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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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  • Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Monday June 21, 2010 @05:50PM (#32646582)

    '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."

    Reason, and reasonableness, has never been a part of their campaign from the beginning.

    • Re:Reason (Score:4, Funny)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday June 21, 2010 @05:57PM (#32646658) Journal

      If RIAAlliance wanted to show me reason they shouldn't have sent an assasshole lawyer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        If RIAAlliance wanted to show me reason they shouldn't have sent an assasshole lawyer.

        I think those are called proctlawyergists.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Is that like twice the asshole of a regular asshole lawyer?
        • Is that like twice the asshole of a regular asshole lawyer?

          It's an asshole lawyer who is about to get ripped a new one by "The Master"

        • Re:Reason (Score:5, Funny)

          by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday June 21, 2010 @07:05PM (#32647236)

          Actually, since there is no addition operator, rules of operation dictate that a multiplication operator be assumed.

          In other words, it's an ass^2hole. I'm not sure why the hole was not squared as well, perhaps these guys are not any bigger assholes than ordinary asshole lawyers, but are significantly bigger asses than ordinary asshole lawyers?

          I don't know, douchebag mathematics stretch my reasoning abilities to the limit. I'm not even sure that what I just said is douchebagically possible.

          • by steelfood (895457)

            Well, I can't say for when the ass is squared, but if the asshole is squared, the only think you can imply is that a round peg won't go in it.

      • by Psaakyrn (838406)

        I think you need an assassin for that..

    • Re:Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

      by macraig (621737) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:33PM (#32646950)

      Reason, and reasonableness, has never been a part of their campaign from the beginning.

      That is because, as I'm sure you figured out, this is a jihad or religious war to them, and they must win at all cost. They're trying to bend AN ENTIRE WORLD to their will and way of thinking, and they can't afford to lose such a pivotal early skirmish. To them the Jammie Thomas case must appear to be the Battle of Gettysburg, they being the Confederates, and they're trying to achieve a less disastrous outcome for themselves.

      • > To them the Jammie Thomas case must appear to be the Battle of Gettysburg

        And this is Pickett's charge?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickett's_Charge [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fractoid (1076465)

        That is because, as I'm sure you figured out, this is a jihad or religious war to them, and they must win at all cost. They're trying to bend AN ENTIRE WORLD to their will and way of thinking, and they can't afford to lose such a pivotal early skirmish.

        I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that their main motivation in going straight to a third trial is nothing to do with this payout, and everything to do with avoiding a precedent. If they 'won' this case with a payout of $54k, substantially less than the cost of the trial, they've basically destroyed the financial justification for all similar such copyright infringement trials. They're not just fighting for this one guy's money, they're fighting this lawsuit for the collective payouts of all future trials w

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Only if you're a law firm trying to rack up billable hours.

          Shareholders would think otherwise and if they pursue this, it'll cause pain elsewhere as they pour a lot more good money after the
          other good money that they poured into that black pit they've made with the first bad money spent STARTING this idiot litigation
          scheme of theirs.

          "Suing our customers, hey, that'll work, right?"

      • This is being run by lawyers who get paid by the hour, ergo. nobody's dropping anything, ever.

        It goes on *forever*.

    • "Reason, and reasonableness, has never been a part of their campaign from the beginning."

      I wouldn't expect any more from a gang of street thugs in business suits.

    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday June 21, 2010 @11:36PM (#32649176)

      I believe this is one of the rare moments where NYCL has missed the point. In fact, the only one I've ever seen now that I think about it..

      This isn't about money. Here, read this bit again:

      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.

      It's right there if you read it a second time. "...more reasonable that what they appear to have in mind."

      They are not out to be reasonable. What they wish to do is to rob this poor woman not of her money but of her time, her life. One minute at a time, whatever the cost. They don't want to bankrupt her. They don't want $54,000. They want to make an example out of her. Doesn't matter if they have to spend hundreds of thousands to drag this thing out. The money isn't the point. The entire music industry is balanced on the head of a pin and these people are just that terrified that the gravy train is coming to an end. It is fear and wild reaction on a level that is hard to understand. That's why the response seems unreasonable. Because it is. On purpose. The modern day legal equivalent of these guys. [wikipedia.org]

      It has taken me 40 years on this planet to eventually figure out the fact that some people simply do not think in a reasonable fashion. It's hard when you base your life on rationality to think in an irrational manner. You see someone doing something you cannot understand and you apply your own yardsticks to it. And fail, because nothing you can come up with fits.

