Weekend tech reading: What's a fair penalty for piracy?

By on November 7, 2010, 1:29 PM
What is a fair penalty for illegal file-sharing or piracy? This week a federal jury handed down the verdict in the third file-sharing trial against a Minnesota mother of four who has been fighting against the charges brought by the RIAA since 2005. The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song. Myce

AT&T Supreme Court case could cripple your legal rights For years Judges have been telling ISPs (both wireless and terrestrial) that they can't ban a customer from joining a class action lawsuit by using fine print in user contracts. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast have all tried (and failed, in the eyes of the law) to instead force users to accept binding arbitration, a system of complaint resolution companies prefer because the firms they hire to do this service rule in the corporations' favor 95% of the time or more. Now AT&T's taking the issue to the Supreme Court. DSLReports

Lifting of blogger's story triggers online furor A magazine accused of publishing a blogger's story without permission has seen a dramatic rise in the number of its Facebook friends, although they're not all that friendly. The tale of writer Monica Gaudio hit the Web on Wednesday after she reported that her story, "A Tale of Two Tarts," was apparently lifted and published by the print magazine Cooks Source with her byline, but without her knowledge or any compensation. CNET

Apple dead pixel policy: one for iPhone, three for iPad There are few things more annoying than opening up your shiny new electronic toy only to find one or more misbehaving pixels. While dead or stuck pixels are less of a problem than they were a few years ago, it does still happen. Manufacturers and retailers rarely go public with what their warranty policies are on these display anomalies, preferring instead to deal with issues on a case-by-case basis. TAUW

The cloud fiasco of 2010: Drop.io This is nothing new to me. A company shows up with a good idea. It encourages people to use its services. The service is good, and the company says it has premium services, which are even better, but you have to pay a little money. You pay, and you begin to rely on the service even more. Then the company sells itself to some other company that closes the service down, leaving you hanging. Welcome to Drop.io. PCMag

Trend Micro cries "antitrust" over Microsoft Security Essentials In recent months, Microsoft has made a couple of moves to make its Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus software more widely used. First, the company relaxed licensing restrictions, making it permissible to use MSE in businesses with ten or fewer PCs; prior to this change, the software was only licensed for home users. Ars Technica




User Comments: 64

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dustin_ds3000 dustin_ds3000, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

dead pixels make me cry My new Dell U2410 has one bright pixel but its hard to see unless your 6" infont of it.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song.

Were they drunk or day dreaming that RIAA would pay some of that to them (if they ever get their hands on it in the first place) ?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Everyone is suing everyone in the high-tech industry it seems. Lots of lawyers gonna get rich off of this.

kevin1212 said:

Perhaps trying to make an example. Frankly pirating is so easy its hard to believe its illegal.

Decimae said:

Archean said:

The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song.

Were they drunk or day dreaming that RIAA would pay some of that to them (if they ever get their hands on it in the first place) ?

No. They just wanted to ruin that person life to set an example.

IMO, $21 per song sounds like a good number, perhaps a bit more, but not much over $80 per song. Otherwise it's just plain ridicilous.

Alster37 Alster37 said:

in my opinion, they should pay the cost of whatever they illegally downloaded, or if they uploaded a file, the cost of it times the number of people who downloaded it. crack down on uploaders , not downloaders.

Jetatt23 said:

I think the RIAA has gotten out of hand with its war against anti-piracy. If someone is found guilty of possessing illegal songs, just charge them the price for the songs, if that's even necessary. Frequent uploaders I could see possibly getting fined more, but still, $62,500 a song? That would make an MP3 player full of illegal songs quite valuable...

