If a Pirated Song = $80K, What is the Value of a Pirated Game?

In a recent, highly-publicized court decision, music industry lobbying group the RIAA won an eye-popping $1.92 million verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset (left) of Minnesota. That works out to $80,000 per song for each of the 24 tunes that the 32-year-old mother of four was accused of sharing.

How might such a case work out for someone accused of file-sharing video games?

Not well, according to gamer/attorney Mark Methenitis. In his Law of the Game column on Joystiq

If we assume [the Thomas-Rasset verdict] is allowed to stand, the possible implication is that the individual works that comprise the greater work that is a video game could be each pursued individually. So, for example, if you pirate a copy of Guitar Hero 4, you’re not only liable for the piracy of the game, but also the piracy of the 86 included music tracks. So, keeping the value at $80,000 per work, your total bill would be $6.96 million. That’s only 116,000 times the $60 retail value of the game…

 

It seems likely that a better balance will need to be struck… Is the solution to make small time, individual piracy the speeding ticket of the 21st century, punished with a stinging slap on the wrist when caught? Perhaps…

As for Jammie Thomas-Rasset, her comment on the verdict was, "Good luck getting it from me." Meanwhile, the RIAA has filed some 30,000 similar lawsuits around the United States.

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105 comments

  1. squigs says:

    Any halfway competent legal representative would find dozens of arguments as to why a game should be considered a single work.  Otherwise Jammies Thomas would have been charged at least twice, possibly several times for each song (once for the performance, once for the copyright on the lyrics, once for the copyright on the music). 

    This didn’t happen.  Presumably there’s a reason for this. 

  2. jedidethfreak says:

    Not necessarily.  That’s why, if you have Rock Band 1 and 2, you need to pay a fee to be able to play Rock Band 1 songs on Rock Band 2, due to licensing issues.  Depending on the wording of the license, it is very possible that you’d get slapped with 87 counts of piracy instead of 1.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  3. jedidethfreak says:

    Nobody here is arguing that she should fork over the 1.92 mil.  However, because she didn’t pay the settlement (which I am led to believe is still on the table), she is looking at bankruptcy no matter what.  She wouldn’t have been able to pay the first fine, much less this one.  If she apeals the fine amount, they’ll most likely just make it the first one.  They sure as hell won’t make it only two grand.

    As for the law itself, it should be fixed.  It should be stated point blank what a song is worth.  However, here is where you get into all kinds of trouble.  Music is considered an art form.  Therefore, it is worth only what the owner of the IP says it’s worth.  If you put an arbitrary number for the worth of any form of IP, you then have blanket ability to assign an arbitrary number to any other form of IP.  Now, the worth of a product is being designated by the government, not the market.  That’s Communism, my friends, something America is not a part of (unless Barack Obama gets his way, of course).  Anyway, no artist would submit to the government telling them what their work is worth, whether or not the RIAA gives them money.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  4. jedidethfreak says:

    The fines that Austin posted are just a little bit higher than in Minnesota (maybe 10 percent higher), so I would have to imagine that somewhere might have the exact numbers he posted.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  5. jedidethfreak says:

    Exactly my, and I think Austin’s, point.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  6. madman says:

    So the RIAA is suing people for millions of dollars for illegally downloading music, in an effort to encourage people to buy their music?

    If the RIAA keeps doing this, there wont be any customers left! 

  7. Im_not_Herbert says:

    Wow… I suppose it’s easy to say "she broke the law, she should suffer for it" when speaking about someone else.  I imagine that is good ole’ Austin were fined a million dollars for jaywalking, he might have a different opinion.

    It’s also easy to speak of laws and justice and equality and all that when you are not the one in question.  If Brad Pitt had done this exact same crime, we would never have heard about it, because either he would have just paid up, or the record company execs would have fallen all over themselves asking for autographs and gushing over how great it is that he loves their product enough to steal it.  These companies go after impoverished nobodies presicesly becasue there is no equality- someone without the resources


    to fight back can be abused and made an example of.  They are trying to scare the piss out of the rest of us, and using people like her to do it.

    If something is unjust, you don’t just say "oh well, that’s the way it is".  You call it out and work to change it.  That applies to laws, as well.

    BTW, if my understanding is correct, the $2000 offer was before she appealed, and is now off the table.  If I am wrong, Im sure someone will inform me.

    Should she have taken it?  Probably.  Her decision might have been influenced by the fact that she didn’t have it, and didn’t believe a jury would rule against her.  I doubt she is a hero standing up for injustice.  She knew she was sharing files, and should have to pay up.  But 1.92 million is just all kinds of stupid.

    No one here disagrees that she should be punished for her crimes.  At question is the severity of that punishment.  The law itself is broken because there is no fixed dollar amount for this crime, and thus the opportunity for abuse is inherent.  No one should be looking at the wrong end of a life ruining judgement for what boils down to a very minor offense. 

     

    Your Yak is Weak!

  8. Cavalier says:

    Of course it’s verbatim.  You repeated the quote exactly as it appeared in the source material.

    Now, once in three years is not excessive, or overplayed, for you personally, but it -is- a verbatim quote! *grin*

  9. Pinworm says:

     I live in Ottawa, and I’ve never heard of street-hockey being banned.. I also still see it. I’m not calling you a liar, but merely showing my shock at this. I’m not sure I want to investigate further because I’m sure it will just anger me..

  10. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Copy right is inane vanity they can’t be perfect they can’t have absolute power over every little thing people do with it. Because its become a slow crack filled monolithic beast it should be ignored…least up till selling bootlegs since the probability of getting in trouble for that is rather high.

