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Piracy The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

$616.57 Three Strikes Verdict Cost RIANZ $250,000 131

Dangerous_Minds writes "On Wednesday, we discussed news that RIANZ convicted its first file-sharer under the New Zealand three strikes law. While the fine totaled $616.57, a New Zealand Herald report points out that in order to get that fine, RIANZ had to spend $250,000. Freezenet makes an interesting point that HADOPI (France's version of the three strikes law) faced similar problems when the Socialist party commented that 12 million euros was a lot of money to pay 60 agents to send out 1 million e-mails. The question raised is whether or not this money pit trend will continue when the Copyright Alert System starts processing strike notices in the United States."
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$616.57 Three Strikes Verdict Cost RIANZ $250,000

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  • Heads on pikes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:00PM (#42761607)
    The problem is, it's worth $250K to MAFIAA. Every head publicly displayed on a pike serves a purpose: "pour encourager les autres". It's an advertising expense. Pay up, or this could happen to you, too.
  • Re:Heads on pikes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:07PM (#42761699)

    But is it? What if someone set up a fund? Every $1 you contribute costs them roughly $400. Would you contribute a buck to legally cost the RIAA/MPAA a real $400, not a fake imaginary potential $400?

    Then honeypot them with lots of tiny 1-2 file shares that will result in similar very tiny payouts. At that rate they will be bankrupt or give up within a year.

  • Defense costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:08PM (#42761713) Journal

    This works both ways. If it cost $250,000 to prosecute in NZ, it will probably cost $250,000 to defend against in the US. Any interaction with the justice system in the US is likely to ruin one, financially if not emotionally.

  • Re:Defense costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:14PM (#42761759)

    In the end, only the lawyers win.

  • Re:Defense costs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Technician ( 215283 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:14PM (#42761763)

    I wonder if this is more record labels bookeeping. We wond the case but we can't pay the copyright owner because our expenses exceeded our income.

    Anyone have an itemised list of the expenses.. What was this money spent on anyway? Sounds steep to me.. Now if only the city had to pay that rate to issue a redlight camera or photo radar ticket..

  • Easy solution. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:16PM (#42761791)

    Why is it so expensive? Because it has to go through all the legal process of gathering evidence, formal accusation, defence and so on. I predict that the next step will be for RIANZ to call for the process to be 'streamlined' by taking away all that expensive 'innocent until proven guilty' rubbish and just automating the lot: Enforcer bot finds suspect file, informs ISP, ISP adds the fine on the customer's next bill. So much cheaper than due process.

  • by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:25PM (#42761899)

    These cushy arrangements are the result of blatant political corruption. "Fund my campaign, and we'll see to it that you get these bullshit unfair laws to prop up for decaying business model and undermine the free market"

    Lobbying == legalized political corruption.

    The American disease is spreading, first to the Anglo countries, and developing countries with weak governments, then Europe, then everyone else.

    Too bad the anti-corruption movement, e.g. Lawrence Lessig's Rootstrikers can't getting any critical mass.

  • Re:Easy solution. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @12:26PM (#42761915)

    Red light traffic cameras

  • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:11PM (#42762337) Journal

    That's what Hollywood Accounting is for. They simply deduct that $250,000 expense from the artists' revenue, without asking if the artists thought that was money well spent. To add to the insult, they likely also reduce their own taxable income by that same amount.

    Still, the money they owe artists isn't enough to cover too many such court cases.

  • Re:Heads on pikes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:44PM (#42762703)

    If the guy is actually guilty,

    There is some question as to whether the girl (I know, RTFA is a crime on /.) is guilty of any infringement. She admitted to downloading one song, and that song was listed twice in the lawsuit for some reason. She says she never downloaded the other song. There was no indication that any uploading took place, but the RIANZ never had to even try to prove it, as it was assumed she had uploaded because she had been sent a notice.

    and the fine is not excessive,

    More than 150x actual damages (since she only downloaded two songs, not three) isn't excessive?

    why is it immediately necessary to attack the copyright group?

    Maybe because they are stupid for spending $250K to recover $600?

    Is there anything in this article that indicates a wrong was done to the "convicted file-sharer"?

    Because there was no "conviction". There was merely an accusation, which under the "three strikes" law is a presumption of guilt. If other laws worked that way, all I'd have to do to put you in jail for life is to say you murdered some person, without even having to prove the person was dead (or even existed in the first place). Don't like that analogy because it's criminal? OK, then you have infringed on my patent, please pay me $600, because I say so, and my accusation is proof enough that you are guilty.

  • by Slippery_Hank ( 2035136 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:08PM (#42762997)
    RIANZ has paid 250k in total, the 616 dollars represents the result of the first case. They have sent out notices to roughly 6000 alleged infringers though. So if we assume that 616 is an average results ( I know that a sample of one is not very representative ), then we can expect that they will pull in 616*6000 which is approximately 3.7 million dollars. Lets wait til the dust settles to start scoring winners and losers.
  • Re:Heads on pikes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdfl[ ]com ['at.' in gap]> on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:13PM (#42763905) Journal

    Like I said.... good luck with that.

    What basis do you have for believing that such a fund could realistically hope to cover the costs for enough cases that it might bankrupt those companies?

    And even by offering to cover such costs in advance, it might be argued (they do have good lawyers, after all) that the person infringing on copyright with advance knowledge that the fine they could expect to pay has been given economic incentive to do so (even if not a monetarily profitable one), elevating it to the level of commercial infringement, where the damages will be orders of magnitude higher. Oh, and the organizers of the fund could end up being liable for deliberate contributory infringement as well, since they would have already admitted that they intended to pay such fines.

    So.... tell me. How many volunteers do you think you are liable to get, that are willing to take the financial risks involved with financially supporting copyright infringers?

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.