Saturday, May 17, 2008

Recording Industry May Not Ruin Minnesota Woman: Music-Sharing Trial May Go Another Round

"Minn. download verdict may get new trial"
Netscape/ (May 15, 2008)

More to the point, a Minnesota woman may get a new trial.

"MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota woman ordered to pay $222,000 in the nation's first music download trial may get another chance with a jury.

"The issue is whether record companies have to prove anyone else actually downloaded their copyrighted songs, or whether it's enough to argue that a defendant made copyrighted music available for copying.

"The recording industry has sued thousands of people who shared music online, and has argued that all they have to prove is that the defendant made the music available. They compared it to someone displaying pirated DVDs for sale on a table."

The point is, that the judge had a lucid moment, realized that there was something wrong, and may give Jammie Thomas of Brainerd another chance to avoid financial ruin.

I don't know how it is in your part of the world, but not many people in outstate Minnesota have $222,000 USD. Jamie Thomas makes $36,000 a year working for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, which put her near this household's income bracket, back in our more prosperous days.

So far, record companies have sued at least 30,000 people: because they presumably distributed their recordings online. Jamie Thomas was the first to take the record companies to court, and demand a trial.

To put that $222,000 in perspective: that's $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that record companies say she distributed, or showed, or whatever.

I'm quite a fan of intellectual property rights, but judging from publicly available facts: this is crazy, or malicious, or (quite possibly) both.

I still think that people who produce creative works, and those who distribute them, should be compensated for their talent and efforts: but in this case the recording industry comes across as stark, raving, moonbat crazy. And wildly selfish, to boot.

Related posts, on Intellectual Property Rights

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