     


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com

  11. squigs says:

    The possible implication is that the individual works that comprise the greater work that is a video game could be each pursued individually. So, for example, if you pirate a copy of Guitar Hero 4, you’re not only liable for the piracy of the game, but also the piracy of the 86 included music tracks.

    But it wouldn’t!  No way would any court interpret it that way.  Guitar Hero is clearly a single "work".  Even the RIAA argued that the reason for such a large value was because this would be the cost of a licence to distribute the songs.  A licence to distribute a game would obviously be comparable.

  12. jedidethfreak says:

    People of all sides would never allow that, because you wouldn’t be able to sue a doctor for billions because he accidentally perscribed the wrong cough medicine.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  13. jedidethfreak says:

    The porn industry doesn’t want to be involved in too many legal battles, because it could possibly be used as a precursor to government control over their industry.  If you think about it, it makes sense, since it isn’t totally unheard of to have minors act in legitimate porn.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  14. GoodRobotUs says:

    LOL

    Though, I’ll point out that using the phrase once in about 3 years doesn’t exactly make it verbatim 😛

  15. mr_mlk says:

    I wish sharing your musically tastes was illegal. Man some of the must played from tinny car stereos is bad.


    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  16. FlakAttack says:

    This is unfortunately what our current culture is leading to. We have to pay for more and more of the things we once could do for free. Did you know, that in Ottawa, the capitol of Canada, the home of Hockey, they banned people from playing hockey in the street? Street hockey has been a tradition for GENERATIONS, literally since the damn game was invented. Now, you must go to designated areas to play hockey, many of which cost money.

    This is why gaming has become so popular: it is an easily accessed and relatively cheap hobby, even compared to sports. Basically put, we’re having fun, so some corporations have got to put their feet down and put an end to that.

    On an unrelated note, here in Canada, we also pay a fee on top of the regular price + taxes for ALL RECORDABLE CDs we buy. It goes directly to the music industry’s lobby group. In protest, I no longer buy music. I haven’t bought a CD in years, and I’m proud of it.

  17. SounDemon says:

    Your impression is not warranted.

    Just because a number is greater than {9.00 * 10^3} (based upon equation | 9000 < z|) does not mean that anyone needs to yell an antiquated phrase from a shoddily produced anime. YOU were the one who did this evil task, and I lay the blame squarely at your feet, good sir. That phrase was annoying 5 months ago, please update the phrases you repeat verbatim.

  18. hellfire7885 says:

    Besides, I doubt any of us who the recession is REALLY effecting much care if a band has to get a smaller private jet, or if a record exec has to resort ot lighting his cigars with a match insteaf of a hundred collar bill


  19. GoodRobotUs says:

    I’m impressed we got this far and no-one has responded thusly to the title:


    It’s over 9000!!

  20. black manta says:

    Yes, I too would like to know where Austin is pulling these numbers from.  As a fellow Maryland resident I can fully back up what you say; having recieved a few speeding tickets of my own since I’ve lived here (hey, nobody’s perfect!).  I’ve also had a couple when I lived in New Jersey, and while they were a bit higher, they were still nowhere near that draconian.

    Seriously, though, even though she broke the law, and even if the RIAA was willing to settle, doesn’t anyone else here think that $1.92 million is a wee bit excessive?  I can’t think of anyone outside of a government that could pony up that kind of money on their own.  And considering the state of the economy, I think even our own government would be hard-pressed to cough that up these days.  NO ONE really deserves that much punishment.

    And even though her response on the face of it may be flip and arrogant, I think both she and the RIAA both realize they don’t fully expect her to pay up on it any more than the 14-year-old girl the RIAA sued earlier.  She may pay something, but I think ultimately the RIAA is going to end up eating most of it and they know it.

    And really, do the record companies seriously expect to quash this kind of activity by slamming people with such exorbitant fines?  As the technology of file sharing becomes more and more pervasive (and it will, given what I know of trends in technology and human nature), this sort of thing will only become more common, not less.  The record companies are – both literally and figuratively – dinosaurs.  And just like a dinosaur, they’re already dead or dying, but they don’t realize it yet because the signal being transmitted along the nervous system saying "give up and die now" is taking a while and hasn’t reached their brain yet.  I think Methenitis’ proposal is on the money, and if the record companies want to evolve adn adpat, they’ll adopt it.  They’ll die and become extinct if they don’t.

    And even if the record comapnies aren’t that evil, at the end of the day, they’re still only in it for themselves.  Despite what Lars Ulrich and other artists may have said, the record companies have fucked over just as many artists as they have consumers.  They don’t care about anyone, really.

  21. hellfire7885 says:

    Ugh, I don’t care what anyone says, in today’s economy, any of those amounts can be life ruining. Anyone who says otherwise is either apathetic, or is still financially well off.

    Enjoying an art form without payment these days can land one with heavy fines or in prison, and that is just ridiculous. At this rate we are getting dangeroulsy close to a point where any store or mall that has music will have agents of the RIAA following customers around with calculator tallying up how much the customer will owe them upon leaving.

    Such things de-legitimize music as an art form and legitimize it as just a cash comodity.


  22. Ratros says:

    stupidity all around.

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  23. Father Time says:

    It’s times like this that I really wish the 8th amendment clause of ‘excessive fines shall not be imposed’ applied to civil cases.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  24. Tyriku says:

    Dethklok had it right.

    Screw the money, they’ll just skip right on to putting you in a dungeon for all eternity!

    I mean, you downloaded one of their songs.

    For that, a fate worse than death itself.

  25. JustChris says:

    Commercial music is like your genitals…if you try to display it to the public, it’s considered illegal. It sounds like keeping music is worse than keeping pornography, in that they want to make you feel ashamed for showing it.

