Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Music Available only $9,250 a song

The biggest news story today was a guilty verdict against 30 year old, Jammie Thomas of Minnesota. This story was even picked up by the Aljazeera Network. You know how evil those American women are!

A jury found in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America and ordered the mother of two young boys to pay $220,000 or $9,250 per song that she allegedly shared over the Kazaa P2P service.

Clearly, a single song isn’t worth ten grand but the verdict wasn’t based on Ms. Thomas downloading music to her personal computer. The RIAA didn’t even have to prove the files still existed on her computer. The price tag was based on a simple premise that by making these files available she was a distributor of copyright material.

According to the judges instructions to the jury #15

“The act of making copyrighted sound recordings available for electronic distribution on a peer-to-peer network, without license from the copyright owners, violates the copyright owners’ exclusive right of distribution, regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown.”

The penalties for just "making a file available" to millions is judged to be a more serious infringement then just illegally downloading a song to your own computer. Given this hotly debated instruction, proof of any transfer didn’t even need to be proven.

If you read Bits from Bill because you’re interested in my personal opinion I’m not sure there is enough room here to share all my thoughts.

Do I think the judgment is excessive?
Yes. It’s very unlikely a sufficient number of those who may have downloaded a file from Ms. Thomas would have ever made legal purchases of the song to generate $9,250 in revenue.

Who are the real winners?
Lawyers, ITunes and other pay download sites, not necessarily the music industry or artists.

Message from Jammie Thomas

"Some of you have sent me messages asking where to send money to assist with paying this debt. I must tell you first, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your kindness. Now, this debt isn't finalized. There are more options available my attorney is currently seeking out before I am stuck with this ridiculous bill from the RIAA. We'll worry about the debt part once it's finalized that I will have to pay it. Also, other's have been asking where to send money to assist with an appeal (I'm not saying there will be one yet, but there might be). If you feel you would like to help with an appeal, any correspondance can be sent to my attorney, otherwise known as Batman :D, at the address below. IF you decide to send something (and please do not take this as me asking, I know alot of you are in the same financial boat as I am, so I could never ask you to send money), please send it marked with my case number 06cv1497 Capital Records v Jammie Thomas, to:"

Chestnut & Cambronne
Attn: Brian Toder
3700 Campbell Mithun Tower
222 South Ninth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Apologies to regular readers and Email readers for any duplication of this information. My last post was flawed by my efforts to report news and try make a point which really didn’t apply to this case.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My last post was flawed by my efforts to report news and try make a point which really didn’t apply to this case."

But it was a good point. At this time, the RIAA is going after those who make files available rather than those who just download them.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The RIAA can't go after just those who download, why?

Because it's millions, likely including the RIAA members themselves, I would bet $ on it.

Anyone this greedy has skeletons...

This is certainly bad PR/karma if nothing else.

12:28 AM  

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