BMfan BMfan said:

That means there are many mp3 players that are worth a million dollars,awesome.

posermobile89 said:

I think the punishment should be harsh enough to deter it, but 62,500 per song -- someone was on something! If they want to stop piracy, they need to make it harder to illegally download the files. Anyone and everyone who wants a download just has to google whatever they want with torrent appended to the end of it. Besides, I bet a lot of what is downloaded, wouldn't have even been bought in the first place. And who knows, maybe that person will tell a friend who buys the cd, or will go see a concert or something.

princeton princeton said:

So my iphone is worth around 37 500 000 dollars?

princeton princeton said:

P.S. Don't judge me. It isn't fair that It's illegal to pirate video game soundtracks that haven't existed for decades.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

First off making people pay an amount that they will never be able to pay is ludicrous its not going to make people stop downloading songs or videos or games. On another note dead pixels ? there should not be such a thing anymore they need to have a 0 dead pixel policy so that consumers are satisfied what ever happened to the consumer is always right and we don't want to pay for anything that is broken or not perfect we work are butt's off for what we have and don't need anyone else making things worse.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

They should hang pirates. How many vessels are being held by pirates right now? And they get millions per ship. I'd figure it would be cheaper to hire some ships to escort you and kill the pirates rather than paying the ridiculous ransoms.

Oh wait, wrong piracy.

silvershad0w said:

i think people being charged with piracy should only be charged the actual price of the content. charging several thousands of dollars for a couple of CDs is ridiculous. this is the result of many record companies who have failed to adapt their business model to the changing market and are trying to compensate by charging these extreme amounts of money. i do not agree with their practices one bit and i believe that all of the members involved with a party that are suing a single mother of four for a million dollars over 24 songs are simply evil and unjust.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

i think people being charged with piracy should only be charged the actual price of the content. charging several thousands of dollars for a couple of CDs is ridiculous. this is the result of many record companies who have failed to adapt their business model to the changing market and are trying to compensate by charging these extreme amounts of money. i do not agree with their practices one bit and i believe that all of the members involved with a party that are suing a single mother of four for a million dollars over 24 songs are simply evil and unjust.

I agree here make them pay for what they use not 10 to the 1000th power more.

Mushroom said:

3-5x the amount of the actual price of pirated material, and the money actually goes to the artist not the RIAA. All they do is ruin people's lives and piss 10x more money away then they bring in.

Faller said:

20 bucks per song is really the highest I can see it going without being cruel and unusual punishment.

compu4 said:

Archean said:

The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song.

Were they drunk or day dreaming that RIAA would pay some of that to them (if they ever get their hands on it in the first place) ?

I think that the jury members were indeed drunk. Supposedly, the woman is not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. The RIAA will never get the money; she simply cannot afford to pay that exorbitant fine.

BlueDrake said:

princeton said:

P.S. Don't judge me. It isn't fair that It's illegal to pirate video game soundtracks that haven't existed for decades.

Heck if I would judge you, that would make me feel equally stupid. Seriously though, anyone judging over game music must be really without a hobby. Not to mention, where would the money go if you got charged? The composer? Doubt it really.

I don't see how game music, could be put in the same boat really. I'd equally be a bad person, according to the RIAA (despite not being in the US) no less. It's almost impossible to find certain songs, and does it look like they bother helping? Nope, not one bit. Just slap on an outrageous penalty, just to bring people into line.

Either they embrace the internet (which is like hell freezing over), or suffer your pitiful existence. Soon they will crumble, as nothing will last with all the resistance. I'd just do it to spite them, and ask them to find what I'm looking for "legally" then if I don't want to be charged.

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Why would you be sued $62,000 for every song you "digitally stole". If you steal a CD from Walmart they dont consider you to be a thief for $62,000 per track on the cd. That goes to tell ya its a bunch of courtroom management. Attorneys/Lawyers using words like the politicians do ' so well ' to skew what things really are and how they should be. Break it down.. wouldnt $200 per track be more than sufficient? So get sued for $2000 for a 10 track cd. That would deter people wouldnt it?

Guest said:

Someone should remind the Judge and jury about the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Amendment_to_the_United_
tates_Constitution

Xero07 said:

3 times the cost of the music or about $3 per song. Seriously it really has no need to be over that.

UT66 said:

But one of the tracks was "My love dont cost a thing" Jennifer Lopez you damn liar!

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

One song - Happy Birthday - generates 2 million dollars a year in copyright royalties. That is $547.95USD/day if one person sings it once a day for 365 days in a public setting (singing at home for family is free). http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/birthday.asp

I'm really surprised the RIAA hasn't stationed agents in restaurants waiting to sue unsuspecting food servers for singing Happy Birthday to customers. They would make a fortune :P

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Xero07 said:

3 times the cost of the music or about $3 per song. Seriously it really has no need to be over that.

