Woman to Pay RIAA $220,000 For 24 Downloaded Songs

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Woman to Pay RIAA $220,000 For 24 Downloaded Songs

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One of the last individuals prosecuted for file-sharing lost her appeal against her 2009 conviction.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a Native American mother of four from Brainerd, Minnesota, has lost her Federal Appeals Court case and will have to pay a fine of $220,000 for illegally downloading and file-sharing 24 songs. Thomas-Rasset did not comment on the ruling, and it is not known if she will continue appealing her conviction. A spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said "We are pleased with the appellate court's decision and look forward to putting this case behind us."

Thomas-Rasset, whose legal battle began in 2006, is one of the few remaining defendants to be prosecuted as individuals for illegal music file-sharing. Anti-piracy groups like the RIAA had been keen to prosecute in such cases, making a public example of some to discourage others. "They're trying to create an urban legend out of me - the kid who downloaded music," said Joel Tenenbaum, another individual prosecuted by the RIAA. The heavy fines - Thomas-Rasset's damages were assessed at $1.92 million at her 2009 retrial - were sought as a deterrent, not as a means of recouping losses.

Public opinion backlash against individual prosecutions soon forced anti-piracy groups to switch targets. Instead they focused on the likes of Pirate Bay and Kim Dotcom, in an attempt to stifle the problem at its source. Thomas-Rasset is one of the few remaining individual prosecutions not to have settled.

It is unlikely that Thomas-Rasset, who works as natural resources coordinator for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, could ever pay the damages imposed. Nor does it seem likely that she would pay if she could; Thomas-Rasset has rejected RIAA settlement offers in the past for amounts as low as $4,500. At the time Thomas-Rasset described the settlement offers as "extortion".

At $220,000 total for 24 tracks, the fine effectively values songs such as "Rhythm is Gonna Get You" (Gloria Estefan), "Bills, Bills, Bills" (Destiny's Child), and "Basket Case" (Green Day) at slightly over $9,160 each.

Source: Guardian
Image: CNET

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I think Ars Technica had a thing from her lawyer about intending to appeal to SCOTUS, like that would actually happen.

I'll just leave this here:

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At least they're quality songs...right?

It sucks, but we all know what can happen when we take this risk.

And thus the RIAA continues to use the law to financially rape people. So much for the punishment fitting the crime.

So how much of that money be going to those poor musicians she ripped off?
Keep fighting the good fight RIAA. =D

She has my utmost sympathy at them coming after her, but not taking the settlement for $4,500 when the max is $220,000...IDK, but that doesn't strike me as extremely smart.

Mr.Pandah:
At least they're quality songs...right?

It sucks, but we all know what can happen when we take this risk.

Back then yeah. Although these days file sharing is dead so the risk of being sued for music downloading as an individual isn't really possible anymore.

I'm surprised the courts didn't laugh in their face when they announced the amount they wanted to sue for. This is horrible on so many levels.

DVS BSTrD:
So how much of that money be going to those poor musicians she ripped off?
Keep fighting the good fight RIAA. =D

People have to stop blaming the artists here. They make next to no money (like 12%-15%) off of music sales. Blame the labels.

As much as I hate the RIAA for raping the music industry, not taking the $4,500 settlement wasn't too smart. There's fighting for your principles but this isn't a Hollywood movie here, that's your life. $220,000 is enough of a debt to ruin your life.

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:
So how much of that money be going to those poor musicians she ripped off?
Keep fighting the good fight RIAA. =D

People have to stop blaming the artists here. They make next to no money (like 12%-15%) off of music sales. Blame the labels.

In case you couldn't tell, that was a
image

And because of this shit that the RIAA pulls off, I get the urge to go on piratebay and download everything.

Yeah, we get it, piracy is bad. But 9k per song is fucking disgusting. Just insane. She didn't kill someone. She didn't steal anything. She didn't make ANY damage at all.

Is there anyone more greedy than the music industry?

The judgment amount is not calculated by considering what each piece of music is worth you quackwads. It's considering total revenue lost because file sharing those songs*, plus court costs, attorney's fees and something like "punitive damages" which are purely meant to deter future wrongful behavior by making the punishment disproportionate to the actual damage because in many cases the actual damage is very small.

*Back to file sharing. So the defendant shares one song (valued at $1). 100 people download that song from defendant (valued at $100). To keep the math simple we'll say each of those people uploaded the song to 100 other people for a total of 10,000 uploads (valued at $10,000). This keeps going on to the extent the plaintiff can prove it, and it happens for each song. The potential revenue lost grows alarmingly. The damages calculated in these cases consider revenue lost because of the actions of the defendant. In the example above, the defendant is liable up to $10,101.00.

Lumber Barber:
Is there anyone more greedy than the music industry?

Politicians?

If you're obviously guilty, and you refuse to settle for as low as $4,500, you're stupid.

I mean, seriously. Look at the other cases of piracy and how hard people got hit for them. $4,500 is NOTHING compared to the fines they had to pay, and while I won't say that she deserved the heavy fines she received, she certainly didn't do herself any favors by turning down the deal.

90sgamer:
The judgment amount is not calculated by considering what each piece of music is worth you quackwads. It's considering total revenue lost because file sharing those songs*[snip]

*Back to file sharing. So the defendant shares one song (valued at $1). 100 people download that song from defendant (valued at $100). To keep the math simple we'll say each of those people uploaded the song to 100 other people for a total of 10,000 uploads (valued at $10,000). This keeps going on to the extent the plaintiff can prove it, and it happens for each song. The potential revenue lost grows alarmingly. The damages calculated in these cases consider revenue lost because of the actions of the defendant. In the example above, the defendant is liable up to $10,101.00.

