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Music Piracy The Almighty Buck The Courts

Listen to the RIAA's Appeal In Jammie Thomas Case 225

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA doesn't really like free mp3 files floating around but here's one you can access legally — the audio file of the June 12, 2012 oral argument of the RIAA's appeal in Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset. At issue in this case are (a) the RIAA's 'making available' theory and (b) the constitutionality of large statutory damages awards for download of an mp3 song file. The lower court rejected the making available theory, and reduced the jury's verdict to what the judge considered the maximum possible award of $2250 per file. I'm predicting the Court will affirm. After listening to the oral argument, what do you think?"
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Listen to the RIAA's Appeal In Jammie Thomas Case

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  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @10:19AM (#40322269)
    A lot of the numbers, arguments, evidence etc. don't make a jot of sense to us. It's all pie-in-the-sky hyperbole and backwards Hollywood accounting, where a song which makes $0.99 per sale from a retailer is worth $150,000 if downloaded and shared.

    You're the lawyer; You tell us!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @10:36AM (#40322465)

    Its one more nail in the coffin of an outdated model that serves as an example of a few industries that have failed miserably to embrace new technology and god forbid adapt to changing circumstances, and instead are abusing the courts to keep an outdated methodology in place, massively stifling innovation in the process.

  • For better or for worse, Thomas waived the "making available = distribution" argument, and argued only the Constitutionality of statutory damages in a case with an argument for no actual damages... But by basically stipulating to distribution, she no longer can make the argument that this is just about a single download, the "noncommercial individual file sharing at issue in this case."

    Additionally, the argument seems to not be focused on the statutory range at all - which is a mistake when they're arguing about the Constitutionality of the statute. Rather, on page 5, Thomas notes that the damages could be as low as one song times the minimum, or dozens of songs times the maximum, and then compares this to a range of "$50 to $10,000,000"... But that's not the range in the statute. Instead, at best, it's an argument that dozens of instances of infringement of independent works should be treated only as infringement of a single work, and I can't see the court deciding that Congress lacked a legitimate reason for not writing the statute that way.

    Also, from her brief: "If the recording companies are correct, then they are claiming that Congress considered and approved damages ranging from one song times the minimum ($250) to thousands of songs times the maximum (hundreds of millions of dollars or more)." That's just sloppy. Either he means $750 or he means $200, but which is not clear.

  • How about this one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @10:51AM (#40322641)

    Artificial scarcity is morally wrong and economically harmful.

    Business models that involve data should not be dependent on artificial scarcity.

    We can revisit the old artificial-scarcity model when and if the predicted-but-never-demonstrated cultural impoverishment (a hypothesized result of a lack of new content which is a hypothesized result of a lack of financial incentive to create which is a hypothesized result of the inability to wring every last penny out of everyone that receives a copy of the data) actually happens (which it won't).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @11:26AM (#40323035)

    you think the RIAA made music-at-our-finger-tips possible?

    you are a schmuck.

    you know what made it possible? consumers.

    consumers that said "fuck your model"

    the music industry only begrudgingly made changes.

    it's taken decades.

    we don't need the RIAA or the industry, they need us.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @11:33AM (#40323139)

    I can buy almost any song ever made using my telephone and within a minute or so it will be available for listening, having been downloaded as a I sat in a cafe drinking coffee.

    Do you know why you can do that? I'll give you a hint, it ain't cos of the RIAA.

  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @11:57AM (#40323435)
    I'd like to see an "Intellectual Property Tax" passed on the rights holders, I bet the songs aren't valued by the holders at 150,000 per track anymore at that point....
  • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:02PM (#40323477)
    I came across this analogy.. paraphrased.

    Claiming losses on sales that never happened in the first place is like this.