Yeah seriously its not like your printing off CDs on the curb either handing them out or getting paid for the tracks!

codefeenix codefeenix said:

Copyright infringement is a crime. There has to be punishment for the crime, to deter further lawbreaking. Getting caught and having to pay what you would have normally had to pay to get it legitimately is not a deterrent. It gives little reason to purchase. Oh I could pay for this new CD or I could download it for free and if I get caught all I have to do Is pay for the CD. That does not work. I think a fine of about $500 per incident would be adequate. Now to define what qualifies as an incident... ... ZZZzzzz...

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Isn't that why most restaurants have changed to singing something else?

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Lifting of blogger's story triggers online furor A magazine accused of publishing a blogger's story without permission has seen a dramatic rise in the number of its Facebook friends, although they're not all that friendly. The tale of writer Monica Gaudio hit the Web on Wednesday after she reported that her story, "A Tale of Two Tarts," was apparently lifted and published by the print magazine Cooks Source with her byline, but without her knowledge or any compensation.

Now thats some BS! Since when does plagiarism not exist? Sheesh does anyone get educated at school these days.... ?

spyx said:

A penatly for piracy hmmm, i would say lower prices on stuff and pirating would not be needed ofcourse the ****** who will pirate anyways, should be fined atleast double the amount of the original price that was pirated....

Puiu Puiu said:

About Microsoft antivirus, it just works really well (tested by me and other people that work in the IT department) and other antivirus companies just can't accept another good product on the market.

Modena said:

It should be 3 times the value of the song, if and only if you make ANY profit off selling that song. Meaning that most of us would not get penalized at all. Seems fair to me also $62,500 per song I mean are they high? Almost anybody who downloads has at least 1000+ songs meaning $62million dollars in penalties...

If they do manage to cut down on pirating, which I highly doubt, they're best bet would be to make it something payable like a speeding ticket. People would then probably think twice, I know I would. Otherwise these people who were caught wouldn't be able to afford media and would have to steal it.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

These high penalties make me want to start pirating. I mean, I certainly respect people's right to their materials, but these are obviously not worth of being considered human beings.

DarKSeeD DarKSeeD said:

RIAA lawsuits are meaningless and cost too much. How do they expect somebody will pay that kind of amounts not to mention the trials are long...such a waste of resources and time.

What they have to learn is how to attract people with music, like buy one get one for free. Why should I buy a whole album when I like only 1 song?

DRM is just another bull....with new methods of anti-piracy will come new ways to crack them.

And artists (some of them) also should start to really sing.

Make the products accessible, give extra stuff to subscribers...I've bought this music cd and got a nice T-Shirt too and the list can go on.

In the end a short example of cost discrepancy: a game in U.S. costs 39.99USD in EU the same game costs 39.99EUR or even more, how fair is that? In both cases it is the digital version and should cost less than the boxed one!

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Guest said:

Someone should remind the Judge and jury about the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

True, the fine does seem a bit cruel. However, the court didn't exactly sentance Jamie to death by firing-squad, so the eight amendment is of no use to the family at this time. I guess the court already ruled that out back in 2005.

dlen said:

This whole piracy does not make sense for me. The next stage is to limit possibility to e.g. grow your own tomatoes and make spaghetti and they will force you to buy it from big malls only.

Razerblade said:

I think the cost of piracy should be the RRP price plus 20%. You shoulnd't have to pay hundreds for something that can be bought for $10.

63Jax said:

just the cost of the product they were CAUGHT downloading and they own at the moment

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The problem is the system here, the fact that this even goes to trial. It's not worth going to trial for tiny sums, so they inflate the costs. The RIAA typically offers to settle for a few thousand dollars, going into the millions only if the settlement is denied and this goes to court.

If personal copyright violation was put in the same category as speeding, with a system put in place to ticket those who download illegal content, then small fines could work. However that won't be possible unless people agree to measures for monitoring such downloads and that they're valid, which I think is unlikely to happen.

sMILEY4ever said:

kevin1212 said:

Perhaps trying to make an example. Frankly pirating is so easy its hard to believe its illegal.

