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The Courts Music Piracy The Almighty Buck

Special Master Appointed In Jammie Thomas Case 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the judicial-patience-waning dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "There has been another odd development in the Jammie Thomas-Rassett case. You may recall that after the judge reduced the RIAA's verdict from $1.92 million to $54,000 on the grounds that $54,000 was the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award, the RIAA opted for a third trial instead of allowing judgment to be entered. Its reasoning in making that call has never been clear, since there seemed little point in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a trial which could produce no more than a judgment for $54,000 or less. Apparently the court thinks taxpayers' money could be better spent, and has appointed a 'Special Master' to bring about 'meaningful settlement discussions,' with the Master's $400-per-hour fee to be paid by the RIAA. One commentator suggests the RIAA should at this juncture just say, 'Thanks Jammie, we've had all we can get out of you and caused you enough grief — pay us $1 and we'll forget about it.' Actually doing that would be a lot less costly and more reasonable that what they appear to have in mind."
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Special Master Appointed In Jammie Thomas Case

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  • Future cases (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:07PM (#32646762)

    You seem to be missing one thing. (Actually, this is NYCL, so I doubt it. Anyways...) The RIAA doesn't want to set a precedence for future court cases. Yeah, they might be wasting money on this case, but as long as Thomas pays them an exorbitant fee, they're happy. The next case will move much faster, they won't have to invest as much, and they will still get their $1.92 mill. If this settles for *only* $54,000, then the next case will also settle for around that range. Then they're fucked: future cases will also follow this one, and they can't threaten people with million dollar lawsuits. They don't care how much they spend on this one, they just want future cases to have the million dollar rewards so they can recover their costs. Doesn't this sound like a fucked up business model?

  • I'm guessing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:49PM (#32647102)

    I'm guessing the RIAA are keeping this going just to avoid setting any 'dangerous' legal precidents that would undermine their future cases (like $54k being the most they can ever sue for from now on).

    I'm totally amazed that none of the judges have found the RIAA guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Jammie Thomas. I think she should countersue the RIAA for their ridiculous miscarriage of justice.

  • An example? Certainly won't be the example they meant to make.

    The RIAA took a very foolish gamble. They have such faith in the concept and moral rightness of copyright and the law that they were sure the courts could not fail to uphold it. They've deluded themselves, ignoring and denying the painful fact that technology has enabled the undetectable transfer of entire libraries in moments. Only takes one finger sized flash drive to hold what used to fill an entire shelf of vinyl records, and the flash drive can be copied in a few seconds. But just to be extra sure, they picked on someone they thought was weak, who would cave or fatally screw up immediately. Apparently didn't think of the possibility this would push their victim to put up the ferocious defense of a cornered animal. Or of the fact that even in winning, they lose. They made her into a martyr when it seemed they had won. I can't think of any other reason why they'd gamble like that. Thought they could not lose.

    But the RIAA can't win this no matter what they do. And now, with the direction this case has taken, seems the RIAA can't even score a draw or pull out with a token loss. So they're going for broke. I wonder if this case could bring the law up to date with reality by weakening copyright law to the point of irrelevancy. Copyright itself is dying, and all this is doing is calling attention to how sick copyright law is.

  • Re:Reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macraig (621737) <mark@a@craig.gmail@com> on Monday June 21, 2010 @08:53PM (#32648192)

    Others seem to think you're the terrorist, since you've been modded as Troll not once but twice. It's also worth noting that "jihad" != "terrorism", except in the mind of a poorly educated and/or un-insightful person. To such a person I might have indeed sounded "like those people", but apparently not to visitors here. I think you underestimate your fellow Slashdotters, which is possibly why you were modded as Troll; nobody likes being judged as ignorant, and much less so when it's not true.

  • Re:Reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Monday June 21, 2010 @09:18PM (#32648340)

    It's also worth noting that "jihad" != "terrorism", except in the mind of a poorly educated and/or un-insightful person.