I think most of us are aware of how they're calculating the lost revenue. I think most of us are also aware that it's a bullshit calculation because even if each download were a lost sale (they're not), it's impossible to prove.

I hope Green Day was worth it.

Punishing a regular person for something like "loss of potential revenue" when you rake in a bitchzillion dollars every two weeks is completely absurd.

Mr.Pandah:
At least they're quality songs...right?

It sucks, but we all know what can happen when we take this risk.

LMAO No it isn't, it depends on where you live and I'm not just talking outside the US, it varies from state to state.

It's a crime we've all been guilty of at one point in time and it's not like it's going to stop. Why the RIAA are picking on this woman who isn't even rich and who probably couldn't pay it anyway is beyond me.

Even if they did scare a few people into not file sharing any halfwit can download a Youtube recorder and make his own MP 3s that sound as good as any itunes or file sharing MP 3 that's free of viruses and impossible to trace.

Cost of pirating 22 songs: 136,708 pounds

Something is wrong here. Very, very wrong.

Take from that what you will. I was going to do a complex analyses pointing out just how unjust that fine is, comparing war reparations and other such lovely things. But I have better things to do then spend a while staring at a calculator.

Anyone can see that that fine is way in excess of the amount you should be fined for stealing a few songs. It does not matter if you hate piracy, it does not matter if you think she is a criminal or not for her actions.

That is about 6,000 pounds per song. Rounding down for ease.

Meh, I guess I will do some fancy maths.

Or not so fancy.

One and a half songs is equal to one year of university tuition. So 4.5 songs is equal to my bachelors degree. Consider 3.5 a year in maintenance and my entire university education is worth the same, to the RIAA, as 7 songs.

Or, if that is too complex for you to understand, according to the Aston Martin Website, a DB9 comes in at between £128,150 - £138,150. Or, In other words.

22 songs.

DVS BSTrD:

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:
So how much of that money be going to those poor musicians she ripped off?
Keep fighting the good fight RIAA. =D

People have to stop blaming the artists here. They make next to no money (like 12%-15%) off of music sales. Blame the labels.

In case you couldn't tell, that was a
image

Doesn't read like a joke :S That's the problem with written jokes, no tone.

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:

AzrealMaximillion:
People have to stop blaming the artists here. They make next to no money (like 12%-15%) off of music sales. Blame the labels.

In case you couldn't tell, that was a
image

Doesn't read like a joke :S That's the problem with written jokes, no tone.

I wanted to see if any would catch that, and fell right into my trap! >)

90sgamer:
The judgment amount is not calculated by considering what each piece of music is worth you quackwads. It's considering total revenue lost because file sharing those songs*, plus court costs, attorney's fees and something like "punitive damages" which are purely meant to deter future wrongful behavior by making the punishment disproportionate to the actual damage because in many cases the actual damage is very small.

*Back to file sharing. So the defendant shares one song (valued at $1). 100 people download that song from defendant (valued at $100). To keep the math simple we'll say each of those people uploaded the song to 100 other people for a total of 10,000 uploads (valued at $10,000). This keeps going on to the extent the plaintiff can prove it, and it happens for each song. The potential revenue lost grows alarmingly. The damages calculated in these cases consider revenue lost because of the actions of the defendant. In the example above, the defendant is liable up to $10,101.00.

"Quackwads" is that a new swear word for the PC crowd?

Anyways we know how this amount was calculated. No need to rage out and go into preach mode. But you can't seriously defend someone getting hit with a $220 000 USD bill.

And the "lost revenue" calculation argument is still BS. If it was about lost revenue they should sue her for what she stole, not what EVERYONE stole.

That's like giving a guy 45 years in jail because he stole a bike from Wal-Mart and the thief is doing to for every bike ever stolen from that Wal-Mart.

DVS BSTrD:

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:
In case you couldn't tell, that was a
image

Doesn't read like a joke :S That's the problem with written jokes, no tone.

I wanted to see if any would catch that, and feel right into my trap! >)

You trap people with poorly written jokes? What am I a prisoner to unfunny comments now?

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:

AzrealMaximillion:
Doesn't read like a joke :S That's the problem with written jokes, no tone.

I wanted to see if any would catch that, and feel right into my trap! >)

You trap people with poorly written jokes? What am I a prisoner to unfunny comments now?

There's a reason the Master is my avatar!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

DVS BSTrD:

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:
I wanted to see if any would catch that, and feel right into my trap! >)

You trap people with poorly written jokes? What am I a prisoner to unfunny comments now?

There's a reason the Master is my avatar!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The Master had better things than bad jokes to trap people with. You should be Prime Minister by now.

That is completely ridiculous. Piracy is not theft, what they are trying to do is.

AzrealMaximillion:

DVS BSTrD:

AzrealMaximillion:
You trap people with poorly written jokes? What am I a prisoner to unfunny comments now?

There's a reason the Master is my avatar!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The Master had better things than bad jokes to trap people with. You should be Prime Minister by now.

Who said I'm not? You don't think a Time Lord can multitask?

How exactly do they determine the value of a song? Do they just go by production costs for each song? Seems unlikely if each song is costing them roughly 9k each. I mean some songs have to be more or less expensive than that.

Unless they're just arbitrarily assigning a stupidly high number for each song because they can. And twirling their Snidely Whiplash mustaches the whole time.

This is why I'm grateful there's a cap on this here in blighty

Wait a second, did she download these songs or host them for filesharing?

mattttherman3:
Wait a second, did she download these songs or host them for filesharing?

You seem to be confused about how filesharing works: The two are the same.

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