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Defendant found guilty in RIAA suit, hit with $220,000 fine
Yahoo News ^ | 10/05/2005 | Dan Nystedt

Posted on 10/05/2007 10:27:16 AM PDT by southlake_hoosier

San Francisco (IDGNS) - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won the first of many digital music file sharing cases Thursday against a single mother, with a U.S. jury finding her guilty of copyright infringement and fining her a total of $222,000.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota could have fined Jammie Thomas as much as $3.6 million, but opted not to. She was found guilty of stealing and giving away via Internet peer-to-peer Internet file sharing Kazaa a total of 24 songs from companies including Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Records.

Thomas, a Native American, has two children.

The guilty verdict in its first ever such case is a sign the RIAA may come out victorious on more of the over 20,000 lawsuits it has filed against people in its bid to stop Internet copyright infringement. The industry association has spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns against Internet piracy and has a zero-tolerance policy against the practice.

People have been able to share music, movies, television programs, and other Internet files for years with peer-to-peer Internet sites and software. Some sites remain open, but many have been shut down by industry lawsuits and work to create laws in countries throughout the world. Companies and industry associations say they are loosing billions of dollars a year through Internet and optical disc piracy.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: filesharing; lawsuit; music; postedseveraltimes; recordingindustry; yesterday
Glad these guys have their priorities straight and getting those single moms.
1 posted on 10/05/2007 10:27:21 AM PDT by southlake_hoosier
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To: southlake_hoosier

Hollywood really has their priorities straight.


2 posted on 10/05/2007 10:29:29 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: southlake_hoosier

Well I hate to say it but if she’s downloading music and sharing, it’s illegal.

My problem is that the music industry is so late to the digital party that they’ve missed an opportunity to come up with a way for people to do it legally. Instead, they’ll just create a lot of ill will with consumers with lawsuits and the refusal to allow people to listen to music however they want to.


3 posted on 10/05/2007 10:32:09 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: southlake_hoosier
The PR from this is going to be so interesting to watch.

What will Al Sharpton do? What will the ACLU do? Since she is a native American, will her tribe allow RIAA to actually try to collect anything?

4 posted on 10/05/2007 10:33:23 AM PDT by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)
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To: southlake_hoosier
The PR from this is going to be so interesting to watch.

What will Al Sharpton do? What will the ACLU do? Since she is a native American, will her tribe allow RIAA to actually try to collect anything?

5 posted on 10/05/2007 10:33:34 AM PDT by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)
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To: southlake_hoosier

Glad these guys have their priorities straight and getting those single moms.

They should spend that money on finding real talent so that the consumer would be more than happy to buy their products. Some of the S*&^ they put out today, they should be paying us to listen to it.


6 posted on 10/05/2007 10:34:51 AM PDT by rineaux (Just say NO to taglines)
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To: Slapshot68
Well I hate to say it but if she’s downloading music and sharing, it’s illegal.

Yeah, but a single mom who traded 24 songs. Doubt she should even be on a target list other then she probably doesn't thave the money to defend herself.

7 posted on 10/05/2007 10:36:16 AM PDT by southlake_hoosier (.... One Nation, Under God.......)
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To: southlake_hoosier
Glad these guys have their priorities straight and getting those single moms.

I bet the RIAA gave the thief an oppurtunity to settle early on for about $1,500, but she rejected the offer.

8 posted on 10/05/2007 10:36:44 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Slapshot68
My problem is that the music industry is so late to the digital party that they’ve missed an opportunity to come up with a way for people to do it legally. Instead, they’ll just create a lot of ill will with consumers with lawsuits and the refusal to allow people to listen to music however they want to.

Exactly. When I want a song or an album, I should be able to go online to the music industry's site and download an mp3 file for a price... without having to join a club, without having all sorts of restrictions on how many times I can play the file, what format the file is in, etc, etc, etc. I'm convinced that most people download - not because they want to steal something or get it free but because it's just easier to get the music quicker.

9 posted on 10/05/2007 10:38:40 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: Labyrinthos
I bet the RIAA gave the thief an oppurtunity to settle early on for about $1,500, but she rejected the offer

Wonder if we can offer the RIAA money to have the record companies quit producing the crud they do, or sue them for lowering our quality of life?

10 posted on 10/05/2007 10:39:39 AM PDT by southlake_hoosier (.... One Nation, Under God.......)
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To: southlake_hoosier
already posted with lots of repleys
11 posted on 10/05/2007 10:41:19 AM PDT by janetjanet998
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To: southlake_hoosier

She WAS guilty, but that fine is insane.