    I just want to be clear that I never intended to say you're using the word incorrectly. It's the style of its use I have issue with. It reminds me of people shouting 'terrorist' whenever a certain presidential candidate was mentioned. Frankly, that was not that long ago.

    To such a person I might have indeed sounded "like those people", but apparently not to visitors here.

    I think they accept it because they really don't like the RIAA. I'm not perfect. I'd love to pretend I'd practice what I preach 100% of the time, but I wouldn't have brought it up if you were describing Sony's attempts to thwart home-brew on the PSP.

    I think you underestimate your fellow Slashdotters, which is possibly why you were modded as Troll; nobody likes being judged as ignorant, and much less so when it's not true.

    I will be up front and tell you that I definitely do not think as highly of them as you do. That may ruffle a few feathers, but least I am not trying to BS my way out of claiming otherwise. However, I do not believe the troll mod was because I was saying anybody was ignorant. I think the Troll mod was because I was sucking the fun out of attaching a term to the RIAA that would turn public opinion against them. I do not believe that's the method to use to fight back against these guys. To me it's in the same spirit as "Godwin's Law" and it does not lose its strength just because the RIAA are a bunch of life-ruining jerks. It's hard, especially in recent years, to take a point seriously when you paint those who oppose you as a caricature of themselves.

    This extreme-label approach only works in the short term. Once enough people start parroting it, other people get annoyed with hearing the same phrase over and over again and take a stand against it. This is how fanboys are created.

  • Re:Not about $ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:42PM (#32648842) Homepage

    They would rather have a ridiculous sum in judgement than to seek the reasonable. A reasonable verdict is what they want to avoid because if we start seeing reasonable verdicts, the headlines go away, and the lawyers' gravy train ends

    They repeatedly offered to settle for a reasonable amount. She repeatedly refused.

    She is an idiot. After she got caught, she lied on the stand, she tried to frame her kids, and she tried to destroy evidence. Any sane person would have accepted one of the early, low, settlement offers.

  • Re:I'm guessing (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @11:41PM (#32649218)

    Why on earth would she do that if she was guilty? I don't buy it. It just doesn't flow logically. If she was guilty she would have settled. Therefore the only reason she didn't settle is she didn't think she was guilty.

  • Re:Not about $ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @01:12AM (#32649710)

    They repeatedly offered to settle for a reasonable amount. She repeatedly refused.

    What were these 'reasonable' amounts? $3000 is what I've heard for pretrial settlements, and THAT is way beyond reasonable to me.

  • every time they offer to settle for a low amount (as low as around $3-5k), she refuses and insists she will never settle

    What is the source of your information on that? Do you work for the record companies or their lawyers? I have been following this case as closely as anyone, and I have no information as to who made what offers, and who refused what offers.

    They offered to settle for an amount much lower than they were likely to get at trial. She refused, and when on to perjure herself while under oath, try to frame her kids, and try to destroy evidence. Any suffering she is undergoing is her own fault.

    Again, how would you know what settlement offers were made, or what was rejected, and what information do you have leading you to believe Ms. Thomas-Rasett perjured herself. It sounds to me like either (a) you do work for the record companies, or their lawyers, or (b) you're just making this stuff up, and have some personal agenda which you haven't shared with us.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @01:13PM (#32655174) Journal
    Copyright is also based on the fundamental truth that no art is created from void and that you OWE us for your education, safety etc. IM not saying that people dont deserve to get paid, but the social contract that is copyright has been extremely distorted to favor content creators, and thats not right either. There needs to be a balance brought back so that works can continue to enter public domain in a reasonable fashion. NO one should be making money from a copyright 50 years after its creation. Thats a drain on our culture and needs to be addressed before we can even begin to talk about 'piracy'.
  • Would you mind telling us where you are getting your information as to the amounts of the settlement offers? I have no such information, and I am not aware of anyone other than the participants having such information. And the numbers you keep bandying out sound quite unrealistic, based on my information about other RIAA cases.

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