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If You Can't Pay the Fine, Don't Do the Download

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 5, 2007

A jury verdict awarding the music industry $222,000 in damages from a single mother who illegally downloaded 24 songs has inspired a lot of silly commentary, including the Gizmodo headline “Idiotic Jury Awards RIAA $222,000 for 24 Pirated Songs.”

The Freedom to Tinker blog has a good post by Ed Felten on why the RIAA won this landmark case. I have no brief whatever for the RIAA and I think that suing your customers is perhaps the stupidest business strategy ever. But the law is what the law is, not what we may wish it were. And, as this case demonstrates, the law is heavily on the side of the record companies. So unless you have a defense a lot better than Jammie Thomas, the losing defendant in this case, you’d do well to settle if the RIAA comes calling.

Reader Comments


October 6, 2007 2:01 PM

In the words of Tony Blake's "Barretta" character on the old TV show: "If you can't do the 'time' don't do the crime"!!!

Larry Pratt

October 7, 2007 4:24 PM

Its best to buy your music at yard sales


October 7, 2007 5:12 PM

What, the RIAA got compensation for pain and suffering? What a load of crap. At the most, they should have been compensated for the actual value of the "stolen" property, the songs. Plus lawyers fees perhaps.

Steve Wildstrom

October 8, 2007 6:04 AM

@PEEP--Copyright law provides for statutory damages, that is, a range of damages set by law. The award has nothing to do with compensation for actual loss.

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

October 8, 2007 6:06 PM

I am all for the fine imposed. But may I have my say.
In Tanzania and in the African continent we have the similar graft. There is one giver. If there is no taker there would be no giver. So it takes two to play tango. The giver is as rotten as the receiver.
Here who do you penalize? Only the lady who pirated? What about those who carried on encouraging the pirating?
At times USA law amazes me.
I thank you
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044

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