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Thread: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dav View Post
    The total price of the music she stole was about $24. Would they punish someone $1.9 million if they stole, say, a DVD of the same value?
    No. One is criminal charge (shoplifting). The other is a civil offense (copyright infringment).

    Statutory damages under the Copyright Act can range from $750 per infringement up to $150,000. The U.S. has a long legal history of protecting copyrights, so the penalties are severe. In the case of a DVD the music was already paid for by the retailer, so there is no copyright infringment. I'm not saying she should have to pay $1.9 million, I'm just pointing out why stealing a DVD is legally not even close to the same thing. Whether our legal system makes any sense at all is another question.
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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by stekim View Post
    No. One is criminal charge (shoplifting). The other is a civil offense (copyright infringment).

    Statutory damages under the Copyright Act can range from $750 per infringement up to $150,000. The U.S. has a long legal history of protecting copyrights, so the penalties are severe. In the case of a DVD the music was already paid for by the retailer, so there is no copyright infringment. I'm not saying she should have to pay $1.9 million, I'm just pointing out why stealing a DVD is legally not even close to the same thing. Whether our legal system makes any sense at all is another question.
    OK. If she burned a copy of her friend's 24-song CD for her personal use, would they fine her $1.9 million?
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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Just to correct a common misconception in this thread, Thomas was sued for uploading copyrighted works, not for downloading. It's entirely plausible that she uploaded the songs or parts of them (although I don't think Kazaa does chunking) to hundreds of people, which is one of the reasons that the penalties are so harsh. They are still completely and utterly excessive, but the shoplifting analogy does not quite fit.

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    Just to correct a common misconception in this thread, Thomas was sued for uploading copyrighted works, not for downloading. It's entirely plausible that she uploaded the songs or parts of them (although I don't think Kazaa does chunking) to hundreds of people, which is one of the reasons that the penalties are so harsh. They are still completely and utterly excessive, but the shoplifting analogy does not quite fit.
    More like putting tampered Tylenol back on the shelf...?

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    More like putting tampered Tylenol back on the shelf...?
    Not really, no

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    OK. If she burned a copy of her friend's 24-song CD for her personal use, would they fine her $1.9 million?
    Don't know. But proving it would be a bit tough. I'm guessing (and that's all it is) that she would not get a $1.9 million fine. If you download a song you can distribute 100,000 copies of it real quick. Burning it to CD for personal use does not steal the same song 100,000 times. That's what the crackdown is really about. One person can cause millions of copies of a song to be stolen without payment to the artist. It is certainly stealing. I don't think it warrants a $1.9 million fine. But stealing it is.
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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Why doesn't this record company sue someone who downloaded thousands of songs and allowed thousands of other people to download the songs from him...instead of someone who just stole $24 worth of merchandise? That would actually be cost-effective for them.
    She did download thousands of songs (1,700 I believe), but she was only being charged for twenty-four of them.

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    I think it would be hilarious is someone tried this same logic in other civil suits. For example, suing Lockheed or Raytheon for cheating during a bid for a defense contract. Since such corruption is pretty much never punished, you make the same argument for insane damages. If you went 90000x the damages of a 100 million dollar contract, you could sue them for 9 trillion dollars.

    So NYC, how exactly is my situation any different than yours?

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    Just to correct a common misconception in this thread, Thomas was sued for uploading copyrighted works, not for downloading. It's entirely plausible that she uploaded the songs or parts of them (although I don't think Kazaa does chunking) to hundreds of people, which is one of the reasons that the penalties are so harsh. They are still completely and utterly excessive, but the shoplifting analogy does not quite fit.
    This is more reasonable. However, can she argue that she was not responsible for the subsequent file-sharing that happened? Most non-computer saavy users have no idea how to stop Kazaa (or whatever they use) from appearing on startup. Files they download are automatically shared to other users, usually without consent. Is ignorance a defense here? Unless you go through the menus, it usually isn't in large text "All downloaded files are shared to thousands of users."

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    Re: Woman fined $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs

    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke[MaxX] View Post
    This is more reasonable. However, can she argue that she was not responsible for the subsequent file-sharing that happened? Most non-computer saavy users have no idea how to stop Kazaa (or whatever they use) from appearing on startup. Files they download are automatically shared to other users, usually without consent. Is ignorance a defense here? Unless you go through the menus, it usually isn't in large text "All downloaded files are shared to thousands of users."
    Ignorance is not a defense. Even if it were, while it's been a long time since I used Kazaa, I believe that the program does such things as ask you to select files to share during the setup in a way that makes it clear that you are making the files public. Even if it doesn't, Thomas was certainly not ignorant of filesharing software. In college she wrote a paper on Napster in which she concluded, both a bit ironically and possibly tellingly, that it was legal.
    Last edited by Kernel Sanders; 06-19-09 at 08:56 PM.

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