205) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:31PM (#30945338) Homepage Journal

        I support her cause because they cannot prove any damages at all. Them downloading a song does not actually cause them any damage.

        I also support her cause because, even if they could prove that her sharing resulted in X copies of the song being distributed illegally in a way which caused a loss of sale, then the actual damages to them would be something between X/10 and X dollars. Suppose X=25. Asking for $250 and the attorney fees would be just. Asking for $2500 would be an overkill, but they think they should get at least $25000 = 1000 times the damages, and that without ever proving the loss of a single sale.

      • by Maestro4k (707634)

        I do not understand why Slashdot continues to support this woman.

        While I find her unsympathetic at best, and am somewhat inclined to not support her going to trial a third time, that's offset by the RIAA's willingness to go for a third trial simply because they don't want the reduced award of $54,000 to be made official. I'm kinda having trouble liking either side here, but since the RIAA (in court anyway) finds $54,000 to be too little an award for sharing some 24 odd songs, I find Thomas slightly more sympathetic.

        Basically both sides are idiots and jerks, but the RIAA

      • by Tom (822)

        We support her because even if - especially if - she is a scumbag, her losing the case to these insane damages would set a precedent that the RIAA would then use to hammer down less easy targets.

        That's Business Goes To Court 101 - you hit an easy target first to establish the precedent you need to go after the real targets.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        It's hard to not be on the side of someone who has to pay thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for merely downloading 24 songs, when in fact I (allegedly) may have downloaded many more songs than that. So have most other people here on slashdot, I would imagine. The only difference between her situation and my situation is that she got unlucky, and I didn't. So even though I like to support artists (now that I've graduated from school and actually have money) and I favor reasonable copyright, I
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kwandar (733439)

        "Now, "Here's what I'm telling them," says Jammie. "You guys can settle this on my terms or take it to trial and try to prove the damages. "You're going to be lucky to prove more than $24 " I do not understand why Slashdot continues to support this woman."

        Well for one, on this point, she is absolutely correct. When I've had disputes (both ways) damages had to be PROVED. There are damages here, but the damages don't come close to $2,000 per song. When was the last time you even paid $10 per song (w

    • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Urza9814 (883915) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:44PM (#30945404)

      $54k is CERTAINLY excessive. As is $25k. This is not a criminal case. The payment is not a fine to discourage crime, it's a payment to cover the damages. She shared 24 songs. At $54k, that's more than $2k per song. And when you can buy those songs for $1 each, that's saying that she was personally and directly responsible for 2,000 people not buying each one of those songs. How is that in any way even possible? A single person sharing a single song will NEVER be directly responsible for _thousands_ of lost sales. It just doesn't work that way. And the RIAA has certainly not proven such a loss. And again, this is a civil case. The fine is not a punishment or deterrent, it is pure and simple restitution.

      For a reference:
      http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm#anchor111111 [rbs2.com]
      "In general, a losing defendant in civil litigation only reimburses the plaintiff for losses caused by the defendant's behavior."

    • by cenc (1310167)

      Anyone know what the songs she infringed go for on itunes or other online music stores?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      I was doing moderation - but I must reply here.

      COPYRIGHT law was never meant to apply to little people sharing and making personal copies. From it's earliest conception, copyright law was meant to apply to BUSINESS COMPETITION. In effect, if there was a dollar to be made from an idea, a song, a writing, then the AUTHOR should make that dollar.

      When no financial gain is at stake, it's a whole different world. If I made a thousand copies of each of my songs/movies/softwares, and GAVE THEM AWAY, I would not

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I was doing moderation - but I must reply here. COPYRIGHT law was never meant to apply to little people sharing and making personal copies. From it's earliest conception, copyright law was meant to apply to BUSINESS COMPETITION. In effect, if there was a dollar to be made from an idea, a song, a writing, then the AUTHOR should make that dollar. When no financial gain is at stake, it's a whole different world. If I made a thousand copies of each of my songs/movies/softwares, and GAVE THEM AWAY, I would not be in violation of the SPIRIT OF COPYRIGHT LAW. But, if I profited just one penny on each copy, then I would be in violation. Copyright law was, and should be, aimed at for-profit businesses, large or small. Producing copies of the Household Mover's Guide, and selling them for $20 at a truckstop late at night is a clear violation of copyright law. The motive is profit. Setting up a site where Joe Sixpack can download music for ten cents or ten dollars per month is also profit driven. Sharing a few songs via P2P is NOT PROFIT DRIVEN, and shouldn't even be in court as a copyright violation. My two cents.