    GameSnooper

  26. TK n Happy Ness says:

    What if you download a song that’s in a game you own? Technically you already paid for it when you bought the game, so they can’t say you pirated it.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  27. Dejiko says:

    I just love how songs suddenly bloat to thousands of times their original value when someone steals them.

  28. AutomaticZen says:

     When you break a law, you are subject to fines.  You can be fined 500 dollars for throwing trash out of your car on the highway.  You can be fined 1000 to 8000 dollars for speeding (1000 is for 20mph+ over the speed limit, 8000 is for speeding in a construction area).  You can be fined 125 to 250 dollars for jaywalking.  So how is her being fined 2000 dollars for WILLINGLY AND KNOWINGLY BREAKING THE GODDAMN LAW ‘ridiculous’?  She broke the law 24 times.  That evens out to a little less than a 100 dollars per instance.

    Where the hell are you living that fines are that high?  Random rundown of fees in Maryland.

    Most registration fines: $40-60

    Driving unregisted vehicle: $280

    Fraud in applying for registration: $1000

    Operating towtruck without registration: $3020

    Running a red light: $90-140

    Speeding:

    1-9 over: $80

    10-19: $90

    20-29: $160

    30-39: $290

    40+: $530

    In a school/construction zone, you double most of those, with 40+ being $1000 maximum.

    Most Maryland Transit fines are around $40.  Urination… $120.  Carrying explosives $520.

    Jaywalking: $40

    So where do you live that ticket prices are that crazy and draconian?

    She should’ve taken the $2000 judgement, but almost $2 million is entirely too high.

  29. F__ked up says:

    On a related note, How much would pirated porn cost?

    If pirating movies, music, and video games are so detrimental to the industry why isnt the porn industry doing the same? If anything, the piracy of porn is comparable to any other form of pirated media. So why havent the porn industry started suing people?

    I know the porn industry was following along with DRM and thy want to stop the piracy of their product but I have not really seen any action taken on their part.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2007/09/porn-industry-hard-up-for-solutions-to-piracy-problem.ars

  30. Karsten Aaen says:

    I don’t pirate things or steal things that don’t belong to me (i.e. I’m not the original owner of). Still, I use youtube, myspace, facebook, google and internet explorer etc.

    I don’t have a problem with the RIAA asking for 2000-5000 US Dollars to make this thing go away; I do care about PRIVATE organizations taking on the investigations that the government should be making e.g. investigating possible illegal download and distributing illegally obtained music files for example.

    2000 US dollars for distributing 24 music files seems to be an OK fine to me. However, the point still stands; there are laws that say that must pay X amount of money for illegally downloading a music file (a song) and X amount of money for sharing these music files.

    If it were me, I’d taken the settlement…

  31. squigs says:

    But this is damages.  Not a fine!

    This is meant to compensate the record industry for tyhe losses they’ve made.  It’s not intended to be punitive. 

  32. Austin_Lewis says:

    What you seem to be forgetting is that martyrs still have to take their punishment.  And this has nothing to do with Obedience or Patriotism, it has to do with this dumb bitch breaking the law and having to pay the punishment.

  33. psxndc says:

    Dude, stick to game development. The law is not your forte. Patent != Copyright. She’s liable for copyright infringement, not patent infringement. Copyright infringement prevents people from copying your game. Patent infringement is a strict liability tort and willfulness (intent) only comes into play when assessing damages.

    IAAPL.

  34. jedidethfreak says:

    When a law says you CAN do something (such as your "jump off a cliff" argument), you don’t have to do it.  If a law says you CAN’T do something (such as download and share someone else’s IP) you will be punished for doing so.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  35. jedidethfreak says:

    I agree it’s possible, but whatever they decide, it won’t be anywhere near as low as the settlement offer she refused countless times.  It probably would end up being what the initial judgement was.  Either way, she’ll refuse the settlement again and file for bankruptcy.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  36. jedidethfreak says:

    If people can’t afford to pay 2 grand for breaking the law 24 times, they shouldn’t be breaking the law.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  37. jedidethfreak says:

    She doesn’t need to go bankrupt.  She can take the settlement.  That’s the point you’re missing.  Like he said, per song it’s a smaller fine than most speeding tickets.  As such, this is her mess and her responsibility.  She should have considered the consequences for her and her children before illegally downloading the songs, illegally sharing them, going to court, being given the first settlement offer, appealing, being given the second settlement offer, and finally having the appeal going against her.  At this point, no matter what happens is her responsibility and hers alone.  She wasn’t thinking about her children, so stop whining that the corporations should be.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  38. Yammo says:

    I call "Troll Alert" on

    You are "de-facto" arguing that slapping someone over the face should

    bring the death-penalty… Which is nothing but a Troll-Argument…

  39. Verbinator says:

    "Art shouldn’t have to be paid for end of story."

    Pretty strong statement. Perhaps made by someone who doesn’t have to live by the sale of their own creative work?

    I’m not musician, but I’ve made my living as visual artist, designer and writer all my relatively long life. So when someone takes my work without paying for it, whether it be an art reproduction I’ve offered for sale (which has happened), or posts an unauthorized scan of a work, or reuses a piece of my work in a publication without paying for it, or pirates a copy of a game which I worked on (stealing from my employer who then has less income to pay may salary) they are stealing directly from me. If over the top fines are what it takes to make folks think before they steal, then I’m for it.

    With some exceptions, art is expensive to create, regardless of exactly what form it takes. Tools, workspace, time expended to create, supporting people, supplies used, costs paid to display or sell, manufacturing costs of media etc. For artists to be able to perform professinally as artists and have careers doing so, those needs must be met. Otherwise, they cease to be able to work at what they do. And their ability to create art may go away.

