Skip to comments.Court won't reduce student's music download fine
Posted on 05/21/2012 9:03:35 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg
WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court has refused to take up a Boston University student's constitutional challenge to a $675,000 penalty for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them on the Internet.
The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., who was successfully sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally sharing music on peer-to-peer networks. In 2009, a jury ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000, or $22,500 for each song he illegally downloaded and shared.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
So in response I give you: Copyright Math® and the 8 Billion Dollar iPod
Albums are internally stolen and “leaked” to the internet before the album’s street date these days and I never hear of a half-million dollar fine against the corporate flunky or critic who undercut album sales before the album even reaches the market.
Why is that? Are some of the “leaks” coordinated by publicists to generate buzz?
Cruel and unusual punishment.
Seems like the old “bird in the hand” concept is what they use on the little people and ignore the harder work of going after the big guys.
Definitely! Even saw a CSI episode once guest staring "Kid Rock" with that very issue as the assumed motive for murder. "Kid Rock" admitted he leaked the song to the guy who was murdered on purpose for the publicity.
Leaking tracks/albums is just another "tool" Bands/Labels use to create "Buzz"!
I guess we put him in debtor’s prison until he’s paid his debt. I’m sure it’s not dischargeable by bankruptcy. This country has lost her way.
The fines are excessive, but I also find it hard to have sympathy for someone who was illegally distributing music. Fix the law to make the fines match the scope of the infractions.
The point of high fines is to discourage other would-be copyright infringers and to also ensure that copyright owners have a sufficient incentive to go after thieves. If anything, the penalties are on the low side, especially if an unregistered work is infringed.
Don't worry... Obama is on top of this! He made a deal with the RIAA/MPAA and the major ISPs! Starting in July the RIAA/MPAA can accuse ISP customers of illegal downloading and the ISPs will throttle/disconnect the customer (and here is the best part) no courts or lawyers will be involved.
See they have streamlined the Justice system and removed the courts from the equation. All you need now is an accusation by the RIAA/MPAA and Bam-O you get instant justice!
Of course anyone who has had their Wireless Router hacked gets the same treatment if the hacker downloaded illegal stuff while hacking said router but hey as long as the RIAA/MPAA gets their failing business model protected its OK if we just shred the Constitution to do so... Right...?
I’m all for copyright protection, but this is simply ridiculous.
This is exactly the sort of thing that turns otherwise law abiding citizens into people who believe that the RIAA and the record companies deserve exactly what they’re getting from the torrent sites & P2P.
Also, there are unintended consequences.
One group of people making real profits off this are VPN providers. Basically you pay $10 a month and connect to the VPN network through your normal connection. All anyone looking at your traffic on the ISP level can see after you’ve done that are the encrypted packets flitting back and forth between your PC and the VPN provider.
They can tell how much bandwidth you’re using, but not where the data is coming from or going to.
Alot of ‘em openly advertise that they don’t keep logs, thus making it impossible to tell who was using a particular IP at a certain time even if they wanted to.
Its quite amusing to me that the main effect of the RIAA “crackdown” has been to drive innovations in privacy technology.
You just have to love some of these music groups, especially the gangsta rapers.... “Kill yo mama. F the police. Steal from da man. Break da white man’s laws (except for copyright laws which are good and fair laws and you should always obey these laws). Burn yo hood to da ground. Off the pigs. Toke dat joint and post yo bail.”
And who is the Lobbyist for RIAA ?
Chris Dodd, disgraced Senator from Connecticut - skedaddled out of Congress in the dark of the night before some Republican brought charges against him for taking gifts from Countrywide.
Scott free when he should be wearing stripes.
They have a “Pirate Party” in Europe that is actually running and winning Parliamentary seats on a platform of “people like the RIAA have gone too far in trying to protect their copyrights”.
Coming soon to an election near you...
You might not be able to motivate twenty-somethings to vote on the basis preserving the Constitution, but for preserving free downloading they’ll be there.
Its a civil lawsuit not a criminal lawsuit. Thus, it is completely dischargeable in bankruptcy, which is where this kid should be heading this morning.
Cruel and unusual punishment? No way! Plain old stealing. When are people going to learn that you have to pay for things you want. We have been so far removed from ethics that even FREEPERS are questioning theft and thinking it is ok. Sad how far we have gone down the tubes. No wonder Romney was nominated.