12 posted on 10/05/2007 10:44:10 AM PDT by gunservative
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To: Admin Moderator
already posted with lots of repleys

Please lock post or delete. Did a search, and didn't find it. I will repley there. :)

13 posted on 10/05/2007 10:45:27 AM PDT by southlake_hoosier (.... One Nation, Under God.......)
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To: Slapshot68
Well I hate to say it but if she’s downloading music and sharing, it’s illegal.

You don't even have to download it to run afoul of the law. Using your own brain, as in listening on the radio to a tune, committing it to memory and then playing it back on your own guitar or singing it---is illegal.

Recently I was ordered by ASCAP to either pay money to them or stop playing the tunes they represent, even though I did not download or record those tunes. I guess if you repeat what I just told you, you are breaking copyright law.

14 posted on 10/05/2007 10:45:38 AM PDT by Rudder
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To: southlake_hoosier

I don’t get the 220,000. She theoretically stole $24 worth of music. Do shoplifters and others who steal small things receive this large a fine?


15 posted on 10/05/2007 10:51:59 AM PDT by ga medic
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To: ga medic

My guess would be that they calculated the number of copies-of-copies that were made from her “sharing”...


16 posted on 10/05/2007 10:55:53 AM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: jonno

OK I get it.


17 posted on 10/05/2007 10:59:18 AM PDT by ga medic
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To: Labyrinthos
I bet the RIAA gave the thief an oppurtunity to settle early on for about $1,500, but she rejected the offer.

It is usualy $3,000. Careful calculations were used. Beyond that, it would start to be worth defending. So most people just pay. The best scenario is when it is a student or someone else with little money.

Maybe they could make it easier with an Online Guilty Plea Feature! All you would need is a credit Card, or your bank routing and account numbers! Then they could have a one-click surrender, and it would come rolling in!

18 posted on 10/05/2007 11:00:34 AM PDT by Gorzaloon (Food imported from China = "Cesspool + Flavor-Straw")
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To: rhombus
I'm convinced that most people download - not because they want to steal something or get it free but because it's just easier to get the music quicker.

Walmart.com offers downloadable music. You buy the license, and you are restricted to playing it on one computer (won't work on others) and if you have a Phillips mp3 player (also sold by Walmart) you can transfer the .WMA file and still enjoy what you bought. The downside is that they are not IPOD compatible.

If you lose your music, due to hard drive crash, you download it again and call them to reactivate the license.

This system, while it has severe limits, affords their users some protection against accusations of piracy from the music industry.

19 posted on 10/05/2007 11:07:54 AM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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To: southlake_hoosier

Illegal is illegal; you are taking your chances.

Like speeding with the pack of cars; if you get singled out for a ticket it is pretty lame to say, “but everyone else was speeding too”.

She should have accepted the original deal and made a payment plan arrangement.

Plus, she had over 1,000 downloaded on her machine, they only prosecuted on a couple of dozen.


20 posted on 10/05/2007 11:09:28 AM PDT by YankeeGirl
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To: pray4liberty

What you described still sounds pretty complicated. I don’t have an Ipod I play mp3s on my PocketPC-based pda.

So when I buy a CD and “rip” it into mp3s... is that breaking the law too?


21 posted on 10/05/2007 11:11:02 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: southlake_hoosier

How many times has this article been copied and posted?


22 posted on 10/05/2007 11:11:52 AM PDT by A_Tradition_Continues (THE NEXT GENERATION CONSERVATIVE)
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To: Rudder

Are you playing for a paying audience?

If that is the case, I would think you have to pay royalties to someone.


23 posted on 10/05/2007 11:12:54 AM PDT by YankeeGirl
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To: pray4liberty
This system, while it has severe limits,

And there is the problem right there.

Why put up with such a system if one can just rip a CD or download an unrestricted copy?

24 posted on 10/05/2007 11:14:09 AM PDT by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: YankeeGirl
Plus, she had over 1,000 downloaded on her machine, they only prosecuted on a couple of dozen.

Help me out with the law... how did they know she had 1,000 downloaded? How did they know she didn't buy those songs legally and rip them into mp3s... or is that illegal too?

25 posted on 10/05/2007 11:14:45 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: southlake_hoosier

I would expect there to be a good chance that this verdict will be set aside for technical reasons, basically that “an IP number is not a human being.”

This is especially true of the vast number of people who are on WIFI computer systems. The ease in which they can be penetrated means that it is near impossible to tell “who pulled the trigger.”