    Artists may choose to distribute their work for free, but that is their decision (or the decision of those to whom rights to art have been assigned). When you go against those wishes and steal a copy or make it available for redistribution with no compensation to the artist or rightsholder, then you’re a thief and the scale of your activity should define your punishment.

    I speak in general for all arts (not just music, or visual arts), but for professional quality Art to continue to be available, Art has to be paid for. End of story.

    –Verbinator

  40. Artificial Selection says:

    I think you confuse blind obediance for patriotism. If the law said we should jump off a cliff would you do it? Point is some laws are meant to be broken. When an eye for an eye turns into an eye for your bloody head someone needs to speak up. This brave little lady did, a 21st century martyr.

  41. Cavalier says:

    See, here’s the thing: you’re endorsing the huge punishment (1.92 million? Really?!) for a relatively small-potatoes crime.  This is the rough equivalent of demanding the death penalty for jaywalking.  Frankly, I think you’ll find a lot of non-sociopaths who both jaywalk and provide songs to people for free.  In fact, if you start digging, you’ll probably find that everyone you know has broken the law in a hundred tiny ways that they went unpunished for.

    Yes, the word "sociopath" for your particularly extremist response to folks thinking 1.92 million is excessive was -also- excessive.  You’re just ridiculously, Judge Dredd-style zealous.

    Feel better?

  42. Austin_Lewis says:

    Yes, God forbid that people be punished when they do something wrong.  How terrible a system.  Hammurabi was a complete dick, no doubt.

    Oh, so now we don’t have to deal with punishments from laws we consider stupid?  Awesome.  I’m never paying another goddamn speeding ticket.  Oh wait, society doesn’t work that way?  Crazy.

    I love how the artists are crap anyway.  If they really cared about their artistic integrity, they’d A) Play their own music live (lookin at you Green Day) B) stop all the ridiculous posturing (Green Day again) and C) not sell out to big soul-less corporations.  That’s why it’s such a treat to go to smaller shows (Unknown Hinson, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Street Dogs).  However, the vast majority of these ‘artists’ are doing it for the MONEY, so they don’t really care if they keep creative control of their music.

    Once again, it doesn’t really mater that the law was stupid.  It’s still a law.  Jaywalking laws are stupid laws, but they’re still there, and you can still get fucked over for breaking them.  Hell, a lot of states still have ridiculous laws on the book, but they’re still the law (just unenforced).

  43. Austin_Lewis says:

    And if she had just downloaded the songs, we wouldn’t be here.  There isn’t a lot of interest in punishing people who simply downloaded songs right now; they’re trying to get people who are downloading and SHARING.  For illegally downloading and SHARING, 80 dollars seems more than fair.

  44. Austin_Lewis says:

    Well, to start with, there’s no blackmail here. You really ought to learn what it is.  I think the fact that they are willing to let her pay only 2000 out of 1.92 million is quite the good deed, seeing as they don’t have to let her off so easily.

    There’s a problem with your comparison here; the problem is that MUSIC IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO LIFE.  You may NEED to cross the street (and unless you live off the internet, you probably will) to get, say, food, employment, or, in some cases, welfare.  Also, that crosswalk?  Public property.  A company can’t simply set up on public property and demand money for its use without government consent.

    The laws may suck, but its still the law.  If she doesn’t have to follow this law, why should I have to follow other laws?  That seems fair, right?

    By punished equally, I meant when a punishment is handed down, the punishment is served.  I’m sick of this bullshit where Hollywood Hacks get off for doing things that’d put me in jail for a year (Paris).

  45. Austin_Lewis says:

    Right.  It’s sociopathic to expect people to pay for their crimes.  Here’s a few things to consider.

    1).  How many times did she share the songs?  What songs WERE they?  All I can find is that she downloaded and then shared songs by Green Day and Sheryl Crow, but with the strange popularity of Green Day, I don’t doubt she shared the songs more than a few hundred times a piece.

    2).  I don’t doubt the RIAA would be willing to work out a payment plan.  I also don’t doubt that she could get a loan, a grant, or borrow money from her family and get that $2000. So, there are now two ways justice will be achieved; she’ll either find that 2000 dollars, or she’ll go bankrupt and destroy her credit rating. 

    You know what’s sociopathic?  BREAKING THE FUCKING LAW.  Seriously, go look up the meaning of sociopath.  Think about it for a minute.

  46. Bennett Beeny says:

    Austin, some people simply can’t afford even $2000.  I agree with others here – you’re acting like a sociopath.

  47. mr_mlk says:

    As I understand the case it is not her nicking the songs that is the real issue her, it is her sharing them. I’d say that 80 people downloading the songs shared is a reasonable guess.


    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  48. Im_Blue says:

    I love Austin’s logic. She broke the law so she should be punished. End of story……. Classic Conservative.

     

    The point is that the law is fucking dumb, not that she didn’t comit a ‘crime’. She did obviously no one is denying that but we can sure as fuck call shenanigans on the law. It is rather absurd.

    I love it how these industry types really push the artistic integrety of their enterprise, and then proceed to squeeze every fucking dollar out of it.

    Art shouldn’t have to be paid for end of story.

    If the big shots (as well as many of the artists) actually really cared about their shit, they wouldn’t charge nearly as much for it.…… Yes im aware that their might be claim to some small amounts of money that are actually needed for the time/investment of the artwork in question, but that doesnt justify mansions and excesive lifestyles.

    So Austin yes you are right, she did break the law. But what a dumb fucking stupid evil law.

    Thats my rant for the day.