    Say littering gets you a $100 fine. Say if you spent all day littering in front of a police station, you could rack up $5000 in fines. This means if you don't litter, it's like saving $5000/day, which means people who don't litter at all are "saving" more than $1.8mil/year. They're all rich!
  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:15PM (#40323601)
    It's "cheaper" and less legally risky to go to the store and shoplift the CD or game than it is to Download it...
  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:27PM (#40323709)

    Hate to jump on this war, but wow... you are so wrong! The historical stifling is hopefully something that no reasonable person can deny-- the attacks that the RIAA made on Mix-Rip-Burn, the adherence to the album model long after it was dead, and killing sites that made it possible for people to discover music and become music consumers again.

    Even today, the RIAA doesn't like the model that is out there-- they really want to push a limited catalog of super-hits, and generate ongoing revenue from their back catalog that has been purchased over and over again based solely on the need to media shift. They also are responsible in a large part for the complexity in international music sales, the challenges of internet radio, Pandora, and the like. They serve to promote formulaic music that is most likely to be successful.

    While I can't speak for everyone here, the real problem isn't just the RIAA, but the MPAA and whatever the comparable association is for television. Copyright extension to its current level is one of the biggest problems, but their push for additional revenue streams is even worse. All three associations need to regroup (RIAA has come the farthest) and re-align themselves to the brave new world.

    (And yes, I realize the RIAA does not do anything, they are simply a trade group for the labels. The transgressions of the labels and RIAA are much more easily lumped under a single umbrella.)

  • by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:41PM (#40323885)

    And CPU. Remember when we graduated from MP2 to MP3? I needed a new computer just to play them!

  • by Rasperin ( 1034758 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:46PM (#40323943)
    Not only all of the above, but the copyright laws make it hard to create a valid small business with new ideas and concepts. You have to fight and essentially be ventured by the RIAA or MPAA to start a media serving company. They crush any new ideas that aren't restriction on media access, and if they can't crush them they fight tooth and nail to allow them. See iTunes when it was originally released, the RIAA fought it hard to stop apple. Pandora ended up in court several times with the RIAA before they allowed it to go through. And this is just the RIAA, let's not even start with the MPAA and their content restrictions. How they've destroyed many online rental companies, forcing companies like Hulu (which is owned by the MPAA) to check if you have cable (coming soon to a computer near you!).
  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:58PM (#40324109) Homepage Journal

    You are sort'a right. But not really.

    I still have around somewhere the first CD-Rs from around 1996-1998 filled with the MP3s of the music which was literally impossible to buy at the times. CD-R were rather expensive - but it was worth it. Cheap harddrives were already 2-4GB in size. For some of my friends, fans of death metal, the warez channels (P2P wasn't yet widespread enough) were pretty much only way to acquire some of the music (at good quality). Some of the world music and classical performances picked at the times I still can't find on CDs/better to this date.

    And download speeds were not that bad either: you just queue stuff up in the evening and voila - next day morning it's finished! If something larger - leave it for the weekend. In a way, the Internet was faster in the times: I never had to wait for download to finish. :)

  • by Shagg ( 99693 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:08PM (#40324275)

    Not so - MediaSentry downloaded from Thomas, and recorded it. There's plenty of proof that she uploaded.

    What about contributory infringement? If the only proof of an upload was induced by an agent working on behalf of the copyright owner, is that really infringement?

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:40PM (#40325023)

    You must be new here.

    Moderating is not a job. Its a randomly handed out optional task to normal users.

    Unfortunately a significant number of these volunteer moderators use it as a Disagree/Agree scale rather than
    pay any attention to the content or reasoning in the post.

    As to your arrogance of commenting on the IQ of an entire community based on the graffiti of the few, I'm not sure it does much to further the discussion, but it probably allows you to thump your chest a bit and feel all smug. Congratulations: You've "Won the Internet".

  • In actuality, Jamie Thomas made thousands of songs available. The RIAA only picked a small subset for trial. .... Wonder why they only tried to go for a mere 30 or so?

    Think it could it have anything to do with the fact that there's no such thing as "making available" in US copyright law?

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"