      These people have different motives than I could ever have - it is alien thinking. But once you know that people differ wildly from each other, you know that some people will simply be unfathomable. This is one of those times.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        "It has taken me 40 years on this planet to eventually figure out the fact that some people simply do not think in a reasonable fashion."

        most? i would say that reason is actually a very rare commodity in day to day activity. Most move around on autopilot and adapted "common sense" reactions that basically work because everyone else expect things to work that way also.

        interconnected computers, even more so now that they have become pocket sized, is having the broadest know disruptive impact ever seen by man

      • by Omestes (471991)

        It has taken me 40 years on this planet to eventually figure out the fact that some people simply do not think in a reasonable fashion

        One could argue, from the point of view of the **AA, that they are being reasonable. They view copyright as the most important thing in existence (their corporate existence depends on it, so they somewhat justified in this), so their job is to protect copyright at all costs. Hence forming industry groups like the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, etc... If we accept this view, then using t

  • '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.'

    I'm not a lawyer but I would bet they would prefer to spend $2 million to get a $1 million settlement on the grounds that all future cases could be directed at the Jammie Thomas trial for precedent on how much should be awarded without all the hassle of a Special Master. Or am I missing something in that strategy?

    A $1 settlement?! Hell, I'd start file sharing right now and keep that war chest of $1 in change on my desk close at hand.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:02PM (#32646710)

      For a case to set precedent, it has to be decided by a court that has jurisdiction over the matter. Settlements don't count. Now while they can be used informally, a thing of "This person settled with us, you should too," they have no weight in trial.

      The reason is because you can sue anyone over anything and that can settle out of court, no matter how stupid. For example suppose you sue me for being ugly. You really could file a lawsuit for that, stupid though it may be. If it went to trial, it'd get thrown out in preliminaries. However, suppose I choose to settle with you for whatever reason. That's my right. I give you $5 to drop the suit. Done and done.

      If that was precedent, you could then try to use it to file successful suits against other people, despite the fact it is clearly a stupid, frivolous, lawsuit.

      As such the court would give it no weight at all. You file another ugly suit and say "But this guy settled with me over it!" They'll say "Don't care, case dismissed, plaintiff ordered to pay court costs."

      • by 6ULDV8 (226100)

        "For example suppose you sue me for being ugly. You really could file a lawsuit for that, stupid though it may be. If it went to trial, it'd get thrown out in preliminaries."

        Unless you're ugly. Then you should settle.

      • At the preliminary hearing:

        "Mr. Sycraft-fu, I'm going to allow this case to proceed. Prima facie, this case appears to have some merit."

    • I'm not a lawyer but I would bet they would prefer to spend $2 million to get a $1 million settlement

      The judge has already ruled that the maximum they can get is $54,000. So the range of possible verdicts at the 3rd trial would be from 0 to $54,000.

      • The judge has already ruled that the maximum they can get is $54,000. So the range of possible verdicts at the 3rd trial would be from 0 to $54,000.

        But isn't that decision itself one that could be taken up on appeal should a 3rd trial reach verdict, and the judge in that case uses the prior as precedent? Granted, that would lead to quite another debacle altogether, and I shudder at the thought of it.

  • Not about $ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drumcat (1659893) on Monday June 21, 2010 @05:56PM (#32646652)
    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.
    • by fewnorms (630720)
      Don't forget that having a ridiculously high sum in judgement would most likely act more as a deterrent to current and potential 'pirates' than a reasonable one would. Or so they think. Or not. Heavens knows what these guys are thinking.
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        A rediculously high judgement is something that most people can't even relate to. It's too large for them to understand and far too large for them to ever be able to pay off. It equals BANKRUPT either way. Once you start adding extra zeros past the point where the defendant would be forced into bankruptcy, the judgement is meaningless.

        Absurd judgements against normal working class individuals have NO DETERRENT VALUE.