  49. MechaTama31 says:

    You honestly think that blackmailing people into paying huge settlements (most people don’t have $2-5K just lying around), using the threat of even larger fines enabled by draconian laws that the RIAA themselves put on the books, is a "good deed"?  Get your head out of your ass.

    What if a company had tolls set up on all crosswalks, and got laws passed so the fine for jaywalking was to have both legs, both arms, and a few ribs broken?  In their magnanimity, they allow you to get off with "only" getting your leg broken, but if you try to resist, you get the works.  Does that sound like a sensible system?  Sure, jaywalking is against the law and you shouldn’t have done it, but the punishment still needs to be appropriate to the crime.  In this case it is clearly not.  Just because something is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s right.  The laws here were not put in place by the normal process, for some kind of societal benefit.  They were bought and paid for by the very organization that is now abusing them to pick on individuals who can’t fight back.

    Also, you made a point arguing with someone else earlier that all crimes should be punished equally.  I’m sorry our justice system doesn’t live up to your standards, because judges have quite a bit of leeway to take mitigating factors into account and apply leniency (or strictness) when sentencing.

  50. Father Time says:

    You think $2000 for 24 songs isn’t unreasonable? At $1 per song that’s over 80 times the actual value of what she stole. How is that reasonable for such petty theft.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  51. Krono says:

    I can see it happening. It’s not the most likely thing, but it is possible. She’s spiteful enough of the RIAA at this point, and the RIAA’s offer of settlement only underscores how absurdly high the verdict is.

    -Gray17

  52. Austin_Lewis says:

    Somehow, I don’t see that happening.  Call me crazy.  Especially if the RIAA mentions that they offered her an out of court settlement that they’ve repeatedly documented.

  53. Ashton says:

    You obviously don’t read my posts, considering I said that I conceded that 2000 was reasonable.

    Go find anything on the Bernie Madoff case.

    You’re seriously comparing these two cases? I’m just gonna stop debating with the sub human trash now. So you can claim your "victory" now, Austin.

  54. Austin_Lewis says:

    I don’t know if you can wrap your brain around this, but they’re still willing to take somewhere between 2000 to 5000.  She obviously doesn’t care to pay that.  She’s driving HERSELF into bankruptcy, and I don’t feel bad for her at all. 

    You were complaining earlier that 2000 is STILL too much.  Or did you forget that already?

    Oh, also, No other fines cause $1.92 million in charges if you appeal them?  Bullshit.  Go find anything on the Bernie Madoff case. 

  55. Ashton says:

    Right. Because calling me a sociopath isn’t ad hominem, jackass.

    I said punishments like that is sociopathic, but you yourself are quite sociopathic too, for endorsing such an extreme punishment and for insulting anyone with a different opinion.

    But I especially love how you’ve given up on the debate. Maybe because you’ve lost? Because you had no real point to start with? Or because you’re one of those flakey anti-corporate types?

    How have I ‘lost’? Nobody here agrees with your extremist views. In fact I count mroe people agreeing with me that $1.92 million and driving her into bankrupcy is too much. Oh, I’m sure in your pathetic, delusional world where you are always right, you may have won. But your weak link is, this is Earth.

    Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re an idiot. Why are you an idiot? Because you feel that punishment should be tailored for people based on their situation, namely.

    Um… no. I said that $1.92 million was too much for anyone. Which you called me an idiot for. But sure, go ahead and lie if it’ll help you sleep at night.

    Oh, 2000 is too much, what about her children? Yeah, that’s great. But, and you would know this were you not an idiot ,the law is not here to be applied differently on any basis. The law is meant to apply the same to rich and poor, white and black, celebrities and nobodies. The fact that she has kids has NOTHING TO DO with how she should be punished. She broke the law, and she took repeated risks, and now she’ll probably go bankrupt. And why? Because she’s an idiot.

    I already admitted that 2000 is reasonable considering other fines. But oh, no, you must’ve missed that post. I love how you continually focus on selective things in my posts and refuse to answer the ones that would render your argument moot. For example: No other fines cause $1.92 million in charges if you appeal them. I bolded it, by the way, since you apparently have trouble seeing parts of your computer screen. It’s okay, really. It is. Just go see a doctor and get it corrected before you embarrass yourself further, mmkay?

    By the way, since we’re still on this whole ad hominem thing, you’re still sub human trash. No amount of insults hurled my way is gonna change that.

  56. Austin_Lewis says:

    In a civil suit, you could be sued by the bank, or by the individuals whose property you stole (assuming you went and robbed safe deposit boxes).  The felony crime is considered a crime against that state the bank is in, or the federal government if it’s FDIC insured.  However, IP laws and the like are far stranger.

  57. Austin_Lewis says:

    Yes.  She still was punished, and the RIAA doesn’t really need the money to defray their court costs.  They were just giving her an option for punishment that was easy to stomach.  If she doesn’t want to take it, she’s a moron, and they’ve done their good deed (or tried to).

  58. Austin_Lewis says:

    Right.  Because calling me a sociopath isn’t ad hominem, jackass.

    But I especially love how you’ve given up on the debate.  Maybe because you’ve lost?  Because you had no real point to start with?  Or because you’re one of those flakey anti-corporate types?  Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re an idiot.

    Why are you an idiot?  Because you feel that punishment should be tailored for people based on their situation, namely.  Oh, 2000 is too much, what about her children?  Yeah, that’s great.  But, and you would know this were you not an idiot ,the law is not here to be applied differently on any basis.  The law is meant to apply the same to rich and poor, white and black, celebrities and nobodies.  The fact that she has kids has NOTHING TO DO with how she should be punished.  She broke the law, and she took repeated risks, and now she’ll probably go bankrupt.  And why?  Because she’s an idiot.