And while a jury may find against her for “a preponderance of the evidence”, an appellate judge will be inclined to set aside their decision, since it cannot legally be determined that she was the one who downloaded or uploaded music.

This uses the same logic that you just can’t sue somebody because you feel like it. You have to prove that they were the ones who civilly injured you.


26 posted on 10/05/2007 11:16:54 AM PDT by Popocatapetl
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To: Slapshot68
Well I hate to say it but if she’s downloading music and sharing, it’s illegal.

Certainly, but what's the morality of charging $9,250 per song? The RIAA is getting away with it because they got a special act rammed through on their behalf.

This woman is guilty of downloading, but so far as I'm concerned any misfortune that comes to the RIAA, whether it be market extinction or some berserk plaintiff, will be richly deserved.

27 posted on 10/05/2007 11:22:50 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: YankeeGirl
Are you playing for a paying audience?
Other people are listening.
If that is the case, I would think you have to pay royalties to someone.

Or perform in a sound-proof closet.

Typical scenario under your rules.

Me: "Hey I heard this new tune today."
My friends: "Hum a few bars."
me: "I'll try."
ASCAP: "You're under arrest."

28 posted on 10/05/2007 11:31:25 AM PDT by Rudder
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To: rhombus

Once upon a time, I downloaded from Napster.

Not because it was ‘free’;

Not becuase it was ‘faster’;

it was because the record companies had what I wanted locked away in their vaults, and REFUSED to reissue it to make it available, either because of “no market”; or, in many cases, it was soooo politically incorrect.


29 posted on 10/05/2007 11:34:02 AM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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To: southlake_hoosier
I feel for this lady. Though she should have known she was on some very shaky legal grounds. Also, she should have expected the whacko jury to come up with some idiotic fine as they did.

I have yet to understand why our copyrights, digital rights, owner's rights, and usage rights are so complicated and different for different media.

I copy/rip songs and play them for a non-paying audience of as many people as I can pack into my home and they can record those sounds with their own voice recorders/cell phones . . . but I can't share the same songs with a friend online.

If I were on that jury, I would have awarded the plaintiffs with the market price for every song they could prove was on this woman's harddrive and NOT ripped from her own cd's. No file, no award. If they claimed she had downloaded thousands, where are they?

Many years ago, I was a Kazaa user myself and know that a large percentage of songs I downloaded were bogus tracks, the wrong song, incomplete, and/or corrupt and unreadable. However, I was a bit smarter than this woman as I uninstalled it as soon as the courts ruled against Kazaa. Up to that point, I wasn't sure how the legal challenge would play out.

I believe the legality issue still isn't resolved in Russia and went against the RIAA in Canada. Strange stuff.

30 posted on 10/05/2007 11:37:08 AM PDT by DesertSapper (Republican . . . for now.)
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To: Knitebane
Why put up with such a system if one can just rip a CD or download an unrestricted copy?

It may prevent you from paying a $220,000 judgment if you're caught. As ludicrous as this is, these people are not playing around.

This suit was filed to make an example out of this lady and warn would-be music pirates that they could be next. I doubt seriously that it will stop anyone though.

I prefer to play it safe. I bought my music downloads and I can prove it. It's not worth it to me to put my freedom at risk for 88 cents a song.

31 posted on 10/05/2007 12:54:04 PM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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To: rhombus
So when I buy a CD and “rip” it into mp3s... is that breaking the law too?

Technically, yes, thanks to our dated copyright laws. However, due to the sheer volume of people doing this, and the technology that makes it possible, that law would be unenforceable and the government knows that. They would have to lock all of us up--whoever has a computer (that can burn CDs), an Ipod, mp3 player, Blackberry, IPhone, etc.

Downloading music and sending it to all your friends is tracked however, and easier to prove in a copyright violation case.

The copyright laws need to be changed to allow "fair use" of a product legally obtained, perhaps up to 5 formats to keep pace with today's technology.

Some music companies, who have a little more common sense and have no desire to make criminals of their customers, allow this in their licensing (read the fine print). While that won't help this lady in her suit, it would protect the rest of us and be a good selling point, too.

32 posted on 10/05/2007 1:32:16 PM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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To: pray4liberty
It may prevent you from paying a $220,000 judgment if you're caught. As ludicrous as this is, these people are not playing around.

True. And FedGov doesn't play around either. It is illegal to remove emission control equipment from your car. Some people do it anyway.