No, not at all. These songs are the intellectual property of their composers and performers. He stole them big time and deserves the punishment he gets. It's grand larceny no matter how you slice it.
And Hillary “anne romney never worked a day in her life” Rosen was a big shot at RIAA too.
Well, good luck collecting, that’s all I can say.
I’ve seen musicians on Facebook posting their “license” fee royalty checks. Thousands of plays = $0.30.
The RIAA is seeking money for their own coffers.
How much was ABC News fined when the stole copyrighted footage of Cheap Trick’s stage collapse from an individual’s youtube profile?
The networks broadcast private youtube clips every day for comedy relief and “human interest” without seeking the right to swipe it or pay any fees. The man who had the Cheap Trick footage was adamant that he be contacted about the use of his footage.
Two sets of laws. One for ABCDisney and another for private folks.
Diseny also argues that Winnie The Pooh should now be public domain. They are tied of paying the estate for the use of the characters. They also continually challenged Peggy Lee’s claims for music royalties on Lady & The Tramp.
Big Media is a fraud. They can suck lemons. They don’t pay the talent and they steal content themselves.
Yeah, as the heavy intellects above assert, he stole!
The owners don’t have anymore what he stole. Gone!
The day that music was stolen.
One of Homeland Security’s main priorities these days is “copyright protection”.
The prosecution of a gay soldier who stole and leaked tens of thousands of confidential military documents? Not so much.
And the owners can sue, just like the RIAA did here. As I said in my post, the damages are too low, not too high.
An individual going up against ABCDisney for money can expect to be in court for 20 years.
Unless I'm MegaCorp—and I am suing only to make a point (like the RIAA)—what copyright owner is going to take his chances in multi-year litigation to recover a lousy $22,000 per work?
Disney and other corporate defendants know this and use it to their advantage. The statutory damage range for infringed works should be in the millions, not capped at $30,000. Congress should be giving copyright owners adequate incentive to bring lawsuits against infringers. As it is, people can infringe with impunity knowing that there is very little repercussions for doing so.
The people COLLECTING royalties for licensed plays are collecting a hell of a lot more than the $0.30 checks paid to the artists. Even Steve Martin recently bitched about it.
Um, ok. Look, I don’t care to comment on the merits of the RIAA, but as far as Steve Martin goes, no one forced him to sign on with ASCAP or BMI or whatever. If he thinks he can do better licensing his songs/comedy albums on his own, then he’s welcome to try it.
My point is that copyright holders under the existing law get screwed because there is inadequate incentive to bring civil suits against infringers.
NONE of the revenue they collect will actually be paid to the artists that may have been overheard by customers or employees. It will be paid out based on industry “expectations” that the public must be listening to U2, Jay-Z, or Bruce Springsteen because that's what "sells".
The big lawsuit payouts won't be going to the artists who were wronged and the collection agencies will never be paying more than a pittance to the artists. While they claim to be doing it for the benefit of the artists, they are just pimping their names. As pimps, they collect the money and dole it out on rare occasion to those they pwn. Who does extending copyrights to 100 years benefit? Certainly not the creators or their estates.
I may be in the severe minority here, but I’m glad they threw the book at him.
Just wait until they start going after people who’ve been uploading music to YouTube.
The notion that downloading = stealing was invented by the RIAA,
and fools have bought it. If I download from an artist’s website, an MP3 that he’s offering, am I stealing? Or if I share this download, am I or my sharers stealing?
When my car was stolen (and it’s shameful to have to explain)
it was gone from my driveway, no car, absent, stolen.
No one is missing a downloaded MP3.
It is grand larceny but 675,000 dollars is way over the top. Are they actually saying his actions caused that much in damages? There has to be a limit one person can be expected to pay back in fines. People kill and get sent to prison for ridiculously short sentences, but download a few songs and leave your sharing port open and drop the better part of a million into the coffers. Does this kid have realy deep pockets? Do they really think this high a penalty is needed to dissuade him from repeating his actions? Or were they trying to use him as an example? Hell, just execute the little bastard scofflaw.
I think you put your finger right on the reason: they wanted to use him as an example. The draconian fine would serve to warn others of what possibly awaits them if they do what he did.
I have no idea of what an appropriate fine would be. For him, maybe something on the order of $5,000 would dissuade him from doing it again—that sure would stop me if I were doing what he did. But, as you point out, that huge fine serves as a warning to others.
“Aww, c’mon man, music should be free, ya know?”
I don’t think that needs a sarcasm tag.