  59. gamadaya says:

    I’m not sure this should be in RIAA’s hands at all. If you rob a bank, do you get sued by the bank? 

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  60. Ashton says:

    Well, I already said that I concede the point that she deserves punishment, but not bankrupcy. Forgive me for being against fucking over people who didn’t commit horrible crimes!

    But man, you’re pretty pathetic, Austin. Not only do you have no human decency, you use consistent ad hominem attacks against me in response to posts that are not only not inflammatory in any way, shape or form, but are not even directed towards you. I like how you still call me an idiot despite knowing only one thing (that I think her punishment is too much). That sure proves your point, and how "smart" you are! Grade A, good sir. You sure are the pinnacle of human existence. I wish we were all law abiding citizens contributing our fair share to society with extremist views like yours.

    Either you’re just a shill for the RIAA, or you really are sub human trash. Get your head out of your ass already.

  61. Austin_Lewis says:

    So let’s review.

    First off, this jackass illegally downloaded and shared 24 songs.  Then, she gets caught.  The RIAA tells her that, rather than a lengthy and expensive court battle that she will lose, she can pay 2000 dollars and it’ll all go away.  She declines, and forces both into a court battle.  She wastes government time and money trying to defend her breaking of the law (kind of like this last OJ Simpson trial) and loses (with a jury, if I recall).  They fine her 220,000 or somewhere around that, but tell her that they’ll still take 2000 dollars instead.  Still acting like a dumb bitch, she decides to waste MORE money and goes to the appeal, where they decide she owes the RIAA 1.92 MILLION dollars for willingly breaking the law.  At the end, the RIAA, those evil people, offer to let her off the hook for 2000 to 5000 dollars.  Her response is ‘good luck getting the money from me’.  Sounds like she’d rather bankrupt herself than pay the fine for her unlawful activities.

    Of course, then we have the idiots on the internet (hey, like you Ashton) who say that 2000 dollars for breaking the law 24 times is far too much, and that we should think of how we’re punishing her children (or rather, she’s punishing her children through her own actions).  Nevermind that she seems more set on bankruptcy than paying the money she owes.  So do I feel bad for her, or her children?  No.  She made a string of bad decisions, and the RIAA (those evil, evil, dastardly people, what with their constant offer of a low, low settlement) gave her plenty of chances.  She absolutely deserves worse than a slap, and she’s going to bankrupt herself, and she deserves that too.

  62. Ashton says:

    I will concede and agree with the point that she deserves something worse than the proverbial slap on the wrist. But, acting as if the RIAA are a bunch of innocent people who have been wronged is just too much for me, given their track record.

  63. Matthew says:

    Agreed there. But, she does deserve more than a slap on the wrist, for the very reason that she was offered a slap on the wrist and refused to accept it. She was given a second chance, and apparently a third too. They then somehow forgot how to count and jumped straight to the penalty for the 800th chance.

  64. Ashton says:

    I’m not saying she shouldn’t be punished, but extreme measures has NEVER been in the best interest of anyone.

    Yes, she was stupid. Yes, she broke the law. But just going "Fuck her, I hope she kills herself and rots in hell after they take every last cent from her" is just plain ridiculous. These laws are a deterrant. Failing that, they are a means to teach lessons to people so they don’t do the same thing again. This wasn’t some unspeakable crime, and people like Austin_Lewis are acting like Judge Dredd and saying that these people don’t deserve second chances – for incredibly minor offenses. That’s fucking sociopathic.

  65. Matthew says:

    While I don’t agree with the extremity of Austin_Lewis’ post ($1.92 million is self-defeatingly too much) I have to agree with the sentiment. She knowingly broke the law by distributing music illegally, and then when she was rumbled she goaded them on. In analogue terms, she was stopped for speeding and followed it up with failure to produce her licence, resisting arrest, and finally assaulting a police officer.

    She was caught for distribution, not downloading. She hasn’t stolen 100MB of MP3s – a crime which gets a nasty letter from the RIAA and a threat from your ISP – but copied and supplied to countless other people. That’s where the crime is, and that’s why the numbers are so large.

    Too large, really. You get a fine like this for distributing music and it’s effectively unpayable. It’ll destroy you, but the $1.92 million figure is practically nonsensical. If, on the other hand, they started fining people (say) $10 per song and such fines were fully enforced, people would think twice about sharing their collection of 200 tracks. $2000 is a measurable threat that sounds reasonable; you can actually imagine receiving a fine for it. A demand for $1.92 million is something few people would ever think of arriving on their doorstep.

  66. Ashton says:

    I haven’t found anything on her ‘knowing’ that it was illegal, but it’s a moot point. Everything you said is true, but if you appeal those fines you don’t get slapped with a million dollar lawsuit, do you?

    And considering you believe that she SHOULD go bankrupt due to her stupidity, that just proves my point of how you think your arbitrary definition of stupidity applies to everyone and anyone who fits within that definition should be punished for way more than they should. I declare that anyone who doesn’t know that taking too much corticosteroids can cause Cushing’s Syndrome is a dumbass. Therefore, anyone who gets a hypertensive crisis thanks to their hypertension being exacerbated by corticosteroids due to overuse has no business going to a hospital and asking for help, since they’re so Goddamn fucking stupid. So what about you? When should you be put on the chopping block for someone’s arbitrary definition of stupidity?

  67. Austin_Lewis says:

    When you break a law, you are subject to fines.  You can be fined 500 dollars for throwing trash out of your car on the highway.  You can be fined 1000 to 8000 dollars for speeding (1000 is for 20mph+ over the speed limit, 8000 is for speeding in a construction area).  You can be fined 125 to 250 dollars for jaywalking.  So how is her being fined 2000 dollars for WILLINGLY AND KNOWINGLY BREAKING THE GODDAMN LAW ‘ridiculous’?  She broke the law 24 times.  That evens out to a little less than a 100 dollars per instance.