        Very insightful. In the old days of copyright law (pre-RIAA madness) you never saw cases against the CONSUMER of the copyrighted material.

        E.g., if there was a flea market vendor selling unauthorized copies of something, the companies might go after the vendor but would probably go after the flea market, but would NEVER have even thought of suing the people who bought the copies.

        It took some degenerate record company sociopaths, who'd totally missed out on the meaning of the internet and digitalization,

    • by Sir Homer (549339)
      What makes you think she will end up paying a dime, even if this judgement stands? The civil court system is not designed to put defendants in debt. The RIAA has a time limit to somehow collect the damages, and that is usually no more then a few years. This is why lawyers tend to sue people who have money to begin with.
    • Re:Settlement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:28AM (#30945996)

      Anyway, $25k is not an enormous life ruining debt. Yes, it is not trivial, but it is surmountable.

      What it is, is unconstitutional.

      Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      In Australia, there are no statutory damages at all for non-commercial infringement, stricter rules about actually suing the right person, and a loser-pays system, and not one person has been sued by the recording industry in the last 15 years for file sharing. Since damages are limited to actual damages, you are actually better off to pirate, get sued (in the small claims court), and pay up than you are buying the files legitimately (assuming you download enough to cover the lawyers fees). Despite this, in

    • by aCC (10513) *

      Heh... Yes, she will rue it. Rue it hard. [penny-arcade.com]

  • Not settling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:17PM (#30944910)

    Not settling will set the precedent for future RIAA damage?

    54k seems excessive, but probably way less than what the RIAA lawyers would like to charge for their time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)

      54k seems excessive, but probably way less than what the RIAA lawyers would like to charge for their time.

      The campaign has always been about fear, never about direct profit - the economic status of the defendants prevents the RIAA from possibly getting more than 100k anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dhalka226 (559740)

      It will set a precedent, but probably not a binding one. For it to even have a shot at being binding the next case would have to be heard in front of the same court, and even then it's not hard to wiggle away.

      The reason? A precedent applies to the exact same set of circumstances. If I punch you in the nose and you sue me for $5,000, then I punch you in the nose again and you sue me again there's a precedent that the reward should be $5,000 (and let's assume it's heard by the same court and the preceden

      • by anagama (611277)
        The type of precedent it would set is called "persuasive precedent" -- this is why I phrased the case "influential" previously. "Persuasive precedent" does not require other courts to follow the same decisional route in similar circumstances. The type of precedent you are talking about, "binding precedent", is made only by appellate courts and applies only to the courts below that appellate court. So if the court of appeals above the court this decision came out of, issued a published decision, then the
        • by Vengie (533896)
          New York: Supreme Court (Trial) => Appellate Division (App Div) => Court of Appeals(Highest Court in State). Also you are not entirely correct, in some circumstances, Appellate decisions are binding to ALL lower courts, and in some jurisdictions, they are binding on only those lower courts over which they have direct review. (So the Nassau County Supreme court wouldn't be bound by 1st Department Decisions, but New York County Supreme would. N.b. In New York, this is not the case -- Appellate Decisi
      • Re:Not settling (Score:5, Informative)

        by Vengie (533896) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:35PM (#30945358)
        This is not criminal. It's civil. All of the things you cite (except one) go to damages, not liability. Going to law school has made me hate slashdot so much more.
        • Going to law school has made me hate slashdot so much more.

          Just be glad you are not of the biological persuasion. I've given up trying to discuss evolution and DNA biology around here.

          I think the only knowledge base you can count on here at Slashdot is car analogies.

      • by Evets (629327) *

        The problem with that logic is that they already have in front of them one of the worst offenders they are likely to sue. As part of this trial, they insisted that she pirated thousands of songs, that she lied on the stand, and that she destroyed evidence.

        The judge as part of his ruling, went with the ~$2500 number, in part, because she lied. Someone who does not lie, should therefore have a lesser fine.

