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June 19, 2009

Downloading mom fined $80,000 per song

Posted: 11:17 AM ET

After deliberating for only a few hours, the jury in Jammie Thomas-Rasset's federal retrial found the 32-year-old Minnesota mother liable for willfully infringing the copyrights of 24 songs she downloaded off the Web and awarded record labels $1.92 million.

24 cases of copyright infringement will cost a Minnesota woman $1.9 million, a jury has decided.

24 cases of copyright infringement will cost a Minnesota woman $1.9 million, a jury has decided.

Thomas-Rasset stood accused of using the file-sharing service KaZaA to download and share music illegally after RIAA investigators at MediaSentry linked several complete song downloads to Thomas-Rasset's computer. While the RIAA initially offered to settle the case for $5,000, Thomas-Rasset insisted she had never heard of KaZaA and decided to fight the charges in court.

The RIAA has sued thousands in its legal campaign against file sharing, but, according to her attorneys, Jammie Thomas-Rasset's case was the first such copyright infringement case to go to trial in the United States. When faced with the astronomical penalties detailed in the Copyright Act, from $750 to $150,000 per infringement, most of those sued accepted settlements from the RIAA for only a few thousand dollars.

Despite a vigorous defense from lawyers Kiwi Camara and Joe Sibley and tearful testimony by Jamie Thomas-Rasset, the jury concluded that she willfully infringed on 24 copyrights and awarded labels $80,000 per infringement.

While I was not particularly shocked by the guilty verdict, the jury's decision to award damages of $1.92 million is rather mind-blowing. The financial ruin this fine will likely cause Ms. Thomas-Rasset is substantially greater than the criminal penalties she might have faced had she stolen the physical CDs.

How do you feel about the verdict? Should the civil penalties outlined in the Copyright Act apply to private citizens who are not downloading and distributing copyrighted material for financial gain?

And before I plow through dozens of comments declaring, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime," consider lawyer Joe Sibley's closing arguments to the jury, paraphrased here:

If the labels can sue Thomas-Rasset, they can sue any of you. "This could happen to any of us." If a kid, or a friend's kid, downloads some songs on a computer at home, any person could just as easily be on trial with the same evidence against them.

Ars Technica provided excellent coverage of the four-day trial:

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Filed under: file sharing • Internet • piracy

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Anon   June 19th, 2009 11:32 am ET

I'd love to know how many of the people on that jury, or their friends and family download music off the internet. Let's put one of them on trial and we'll see if the verdict's still the same. Also, how can the RIAA justify $80,000 a song? It only costs 99 cents to buy them on iTunes! You know, reading stuff like this only makes me more determined to screw these corporations at every possible turn. Great job alienating your customers, hope it works out well for you down the road! Long live internet piracy!!!

Jake   June 19th, 2009 11:53 am ET

That is a ******** decision!!!

Bill   June 19th, 2009 12:06 pm ET

People will never stop downloading for free online. Seriously, who would ever pay a fine like this? What are they gonna do, throw her in jail if she does not pay? If people want to share their music with others, they should be allowed to do so. Was anyone fined for taping songs off the radio in the 80's?

Rich   June 19th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

This is absolutely ridiculous! Like a previous poster said, were people fined for taping songs in the 80's? I totally understand prosecuting people who record the music in order to resell it as breaking the copyright infringements but normal citizens just wanting to listen to their favorite bands? It's just outrageous!

Matt - Annex Theory   June 19th, 2009 12:26 pm ET

To reply to the first anonymous comment; the reason the amount is so much is because collectively, thats how much money the industry can substantially lose per song stolen (if not much more). That is, file sharing is a viral act, and it spreads, and there is no knowing as to how much a file will be shared and passed on; as opposed to it being bought legitimately. There is no telling as to how much money is lost per song (as it definitely depends on the popularity of said song), but that isn't the point. The point is that; whether or not collectively all the parties (musicians, promoters, labels, venues etc) involved in MAKING the money (legitimately) off of the music are making less than or greater than 80,000$ a song; the fines are very appropriate. Especially given the fact that the woman had the choice to simply fess up initially, and straight up lied to the investigators.

As for the jury, yeah, i'm sure they have downloaded illegally, but that doesn't mean they should go easy on her for doing the same. In fact, OF those in the jury, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them completely stopped in such acts (if present) entirely.

The only alienation involved here is the disconnect created by our own hard wired greed to take advantage of free things. Just because file sharing was on new grounds (in terms of our society and history) back in the nineties, does not mean that it wasn't completely wrong. Our acts as a society to think it's OK to take advantage of it is completely natural, it's instinctive, it's human. Thats why it happens. That's why we do things we shouldn't do. Doesn't mean it's right to do so.

Pete   June 19th, 2009 12:27 pm ET

This is a horrible scare tactic to try and freak everyone out. I agree the $80k per song is insane. 24 songs on this person's computer seems like nothing compared to some of the lists I've seen on others PCs. This woman really got screwed over and the jury should be ashamed of themselves.

RIAA-Losers   June 19th, 2009 12:34 pm ET

The RIAA and MPAA are complete idiots. They haven't learned a thing...downloading of music and movies is unstoppable....they waste millions trying to stop it and the number of downloads increases year after year . GIVE UP ALREADY!!! YOU WON'T WIN!!

Fakeson   June 19th, 2009 12:46 pm ET

So, this article is saying you're better off stealing the CD from the stores directly than downloading music. At least stealing the CD's the fine is tiny compared to downloading.