        Something more consistent with shoplifting would be much more effective. It would be unpleas

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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.

        • For the number of songs she was actually "sharing", $3000 is quite reasonable, as it comes out to in the neighborhood of a buck a song.

          For the number of songs that were actually involved in the lawsuit, $3000 is also quite reasonable, as it comes out to about the minimum amount the court would be able to impose as statutory damages if the court decided she was an innocent infringer and gave her the innocent infringer break.

          When you get a settlement offer that is close to the best case realistic outcome of a

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            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.
    • by fm6 (162816)

      Well yeah. But that still doesn't explain why they continue to pursue that RHS long after the judge has made it clear they're not going to get it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:00PM (#32646690)

    They should have a meeting with the President... perhaps he could "shake down" the RIAA like he did BP?

    Achievement Unlocked: Black President.

    • by Omestes (471991)

      I'm as displeased with Obama as the next guy, but how the hell did he shake down BP? They caused on of the largest oil disasters in history, he told them to set aside a small* amount of money to pay for it.

      Did the right really decide that holding corporations accountable for their actions are wrong?

      Achievement Unlocked: Black President.

      You do realize that the second you play the race card, everything single thing you said previous, or in the future is replaced by "" noise. If your stupid enough to actuall

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday June 21, 2010 @06:06PM (#32646754) Journal

    At lease IMHO. (IANAL and am not sure what ins-and-outs of possibly setting a bad precedent might be involved.)

    But assume they're after using the legal system to cause as much pain as possible for those they're after, as an example to others who might consider using file sharing services to download music, and it makes a lot of sense.

    That would be using the horrendous costs of the civil system to create the same incentive structure as the criminal justice system, but without the latter's higher standard of proof or the necessity of passing laws to actually criminalize the behavior or convincing the prosecutors to spend time going after music fans (who might just be voters) rather than rapists and murderers.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      They don't want the money, they want an example.

      They want to be able to say "Don't pirate music or you'll have to pay 90 thousand dollars a song!"

      $2500 a song (I think that's about what it came out to, I don't remember exactly how many songs it was) doesn't have nearly the same punch. They want the high judgment; they don't care if Jammie Thomas pays a dime of it.

      If they wanted the money, they'd stick with the low judgment, because that's something they are actually likely to get.

      This will go really badly

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bzipitidoo (647217)

      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

      • by Eskarel (565631) on Monday June 21, 2010 @09:26PM (#32648388)

        They didn't take a gamble on the moral rightness of copyright. They won that bit, the court decided that this woman did in fact infringe on copyright(and let's be honest, she did).

        The gamble they took was that the patently ludicrous multi-million dollar penalties they lobbied for would stand up in court when used against some dumb schmuck who wasn't sharing for profit. They lost that gamble, and they lost big time.

        One of the consequences of this is that they've basically lost nearly all of their ability to actually frighten pirates. Given your the abysmally small chance you have of getting caught and how difficult it is to prove that you were sharing any substantial number of songs, 54 grand is, to most people, an acceptable risk. Most people could arrange a payment schedule for that and wouldn't even need to declare bankruptcy. It would suck, but it wouldn't be the end of the world, and you've got a slightly higher chance of getting struck by lightning than sued for copyright infringement, even if you're the biggest pirate in the world, and the lightning strike would probably cost you more.

        The other consequence of this is that they're pretty much guaranteed to lose money on any future cases affected by this precedent. By the time you pay the investigators, file the paperwork, pay the lawyers, and all the other costs associated with something like this, you'd be lucky to break even at that kind of judgement. That's not even counting bad publicity.

        So if you can't scare people, and the process loses you money, what do you do? They've gone too far down this path to turn back and try to fight this another way, and they can't really ignore the threat to their business model.

        Law enforcement is always difficult for instances where the chance of getting caught is incredibly low. If you pile on the penalties you start looking like jack booted thugs, and if you give a fair penalty, there is no deterrent.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          One thing is sure, they've lost all the moral capital they had left after it was proven that they were systematically underpaying and overcharging the musicians. (No surprise there. Every time they've been audited there's been the same result, and never any serious penalty.)