        When you start looking at bringing similar suits to trial, if your target collection # is $20K, you are

  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:51PM (#30945118) Journal

    I would like to see a definitive, ultimate outcome along the lines of the trend I'm seeing here -- reduction of Jammie's fine from the absurdly egregious down to a level she can afford without crippling her family financially for the rest of her life, over a few unlicensed uploads.

    Yes she broke the law, there should be a penalty for the infraction, but all the settlements so far have been unjustly high. And yes, I'd like to see it played out to the point where a precedent will be set and honoured.

    The RIAA are the worst of the world's ambulance chasers. They shouldn't be allowed to win these huge entitlements, simply because they can afford to make more noise.

    Justice should be the outcome of rule by law, decent and upstanding law, not simply "rule by the loud".

  • by gweeks (91403) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:57PM (#30945164) Homepage

    Estimated actual damages

    24 songs with a $.99 retail value. Assume the $.99 is the damage per song that a sale was lost on. (That's not the case actually as the wholesale price is the damage amount.) Assume every song downloaded is an actual lost sale. (Again not true, but simple for this calculation.) Assume a seed ration of 5, so for every song 5 copies were made. (Again not true, 5 is an insanely high ratio on P2P networks as 1:1 is common.) 24*.99.*5 = $118.80 actual losses incurred. 10 times that is the constitutionally recognized limit.

    $1188.0

    That's why RIAA doesn't want the constitutionality of the damages award adjudicated.

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      At least it's good that you count the damages due to distributing, rather than just the initial downloading (as NewYorkLawyer insists on doing!)

      Your 1:1 ratio is talking about number of bytes transferred. Your calculation then presupposes that the penalty for copying half a work be half as much as the penalty for copying a full work. I don't believe that's right. So I'd take the average number of peers that you upload to, which from what I've seen is usually closer to 50. So, $11,000.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wildclaw (15718)

        At least it's good that you count the damages due to distributing, rather than just the initial downloading (as NewYorkLawyer insists on doing!)

        No. What NewYorkLawyer is counting is exactly the same. Just using a 1:1 ratio.

        Downloading costs RIAA nothing from you, because it is the one you are downloading from who is costing them money. You can't double dip. Choose which costs money, the downloading or uploading, or if you want, a ratio of the two.

        Your 1:1 ratio is talking about number of bytes transferred. Your calculation then presupposes that the penalty for copying half a work be half as much as the penalty for copying a full work. I don't believe that's right. So I'd take the average number of peers that you upload to, which from what I've seen is usually closer to 50. So, $11,000.

        In a P2P network, only the amount of data you share matters, not how many people you share with, as data flows freely between peers. In some non-P2P circumstances it may differ (copy 10 important pages of

    • by Splab (574204) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:36AM (#30946034)

      Actually I think $1188 fine would be better for RIAA, headlines with "millions in fine for copyright infrigement" while looking impressive is such a big number most people can't cope with it.

      $1188 fine is something people can releate to, that's the new television they where saving up for, the repair bill for their car or something similiar.

      Personally, if I got a fine for a bazillion dollars I wouldn't care, there is no way it would ever be repaid and they can't kill you, they might make life miserable, but there are ways around that - getting a fine for $1188 would suck hard, you can't justifiable go bankrupt, it doesn't pay to try to bail on it. Basically you would just have to suck it up and pay the damned thing.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:56PM (#30945464)

    Sooner or later everyone in the world will have heard music that they weren't entitled to hear, or seem movies that they weren't entitled to see, or read books that they weren't entitled to read.

    At that point, it's going to be hard to convince a jury people that a multimillion dollar corporation should be able to bankrupt a single mother with children because they liked music.

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:36AM (#30947536) Homepage

    The last line seems to me (as a non-lawyer, mind you) more fascinating than the headline. Offering a settlement looks like betting on a stock price: The RIAA was willing to sell its $54,000 judgement for less than HALF that amount. They must expect to ultimately get less than that.

    And Ms. Thomas-Rasset (or rather her lawyer, since nobody would make a decision like that against their lawyer's advice) seems to share that view, since she refused the settlement. They must be confident that they'll pay less than $25,000, or even nothing.

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