    What is relevant is that she broke the law on purpose, knowing full well she was doing it.  It’s not like driving down the highway going 10MPH over the limit because you didn’t see the sign a ways back.  No, she KNEW what she was doing to be illegal.  As such, I have no sympathy for her.  She’s absolutely a dumbass, and she deserves whatever she gets.  She could have gone out and spent, at most, 300 dollars, and gotten, legally, all of these songs on CD.  Instead, she decides to illegally download and share the files.  What a great decision. 

    Should stupidity be an offense?  No, but its no excuse for your actions.  And she should have thought, before she illegally shared files ‘hmmm.  How could this affect my children given my mediocre level of income?’  She’s a dumbass, and your defense of her is just as idiotic.

  68. Ashton says:

    What you’re doing right now?  It’s part of that fucktarded ‘for the children’ mentality.  She did wrong.  She DESERVES to be punished.  Her children are going to suffer for it, and it’s ALL her fault.  SHE is responsible for this whole thing.  People don’t magically get away with breaking laws because they have children.  That’s moronic.  They don’t get out of debts because they have children.  That’s moronic.

    This isn’t some ‘for the children’ mentality, it’s you putting words in my mouth. I’m not saying she SHOULDN’T be punished. I’m saying that $1.92 million is fucking ridiculous. And personally, I think that even $2000 is ridiculous for 24 songs. Have her reimburse them for any songs she had illegally downloaded, and that should be the end of it. It would be enough of a deterrant, and they wouldn’t have to fuck her over financially, thereby causing indirect suffering for her children.

    You’re just one of those self-proclaimed smart people who think that stupidity should be a capital offense, never mind that your definition of stupidity is completely arbitrary.

  69. Austin_Lewis says:

    Patent law serves whoever owns the patent.  If you’re willing to exchange your ideas for money, don’t be surprised when the company paying you gets all the money for your ideas.

  70. Austin_Lewis says:

    At the end of the first case, the RIAA said if you give us 2000 dollars, we’ll call it even.  At the end of the 2nd case, they said if you give us 2000-5000, we’ll call it even.  Hell, BEFORE the first case, they said they take 2000 and let it all go; no expensive litigation, no annoying court fees, nothing.  Just 2000 dollars.

    What you’re doing right now?  It’s part of that fucktarded ‘for the children’ mentality.  She did wrong.  She DESERVES to be punished.  Her children are going to suffer for it, and it’s ALL her fault.  SHE is responsible for this whole thing.  People don’t magically get away with breaking laws because they have children.  That’s moronic.  They don’t get out of debts because they have children.  That’s moronic. 

  71. Ashton says:

    The first case had a final fine of $220,000 from what I read.

    And that still doesn’t explain how you can justify how her children deserve to be punished for what she did.

  72. Speeder says:

    What she is doing IS suicidal, but serves the cause well.

     

    What cause? Of course, the cause of the pirate parties!

    And I must say, I am a game developer, and I hate to see my work stolen by other people, but I am still a supporter of pirate party, why? It is simple, it is because the current patent law only serve to the biggest corporations crush everyone else, not to prevent people from stealing my work… And mind you, stealing my work is claiming that they did the work that I did, stealing the credit, copying a game that I made is not stealing my work (it is copying… and in fact I don’t bother with this, the people that want to pay will pay, and that peopel that cna not pay or don’t want, won’t anyway…)

     

    criadordejogos.wordpress.com

  73. Austin_Lewis says:

    Maybe she should have thought about that before she decided to pirate some songs.  Everyone knows it to be illegal, so when you do it, you’re taking a risk, and YOU KNOW IT.  Oh, and by the way, learn to read; The RIAA said that they would have taken 2000 to 5000 dollars, and still will. So, really, she needs to learn to be more RESPONSIBLE.  

     

  74. jedidethfreak says:

    What do you expect from an industry that turns drug dealers and murderers into millionaires overnight?  Some sort of morality?

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  75. MechaTama31 says:

    And the entertainment industries wonder why people hate their guts.  This is absolutely absurd.

  76. jedidethfreak says:

    Exactly.  There are a crapton of bands out there that don’t mind file-sharing, and there are a lot that NEED it to gain exposure.  However, as soon as they sign a contract, those shared songs are all of a sudden illegal.

    We need to look at the laws, and determine at what point are we really breaking them.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  77. SimonBob says:

    Sounds great to me — no more snobby self-entitled kids playing video games means more companies making mature games with complex plots for patient players, such as myself.


    The Mammon Philosophy

  78. Neo_DrKefka says:

    I don’t think you understand the point to the old DRM. A Kid is not going to study a manuel each and every time he wants to play a game so even if they bought it, it’s pointless to play. They even did this to the orginal Street Fighter.

    It annoys you to cease playing the game. The worst form of DRM ever

  79. Ashton says:

    That’s a perfectly justifiable excuse to let her four children suffer. I mean, who cares about them? It’s all about the RIAA getting the money they’re owed: $1.92 million for 24 songs! The RIAA are the innocent party in this! They didn’t act like a giant mafia gang that fucks anybody who crosses them over! They didn’t sue a man, then, when he died, continue suing the rest of his family!

  80. Krono says:

    Given the general sketchiness of the RIAA’s evidence, I can’t say I blame her for trying.

    In any case, I think she is indeed planning on filing to bankruptcy to get out of the judgement. Hence the whole "Good luck getting it from me." part.

    -Gray17

  81. Austin_Lewis says:

    This is the dumbest bitch of all time for two reasons.