          For the last two decades in conflicts between the pirates and the RIAA, I've considered the pirates to be the more moral party. Stupid and immoral, but less immoral than the RIAA or MPAA, or any of their member companies. It's to the

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bzipitidoo (647217)

            Hang on there folks. When you suggest piracy is immoral, I have to disagree. Less immoral than what the industry does, yes. But that's because it's not at all immoral. "Piracy" is a loaded term. We should be calling it "sharing". Copying is no more immoral than borrowing a book from the library. It's certainly less costly.

            There is nothing holy about copyright. Copyright is only a system that attempts to funnel the fairest amount of compensation possible to the originators of art and science, in or

            • by Eskarel (565631)

              No one said DRM was the answer, but if you think that taking the fruits of someone else's hard work is righteous then you're fooling yourself. Copyright is based on the fundamental human truth that everyone has to eat. It's not perfect, but its purpose is to allow people to create ideas and still eat. If they can't eat they won't create, either because they're too busy to create or because they've starved to death. It doesn't really matter if the artists get paid directly from the proceeds of their creation

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by BlueStrat (756137)

                The price of copying data has dropped to almost nothing. So what? The price of creating the data in the first place hasn't.

                As a lifelong musician, I can tell you that "creating the data", in the case of recording and publishing music, has most certainly gone down by orders of magnitude. My blues band has two CDs out on iTunes, AmazonMP3, and about 5 or 6 others and total cost (not counting the equipment we already had, but including the costs of publishing) was around $800, with physical CDs with liner

                • by Eskarel (565631)

                  The costs to distribute and record/design/print have certainly gone down, and again I am by no means advocating the behavior of the music industry(they'd have done far better using more carrot and less stick), but you still need someone to write the music, play the music, write the book, design the product, you still need someone creative, and that someone still needs to eat, even if their costs have gone down, they still need to eat.

                  • They may need to eat, but that doesnt mean they are owed payments for said work for 70+ years.
                  • by BlueStrat (756137)

                    ...to write the music, play the music, write the book, design the product, you still need someone creative, and that someone still needs to eat, even if their costs have gone down, they still need to eat.

                    All of the things you mention, like writing & playing the music, we do already as a band in addition to product design (cover & label artwork, etc) as well as the recording & publishing. Where we may differ from big-label artists is that we don't view a recording and it's sales as our product, o

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by spire3661 (1038968)
                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
                • by HiThere (15173)

                  But it doesn't favor the artists and musicians. If it did, I might almost see it as reasonable. Instead it favors the middlemen.

                  Actually, I lie. Even if it actually favored the creative people, I still wouldn't see an agreement THAT distorted as just. But it doesn't favor the creative people at all. It favors those who hire lawyers. Specialized lawyers, who charge rates much higher than those of an ordinary lawyer.

                  To put a more accurate point on it, the current laws favor a subset of people who engage

        • Law enforcement is always difficult for instances where the chance of getting caught is incredibly low. If you pile on the penalties you start looking like jack booted thugs, and if you give a fair penalty, there is no deterrent.

          This is why they're so desperately trying to make music sharing a crime under criminal law - so they don't have to spend money to catch us, just let the taxpayer funded police and justice system do it FOR them.

    • by ekhben (628371)

      All well true, but I wonder why you think (pre-conviction) rapists and murderers aren't voters too? :-)

      • All well true, but I wonder why you think (pre-conviction) rapists and murderers aren't voters too? :-)

        Some are. (Even post-conviction some are, given the lax enforcement of voting laws.)

        But "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." works both ways: The typical rapist or murderer has a long rap sheet of previous violent crimes by the time they get around to murder or even their first prosecuted rape. So one can expect a much lower likelihood of current registration and active voting among

  • Is anyone else getting a "jumble" when looking at NYCL site?
    • > Is anyone else getting a "jumble" when looking at NYCL site?
      Yeah, and what fun it is!

      TARPIE
      _( )_( )_ _

      TREKCAR
      _ _( )_ _ _( )

      MILIWERE
      _ _ _ _ _ _( )_

      ASMOTH
      _( )_ _ _( )

      GRIEFINN
      _ _( )_ _ _ _( )

      What the RIAA is suing for: **** *****(2 words, 4 letters, 5 letters)

      (BTW, slashdot: "Please use fewer 'junk' characters"... screw you)
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "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."

