Punishment fits the crime?

A single  mother has been ordered by the court to pay $80,000 per song downloaded over peer to peer networks.

She now owes $1.92 million dollars for 24 songs she downloaded and shared. I am not going to argue that it was not illegal nor that it was right, but how ridiculous is the punishment? She, like everyone else sued, was offered to settle out of court for between $3000-$5000. This is just shakedown money, the money folks pay just to make it all go away. This amount is way too high as well. Something like 500 billion percent (math is hard.) She stole $24 worth of songs (standard 99 cents a song) of which the producers make something like 60 to 70 cents. Even with a ‘you did something really bad’ upcharge there, what would be a reasonable fine? Maybe $500 at most. But nearly 2 million? That is absurd.

This is another fine example of a special interest group getting the government to assist them in creating a revenue stream literally at gunpoint (the cops that came to arrest her had guns.) From auto insurance to even dentists (if you ignore notes from your kids’ school about dental care, they will eventually send DFS to get you and take them away.) Now these are all good idea things, car insurance is something you should want anyway and kids need to go to dentists. The RIAA’s outrageous fine system is just another level of stupidity.

The woman from this story obviously cannot pay $2 million, even if she paid her entire life. Not many could. I wouldn’t be able to spring for the $5000 to settle even. Here’s what you do. If you get busted, don’t settle. Make them prove it in court, spend a ton of money on lawyers and just represent yourself…there’s no reason to try to stop a steam roller with a toothpick. Make them spend money and effort to end up receiving $20 a month for ever and never getting anything near what they were awarded. Maybe claim bankruptcy let them dangle (don’t really take any of this for actual legal advice, I am sure there are loopholes that still screw us on it.)

Maybe the will finally see the futility of all this expense and time and stop going after the little people. Maybe they can *gasp* adapt to the new age and figure out how to live in the digital world like the rest of us. A successful defense on this wouldn’t be ‘I didn’t know it was bad’ or ‘it wasn’t me.’ Those don’t work. But maybe, eventually, someone can field a win with ‘The punishment is SO out of whack with reality…here’s the $24 and another $200 for the damages if someone else downloaded from me.’

Fuck the RIAA!


One Response to “Punishment fits the crime?”

  1. This just proves that the RIAA people are stark mad or pansies.
    They take on small pinchers but tolerate the big robbers.

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