    1.  She appealed the original, much cheaper, decision.

    2.  She wasted money on the court case, even after the RIAA has already said they would settle out of court for 2000 to 5000 dollars.  In other words, she’s going to be bankrupt soon, all because she thought courts would decide against rightful copyright holders.

    I hope she loses out, and I really think she ought be driven into bankruptcy.  That, or have her wages garnished.

  82. Wormdundee says:

    Just to be clear, google does not host .torrent files, nor does it run torrent trackers (TPB has at least 2 trackers).

    I’m not sure how this effects the legality, just thought I should point it out. 

  83. Ashton says:

    Yes, I know that the government is responsible for this. But damn if I didn’t think that the corporations aren’t blameless, too. If they acted with any measure of decency we wouldn’t even need the government to be responsible for this.

  84. chadachada321 says:

    Problem though is that people can make cracks to those quizzes or someone will make a .pdf of the game manual. =/

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  85. SimonBob says:

    Don’t forget those crazy wheels where you’d have to match up what the game showed you and put in the right answer.  My favourite was the one for Monkey Island: "what year was this ugly pirate hanged?"


    The Mammon Philosophy

  86. Neo_DrKefka says:

    If PC game designers want to stop game piracy they only need to do what they did in the 80s and early 90s with the Don’t Copy That Floppy campaign. Make every user read the entire manual which is like a small book and then force the user to take an educational long quiz and if that person can’t pass then they can’t play and take the entire quiz all over again with new questions.

    And in the 80s and 90s they were not multiple choices, you had to literally have a photographic memory of crap you read in your manual.

    PC Game Sales are hurting because of the new DRM and low quality games, when they tried this form of DRM PC Games rarely sold.

  87. DeepThorn says:

    Don’t blame the corporations for what we all know the govornment is actually responsible for.  They are the ones that have not kept up with technology at all.  They allowed the lawsuit total to go that high.  They are the ones that don’t even really know how to use a computer that well.  (Okay, maybe we dont want technology illeterate people making laws and judgements about technology.) 

    Yes, RIAA is a group of greedy bastard, but the governments around the world are allowing them to be greedy.  I still don’t see what Pirate Bay did that was illegal besides not taking down torrent links when notified that the torrent goes against RIAA’s opinion of the copyright law.  Google offers the same thing as Pirate Bay did, but without the comments.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  88. Ashton says:

    Suing an individual for $1.92 million for sharing 24 songs?

    Seriously, these corporations are a bunch of vultures. They really need to institute some sort of limit to this shit. I’m not for piracy or anything, but to just slap a person with an abitrary number that could ruin his or her life is just plain fucking ridiculous, to me.

  89. Neeneko says:

    The problem is not greed…

    The problem is concentration of power.  Too few people have too much of a say in the laws and too much of the wealth. 

     

  90. Spartan says:

    To hell with the current copyright laws. They provide ZERO benefit to society and most cases very limited benefit the creators of the culture due to business models. Copyright is NOT about multi-generational revenue streams or multi-decade invenstmet returns. The principle point of copyright is for "incentive" to create more for the benefit of society. Greed is evil and society is getting served a big huge pile of shit with the current system.

    —————————————————————————

    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  91. ZenAndNow says:

    Pretty much this.

    Exactly how many people would have learned about torrents outside of circles of geeks if major corporations weren’t constantly advertising the existance of said torrents? Perhaps the uptake of it would be inevitable, but I can’t help but feel it would be less wide spread if the corporations hadn’t banged on their drums.

  92. GoodRobotUs says:

    It’s because it got turned from a problem into a ‘war’.

    If corporations stopped looking at everyone who downloaded their music as the new third reich, and instead as normal, everyday people who have found a way to get something cheap or free and are, like any other animal in the world, exploiting an available resource.

    I’ll agree it’s illegal to download software, anyone who thinks they are ‘justified’ in doing so is simply deluding themselves, but rather than take the problem on board and try to treat the pirates (who are frequently exactly the same people as their customers) like real people, Corporations started trying to show off about how much trouble you can get into ‘if you cross them, it made them look like some kind of mafia.

    I think many people, seeing the companies out not for justice, but instead for some kind of percieved vengeance, took this as a challenge, and the whole thing self generated publicity from there.

    So the question is, who made pirating such a well known and popular past-time?

    The answer is ‘The very people who are trying to stop it.’

  93. Zerodash says:

    I don’t know who disgusts me more: The RIAA and their bullshit lawsuit tactics or the droves of kids on the internet who think stealing is their right. 

    Both sides of this argument suck.

  94. GoodRobotUs says:

    Thing is, no-one is going to even think about stopping until corporations stop trying to squeeze money from the public, and instead starting trying to earn it.

    There seems to be more and more of an attitude in corporate circles that if they can terrorise (Yes,  I used that Buzzword) people into not downloading they will somehow have ‘won’ some kind of battle, which is, of course, rubbish, the people who download your software are the same people who pay for it in the shops, this concept that ‘pirates’ and ‘consumers’ are two wholly seperate groups of people is a fallacy of the highest order.

    As was mentioned in the article, the best approach would be something equivalent to a ‘speeding ticket’, all this heavy-handedness will destroy custom, not enhance it, I’m just amazed that most corporations are so obsesed with the bottom line that they seem to have forgot the most basic business practice skills.

  95. Krono says:

    Is the solution to make small time, individual piracy the speeding ticket of the 21st century, punished with a stinging slap on the wrist when caught? Perhaps…

    That would certainly make the most sense. Unforunately that won’t satisfy the *AAs. I doubt they’d be satisfied even if they got the punishment changed to include amputation of the hands.

    -Gray17

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