$222,000 for sharing 24 songs

Good thing copyright infringement law isn’t punitive or anything (David Kravets, “RIAA Trial Produces Playlist of the Century”, Wired News, Oct. 4; more; Recording Industry vs. The People, Oct. 5; via Sullivan). Meanwhile, from the same state, same day, comes word that a school bus driver who pleaded guilty to drinking on the job has been fined $482. (“Bus driver pleads guilty to alcohol charge”, AP/Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Aug. 5; Lileks via Reynolds). More: Declan McCullagh, “Why the RIAA should have won (though the fine was too high)”, CNet, Oct. 5.


  • Nations that respect intellectual property have 3% growth rates in a good year. Nations that do not respect intellectual property have growths of 9%. Thank the rent seeking lawyer and useless, fee generating IP laws for our lagging growth.

  • Correlation does not imply causation. The 9% growing nations are poorer and also engaged in extensive rather than intensive development, which is (a) easier and (b) benefits greatly by stealing IP.

    Disresepecting IP would bring the USA no bonus from theft of technology, and wouldn’t change our nation’s business model to something easier to grow with.

  • Within the US, Congress ended the enforcement of medical methods patents, over 10 years ago. Medical progress now has an accelerating acceleration.

    You invent a great procedure. You have a short time before everyone else, just as smart, learns how to do it. To stay rich, you have to invent another great improvement in two, not in twenty, years.

    Which regime benefits both the surgeon and the patients more?

    IP began when Elizabeth I gave her brilliantly inventive pals the Statute of Monopolies. The term represents the pace of change of 1623. The term should be shortened by a year, every year, until it reaches a more realistic five years or less.

    After five years, try selling a copy of 99.999% of all songs, or inventions. You will need to pay people to take these off your hands. Only antique collectors will have any use for that obsolete junk. The value of the downloaded songs was about 99 cents each. That should have been the verdict. The outrageous verdict will not even reach the producers, the artists. I doubt it will even reach the record companies. It will reach only the lawyers. That verdict suspiciously resembles a legal fee, more than any other possible reasonable value.

  • I don’t disagree that current IP law is very twisted, to the detriment of society. I was merely taking issue with poor reasoning to that effect.

  • Supremacy Claus: Have some bizzarity.

    6 seconds of breakbeat from 1969 inspired an entire genre of music, and has further become ubiquitous in the modern day.

    The original artists haven’t seen a dime.

    On one hand, it’s wonderful and amazing that, 20 years past its original cut, a piece of music has become so useful and widespread.

    On the other hand, how do you deal with that? The equivalent of an invention received to little fanfare but which, 20 years later, becomes the foundation of an entire industry?

    I don’t have any answers. Do you?

  • The woman is appealing the case:

    Minnesota woman to appeal $220,000 RIAA award

  • Question here: Since they now have a verdict in hand finding her guilty of making available 24 songs, to the tune of $9,250 ea. Can they go back and file another case for the other 976 songs they say she was also making available? After all that figure (based on this award) comes out to over 9 million.

  • If the value of the songs is really one dollar, each, where does the $9000 figure come from? If it comes from legal costs, it violates the American Rule of each party’s paying its own legal fee.

    Enjoyed the video. Copyrighting that break would have hurt our economy, and decreased the motivation of the artist to create new ones. It would give us the stultified economy of Renaissance England, with uncreative people maintaining monopoly strangleholds on sectors of the economy, and discouraging innovation. This is a bad idea from the very bad past.

  • […] formulas that go into creating it. Of course, the concept of “mathematics” being largely a mystery to our judiciary and press, I guess a ruling like this (and the resulting crickets) is inevitable. […]

  • […] defends accused file sharers” and runs a blog called Recording Industry vs The People that is often cited in coverage critical of Recording Industry Association of America and its massive litigation […]

  • […] Koman, “RIAA loses $222K verdict against Jammy Thomas”, ZDNet, Sept. 25; earlier here and […]