Ars Technica has been doing a good job of following the Jammie Thomas-Rasset infringement case. Let me say it now. I believe this woman is guilty and probably should pay a fine. In a sane world you’d pay for what you stole plus an appropriate punitive amount to get the point across that stealing is bad. Say $20 per song. That way she’s paying about the amount of a CD per song maybe even up to $100 per song if you can prove she was flagrant and was lying to the court. That is NOT what happened.
We are not living in a sane world. The jury decided that she should pay the RIAA over 1.8 MILLION dollars for 24 songs she illegally shared on the Kazaa filesharing network. 1.8 MILLION dollars, that is around $80,000 dollars per song. She wouldn’t have faced such an amount if she had been found guilty of stealing 24 CARS! Corporations have paid less when found guilty of poisoning people. WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE?
Non-commercial infringement as a crime can be charged $750 – 150,000 per infringement. WHAT THE FUCK WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN IF YOU THINK SHARING A SONG IS WORTH $80,000 much less $150,000? This law is bad. The amounts involved are not even in the same universe as the amount of damage done to the corporate entity it is protecting.
I thought our copyright laws were enacted to get ‘works’ into the public so as to enrich our culture and enter the public domain by providing a TEMPORARY monopoly on the work to the artist. Steamboat Willy is STILL copy protected and the man that drew it AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS CAREER has been dead over 50 years.
Something is terribly terribly wrong with our copyright laws.