I agree.

The example is wrong. Way too much for those songs.

hassaan said:

I consider piracy legal cause I live in a part of the world where most of the things we get owe to Internet. As long as its not stealing, making a copy is OK.

dummybait said:

ye shall walk the PLANK!!!!

DSparil said:

The only reason that piracy is thriving is because the recording companies are charging exorbitant prices for their stuff. And no - the artist only gets a very tiny slice of the corporate pie for their work. Hence, some artists are encouraging people to download their own stuff.

Besides, music nowadays suck a lot so I'm surprised that people are still downloading music. I guess newbies have to learn the hard way.

vangrat said:

What is a fair penalty for illegal file-sharing or piracy? This week a federal jury handed down the verdict in the third file-sharing trial against a Minnesota mother of four who has been fighting against the charges brought by the RIAA since 2005. The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song. Myce

Read the whole story

So.. .the person who downloaded 24 songs is being charged for Piracy at the lump sum of $62,500 per song, and they are called the Pirate? Frankly, the lawyers, the judge, and the jury who passed this sentence are the god forsaken Pirates here. I mean, unless they were suing a millionaire or something, this is just ridiculous! The legal system is flat out broken, when a stay at home parent is charged $1.5 million for a few songs, while murderers, pimps, drug dealers, and tax collectors walk free!

vangrat said:

Also, about Trend Micro...what the heck. I can see plainly that Windows Security Essentials is an opt in only service. I have yet to even see a pop up on my computer about it, and do not use it. As hard as this is for me to say....I am siding with Microsoft on this one. Trend, you are a great A/V company, but seriously, you just bit the biggest dog you have ever met...you gonna get wooped.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm with Vangrat on this one about Mircosoft and the anti-virus argument. Microsoft isn't actually pushing it out but making it an option to install under the "Optional" tab in Windows update, this by no means is a "antitrust issue" I also read the article and it says that Windows Updates itself is "Compulsory" when it clearly isn't, when you open up a Laptop or Desktop for the first time it asks if you would like to enable automatic updates. The Moment that appears it is giving a user a choice meaning it is "Optional" not "Compulsory".

I think Trend don't like the fact that Microsoft's solution picks up more virus's and uses less resources

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Regarding Trend Micro and the other companies who sell anti-virus /anti-malware programs, I guess they just can't live with the fact that the top 4 free anti-virus programs control about 42% of the anti-virus software market. Microsoft adding MSE to Windows Update is actually an added benefit to Windows users, a number of whom continue to surf the Net without anti-virus protection. MSE, in my experience, performs better under Windows 7 than under Windows XP and also seems to run better on newer machines. You also have to be proactive when using MSE and get used to manual updates rather waiting for MSE to update itself.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Dsparil said:

The only reason that piracy is thriving is because the recording companies are charging exorbitant prices for their stuff.

The reason piracy is thriving is because it's very easy and the chance you'll get punished for doing it are very low.

Lowering prices will help a little, but will not eliminate piracy. I remember reading a survey a few months ago where people were asked what would be the price which would make them stop pirating. A third said that no matter the price they'll continue to pirate. Most said about $2 for a movie, IIRC. So most people who pirate are at most willing to pay the price of a rental to own the content, and at worst aren't willing to pay anything. (At least according to that specific survey, but I believe that it's on the money.)

uttaradhaka said:

One of the biggest fears I have is buying a new device with a shiny display and finding a dead pixel on it. It happened to me once with a PSP and I have feared it ever since. Companies should have a policy to deal with these kinds of issues.

There are work arounds, but they don't work all the time.

I just hope I never have this problem with a new LCD monitor..

Recipe7 Recipe7 said:

Pay for what you steal [dunno]

Jibberish18 said:

I think someone should pay whatever they paid for the music x however many times it was downloaded. If the album cost $10 and was a total of 100MB let's just say and your torrent site shows 10,000MB Upload for that album, then at most you should have to pay $1000. I mean sure, you provided it for download BUT you didn't twist anyones arm to download it. Anymore than that, and you're being punished for someone elses actions. As for the verdict on Jamie Thomas, ******. That entire Jury Panel should be ***** slapped.

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