They can’t prove harm done because there is no harm done. If fact the more a song is downloaded the more it sells.
“Cruel and unusual punishment? No way! Plain old stealing. When are people going to learn that you have to pay for things you want. We have been so far removed from ethics that even FREEPERS are questioning theft and thinking it is ok. Sad how far we have gone down the tubes. No wonder Romney was nominated.”
Well I sure hope, for the sake of not being hypocrites, that none of you ever burned a CD for a friend. You know, that’s illegal too right?
“It is grand larceny but 675,000 dollars is way over the top”
Yeah, and I’m reading that copyright infringement is punishable to up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 monetary fine.
In light of that, $675,000 is a bit much!
I think you're missing his point. Since when is a music CD ($20 and 10-20 songs) worth $450,000*?
A more equitable solution would be a fine of $14/song; that would be 7x the value per-song of the CD.
* -- $450,000 = $22,500 x 20; I'm using high-end, even so low-end is $225,000.
Grand larceny is typically defined as larceny of a more significant amount of property. In the US, it is often defined as an amount valued at $400 or more. In New York, grand larceny refers to amounts of $1,000 or more. (From Wikipedia)
So your claim is that two CDs worth of songs (30) is $400? I don't know where you go shopping, but I suggest hitting Amazon or Best Buy, as CDs I've gotten aren't in excess of $20 a pop.
There've been cases where I heard an anime's opening or ending song and liked it so much I ended up getting the series DVD box-set, or the CD with that song... usually from overseas in the latter case.
It seems to me that the charge involved this guy sharing “hundreds of songs” (this is from the article) with a network of “friends.” I suppose the number of friends (not quantified in the article) was substantial, hence the loss claimed by the Recording Industry Association of America.
I can see where the value of loss might be quite substantial and certainly exceeded $1,000.
Nevertheless, it seems plain to me that his case was used as an “example” to warn others not to do what he did.
What you cite is immaterial to the actual punishment; the court "ordered to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs on the Internet."
As you can see the actual punishment is for downloading 30 songs, not "sharing hundreds of songs."
And, here's a question for you; supposing this guy was using BitTorrents as his distribution and had a song that was split up into 100 'chunks' and his Bittorrent served out ONLY one of those pieces to one of a hundred different people. Each downloader only got one percent of the song, and yet only one song in total was served out. Was that one violation or a hundred?
Likewise, let us imagine a downloader who gets a song divided as above, but each of the pieces that he got were from different people. At the end he has ONE song, there were a hundred chunks downloaded from a hundred different people though; is his violation one, or a hundred.
Now, combining the two, assuming each of the sharers owns a legal copy, how much should the injured party get? A thousand from the downloader plus a thousand from each sharer? That would be $101,000 in total, and yet the total "injury" in this case is a single item.
Damn, but you are determined to prove me wrong. OK, OK, you were right and I was wrong.
I have no idea of what you’re talking about with references to stuff like Bittorrents.
As I pointed out, I thought the damages were set at such a high value to make an example of this guy by making the judgment at the amount it was. I was simply noting that it did seem like grand larceny. What do I know?
Anyway, I concede. And if you have real problems with this matter take it up with the court. Goodness, some people just want to be argumentative.
Let me address this backwards:
Yes, I've been accused of being argumentative; in this case slightly, moreso to get at what would be a just punishment though.
I have problems with "the system" but this stuff is lower on my list of priorities than others. This case is arguably a violation of the Constitution's prohibition of excessive fines; I'm more interested in fixing the more blatant/inarguable violations first.
BitTorrents are a common form of file-sharing where people on the network who have a particular piece of the requested file can share it. I picked it because it's file-type/purpose agnostic; one could argue that a program sharing only MP3s is designed for 'pirating' but BitTorrent is different in that many people use it for legitimate purposes too; such as distributing Linux ISOs or their software installer (BitTorrent giving the advantage of not overloading their servers with download-requests when popular new-releases come out).
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He was offered a $4,000 settlement and he turned it down, so they wanted to make an example of him to deter anyone else from making them go to trial. The damage award was set by the jury, not the judge, and the defendant came across very badly at trial-- he was forced to admit at trial that he had personally downloaded the songs when he had previously testified under oath, numerous times, that he hadn't. (At one point, he tried to blame his sister for downloading the songs using his computer; at trial, that was proven to be impossible.)
Thanks for that information, of which I was unaware. Very interesting!