This suit was filed to make an example out of this lady and warn would-be music pirates that they could be next. I doubt seriously that it will stop anyone though.

The purpose of a civil suit is NOT to make an example of someone. The purpose is to recover damages. The RIAA is abusing the legal system.

I prefer to play it safe. I bought my music downloads and I can prove it. It's not worth it to me to put my freedom at risk for 88 cents a song.

Doesn't matter. Let's say you're a DSL user. Most residential DSL uses dynamic addressing. Let's say that a user downloads and then shares hundreds of songs. Then he logs off. You log on and you are issued his IP address from the pool.

You just became a target for the RIAA. Hope you have a big war chest to defend yourself.

33 posted on 10/05/2007 1:53:16 PM PDT by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Labyrinthos
I bet the RIAA gave the thief an oppurtunity to settle early on for about $1,500, but she rejected the offer.

At least she won't fry in hell for eternity like the RIAA and their pond scum lawyers.

34 posted on 10/05/2007 2:42:20 PM PDT by GunRunner (Thompson 2008 - Security, Unity, Prosperity)
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To: rhombus
So when I buy a CD and “rip” it into mp3s... is that breaking the law too?

..yes according to the lawyer

35 posted on 10/05/2007 4:28:34 PM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: Slapshot68
Technology has made the term "copy" irrelevant to real life.

The courts are a pitiful way to come up with a "fix".

36 posted on 10/05/2007 5:31:39 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Dick Vomer
That lawyer's real name is Ms. Canute ~ like in "King Canute" who stood there ordering the tide to stop.

Eventually these guys go completely out of business. A couple of more enhancements and each of us will be able to buy a "music robot" that composes and plays music on the spot with no copies. The machine compositions will be superior to any you've ever heard and will attract human beings in every culture and country.

I suspect the player will cost about $127.39 and the software around $3298.49.

37 posted on 10/05/2007 5:35:29 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: southlake_hoosier

The RIAA is dead, and simply does not know it yet.

It has been long past time to bury that exploitive Dinosaur outfit.

My contention is that you cannot own music or creativity.


38 posted on 10/05/2007 5:36:48 PM PDT by Radix (When I became a man, I put away childish things)
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To: Rudder

Wouldn’t you want your own work copyright protected?

If you wrote a song or lyrics how would you feel hearing it being played on the radio or performed by another artist doing a concert?

You may not write music or lyrics for the financial gain, but certainly some people do, and their work should be protected.

What if you recorded a musical piece (your own or something you had permission to record) and heard it on the radio knowing you were getting no royalties for it, though the station was charging advertisers and making money?

And you didn’t answer whether you were playing for a paying audience. “Other people are listening” is vague and evasive.

I know my own kids do illegal downloading, though I strongly discourage them. It’s also a violation of the computer usage policies at their schools. I don’t understand it, especially when it only costs about a buck a song to legally download. (I frequently buy them gift cards for downloading music.) If they get nailed by the RIAA they will not have my sympathy, and being over 18, they will be responsible for paying whatever fines they incur.


39 posted on 10/06/2007 4:43:36 AM PDT by YankeeGirl
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To: Knitebane
You log on and you are issued his IP address from the pool.

Maybe you should have been this lady's defense attorney?

40 posted on 10/06/2007 11:27:33 AM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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To: southlake_hoosier

Who owns these copyrights? If the individual music composers own the copyrights, shouldn’t they be the people suing this lady? If the RIAA owns these copyrights, then the RIAA is benefiting from other people’s work.


41 posted on 10/06/2007 11:46:26 AM PDT by Repeal 16-17 (Let me know when the Shooting starts.)
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To: Knitebane
You just became a target for the RIAA. Hope you have a big war chest to defend yourself.

If you're making the point that the RIAA can accuse me of theft, sure they can. They can accuse you, too. Technically, no one with Internet access is "safe." But the burden of proof is still on the RIAA. If there is no evidence whatsoever on our computers that will prove their allegations, i.e. pirated songs and the like, they have nothing. They cannot trump up evidence that was never there.

My former attorney/boss advised me years ago to keep good records, even receipts paid for by cash, and I do. Not only does Walmart.com have the records of my paid-for downloads, I also have printed receipts of all my purchases, and for good measure, the charges are on my credit card. I can prove my music is legally purchased. Can you?

While I heartily concur that the legal system is being abused here, this is what passes for justice in America. Making an example of a defendant happens all the time. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a joke.

42 posted on 10/06/2007 12:16:57 PM PDT by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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