      -Summary
    • 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).

      You guessed wrong. They are keeping it going because every time they offer to settle for a low amount (as low as around $3-5k), she refuses and insists she will never settle.

      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.

      What miscarriage of justice? She was in fact guilty--this is not seriously in dispute. 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.

      • "She was in fact guilty--this is not seriously in dispute. 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."

        I didn't realize she had been tried and convicted of these crimes. That changes everything!

      • by mdielmann (514750)

        What miscarriage of justice? She was in fact guilty--this is not seriously in dispute.

        A miscarriage in justice can happen on a number of fronts.

        The law can be unjust. Remember, Rosie Parks broke the law. Any punishment for refusing to move to the back of the bus would have been unjust.

        The penalty for breaking the law can be unjust. Most in North America, and many in Europe (I imagine) would consider caning as a punishment for littering to be an unjust punishment.

        The enforcement and prosecution of the law can be considered unjust. There's a reason the US has a constitutional right to a sp

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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'

        • I have been following this case as closely as anyone

          No, you have not. Pretty much every reporter who has covered this case for pretty much every tech blog (CNET, Ars Technica, Engadget, etc.) has followed the case far more closely than you have.

          • I have been following this case as closely as anyone

            No, you have not. Pretty much every reporter who has covered this case for pretty much every tech blog (CNET, Ars Technica, Engadget, etc.) has followed the case far more closely than you have.

            Wow, I can't believe you are that ignorant.

            Oh wait, perhaps you work for a record company or the RIAA or their lawyers, since you claim to know the amounts of the settlement proposals; in that case, ignorance isn't a problem for you.

  • by ridgecritter (934252) on Monday June 21, 2010 @10:11PM (#32648648)
    Remember, the expenses incurred by the RIAA in these and other similarly insane actions are by and large tax-deductible business expenses. In other words, the American taxpayer is footing the bill through reduced tax revenue and corresponding loss of services and/or increased taxes elsewhere.
    • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @02:34AM (#32650024)
      The American taxpayers are also footing the bill on the cost of court times, judges, juries, building maintance costs (electric, water, oil/gas, telecommunications, etc., etc.). As much as I hate to say it, the system needs to change some, like for civil cases involving corporations, if the corporation is the party instigating the civil suite, they are required to pay the court fees in a case unless they win. This has a two fold effect, firstly, reducing the taxpayer burden on the local taxpayers, and decrees the number of cases taken to court due to the added risk involved with stupid cases being brought about.
  • From this link [blogspot.com]:

    In January of this year, the labels offered to settle the case for $25,000, to be donated to a music charity, but Thomas-Rasset declined the offer; her attorney said, "Jammie will not accept anything offer that requires her to pay money to or on behalf of the Plaintiffs."

    What kind of meaningful settlement discussion can there be then? Said "Special Master" should just say "no can do" and return it to the court.

  • How long before an insurance company brings out 'Copyright Infringment Insurance'? ... "For a monthly fee of $X, we will pay any settlement costs that are forced upon you."
    • by Entrope (68843)

      The answer to your question is "never".

      First, to be pedantic, settlement costs are never forced. Settlement is a negotiated alternative to taking a lawsuit through courts. Sometimes the negotiation is very one-sided -- "our way or the highway" -- but the defendant always has the choice to reject a settlement offer.

      But what insurance company in their right mind would do that? The people who would consider buying that kind of insurance are the ones who know (or strongly suspect) they are infringing an aggr

  • I'm sure this isn't the most popular way to look at it, but let me see if I've got this straight...

    She was found guilty, and judging by the publically available information I have to believe she is... the only disputed issue seems to be the award... and unless my math's off the RIAA was offering to settle for less than the reduced judgement the court was still holding as valid.

    And she siad no? What, on principle? "I shouldn't have to pay any amount, even if it's less than the court-reduced amount, even th

    • unless my math's off the RIAA was offering to settle for less than the reduced judgement the court was still holding as valid

      Are you saying that someone disclosed the amount of the RIAA's settlement offer? Can you cite to a source for that, or are you just referring to a rumor?

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