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Piracy The Almighty Buck The Courts Your Rights Online

Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing 728

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt, following up on yesterday's announcement of the 1.5 million dollar verdict against Jammie Thomas: "This week a federal jury handed down the verdict in the third file-sharing trial against a Minnesota mother of four who has been fighting against the charges brought by the RIAA since 2005. Understandably, a lot of people are outraged by this verdict and while reading through comments about the fine on some online forums, I saw some interesting opinions on how these fines should be assessed. The point that $62,500 per song is excessively high seems to be something that everyone can agree on, but what actually is fair seems to be a big point of contention."
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Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

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  • Re:Ill gotten gains (Score:3, Informative)

    by IB4Student ( 1885914 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @07:59PM (#34143372)
    Giving away for free??? That's even worse than selling it! http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/11/riaa-giving-music-away-for-free-worse-than-charging-for-it.ars [arstechnica.com]
  • Re:None. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @09:01PM (#34144114)

    It was generally commissioned by private collectors.

    Public consumption of art skyrocketed with the invention of copyright.

  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:21AM (#34146532) Homepage Journal

    Justice is about being fair to everyone - not the opposite.

    This isn't about justice.

    Tort law is about activity that does harm to one party, but does not rise to the level of criminal activity. The law in these sorts of cases is not seeking "justice" in the Old Testament, evil-deeds-must-be-punished way. It's seeking redress for a harm that has been done, not assigning guilt. When Chemical Co. X dumps pollutants into the river in violation of state law and gets sued into making payments to the victims, unless the company was criminally negligent, the goal is to assign a dollar value to the harm and essentially fix the harm. Sometimes a harm is so massive (children born with birth defects, for example) that assigning a monetary value to it seems repugnant, but it's the only practical means of efficiently obtaining resolution.

    Generally speaking, plaintiffs don't go after those who can't pay. That's why in an airplane crash or building structural failure or similar event you'll hear about plaintiffs suing everyone they can find. They do so so the harms done to them can be redressed by someone; they don't really care whom. Again, it's not about intent and affixing of moral blame. It's about distributing resources as efficiently as possible, so the aggrieved party can be compensated and future damage can be avoided.

    The damages awarded to a successful plaintiff also serve a signaling function to other parties who might be contemplating the same noncriminal but harmful behavior. The goal is not necessarily to enrich the plaintiff (because, as in this case, the plaintiff will never collect the awarded damages), but to show those who might be tempted to follow in the defendant's footsteps that it's a bad idea to do so.

  • Re:Hang on... (Score:3, Informative)

    by znerk ( 1162519 ) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @04:09PM (#34148728)

    This is bullshit, I'm from Switzerland and we get fined based on how fast we were going. I've never heard of this story or this practices, and I have gotten plenty of speeding tickets (well my g/f, I don't drive but whatever).

    Time Magazine disagrees with you [time.com], as do the BBC News [bbc.co.uk], Huliq [huliq.com] and 0-60 Magazine [0-60mag.com].

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.