Honesly though, the fines attached to it are way overdue, because with no damage to the company, no physical or emotional damage to the RIAA, this lady downlaods 2 albums worth of material and instead of ordering her to pay for the songs and an additional $10,000 fine, they ruin her ilfe forever, completely. Most people in the USA do not even make a million dollars in their entire lifetime of working, which is hardly worth the eforts the musicians put in to make the songs in the first place. a few months work for musicians, a lifetime punishment for the infraction. Next they will sue people for using PVR's to record tv programs, and sue them for 20 million dollars per tv show.

Wendy H   June 19th, 2009 1:18 pm ET

This poor Mom is being used as an example. Why should she be singled out for illegally downloading while most of the kids do it? I know why. She has a small job, and therefore has money. They can't fine the kids, cause they have no money. Therefore, they are victimizing a single Mom who obviously can never pay that $2 million amount back. What a screwed up system, that a person with a hard life gets ALL of the penalty for one small crime. Let her pay the $24.00 and be done with it! I can understand $1,000 fine, maybe even $5,000, but more than that is absolutely uncalled for. What kind of servitude will they exact in place of the full payment? A pound of flesh? Her children? Corrupt system. Leave her alone.

Shaughn   June 19th, 2009 1:18 pm ET

This is exactly the type of thing that forces CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE...My opinion is that the law be damned if it becomes nothing more than a tool for corporate greed! Please read or re-read the words of Henry David Thoreau...This country is built on FREEDOM...not on GREED...if the courts uphold this judgement then that will be proof that JUSTICE DOES NOT EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA>>>only corporate greed and their paid government lackys... and and download and download...these greedy suckers will reap the whirlwind when we just stop listening or buying anything at all from them anymore.

brett   June 19th, 2009 1:18 pm ET

Sorry guys, theft is theft. If you have a pure digital copy of a song and you did not pay for it, you stole it. Just like shoplifting. A crappy hissy tape of a sone in the 80's is not a fair comparison. Somebody worked to make the product you have, and you took it without reimbursing them. I think the fine is a bit high, but it makes a point. Don't be an a$$, pay for what you use.

Jeff - Germantown MD   June 19th, 2009 1:25 pm ET

Author: I know you gave the statement about "don't do the crime if you can't do the time". I do agree with that stand for most things...

HOWEVER, I also believe that the punishment should fit the crime and in this case it does not. I presume that since this is a "first case of this type tried here" situation, they are making an example of her. This is crazy. At the most it should be equal to shoplifting a couple CDs.

To boot this was personal use not intent of redistribution for profit. She wasn't bootlegging CDs for sale.

I'm so discussed with the antics of our justice system it's not funny. Rapists and murders get out in 5-7 years but this woman is financially ruined for stealing 20-some songs? Tad amount to shoplifting! Give me a break.

Priorities, and consistency with reasonable punishments befitting the crime committed are what we need but it's obvious that we don't have in this country and the liberals in this country feel the right to jump up and down screaming about two reporters in NK that got caught. What BS!

Was she wrong: Yes, Did she break the Law: Yes, Is this a reasonable punishment: NO.

Shaking my head   June 19th, 2009 1:49 pm ET

Kazaa has been around for years, openly posting songs, and promoting and allowing downloads. Why not close the site, rather than beat up this poor woman? Is it somehow legal to post songs for download and only illegal for those who do the downloading? Or do the record companies own Kazaa, and use it as a speed trap to set people up?

This decision may be legally defensible and cross all the i's and dot all the t's, but it is not justice. The punishment is completely off the charts compared to the crime! I hope the lawyers who prosecuted this case are proud of themselves...How do you look yourself in the mirror after using a sledge-hammer to kill an ant?

Rape gets a guy two years maybe. Murder might get him five. How does downloading 24 songs trump those crimes?

I will tell you how–there is the money of corporations involved–people who can donate a lot to political campaigns, who can pay a lot for attorneys, and can keep up the legal pressure until they have exhausted all the assets of the defendant, who cannot afford the same legal help and eventually runs out of money.

Matt – Annex Theory says that by the defendant not buying that $0.99 song, she is depriving the record company of $80,000. I can't make that math work at all. After the calculation of the fine, did anyone back up 20 feet and look at it to see if it made sense? Evidently not...

Did they get the OJ Simpson jury for this? Or were they all bribed by the record companies?

But somehow Matt sees this as a correct judgment. That is illogical, heartless, and soul-less. Does he wear jackboots and a monocle?

Ron   June 19th, 2009 1:50 pm ET

Viva La Revolution!

Alex   June 19th, 2009 1:52 pm ET

I think Mr.Matt-Annex theory -has a dispicable arguement. We do not live in a society where citizens are put on to be made examples of, this was a legitimate trial in front of a jury of her peers. Although she commiitted a crime, there needs to be justice, otherwise we migh as well live in the midieval era and cut off heads just for walking on the wrong street. Justice as defined:the administering of deserved punishment or reward- are we that lost in our priorities that this woman has to go through this, we are basically putting her alongside mass murderers and theives at this staggering fine. Judges should know better..this will probably be fixed in the appeals system, but a shame that such a thing happened.

Tyler Smith   June 19th, 2009 1:56 pm ET

i think that the $$ should be divided up to the artists who wrote the songs that were downloaded. Then the artists can decide if she gets her money back. Screw the record companies. People can make their own CD's now as Radiohead have proven. we don't need them, and they obviously don't deserve us.

Scot   June 19th, 2009 1:56 pm ET

At approx $1.92 million, even if she manages to live to be 100, she would still have to pay approximately $28,200 a year in order to pay that amount. Keep in mind that this number is after taxes. Considering the average American probably only makes slightly more than that per year BEFORE taxes, the RIAA and the jurors have successfully ruined her life, and if she dies earlier, that fine will most likely carry over to the next of kin if I'm not mistake, effectively ruining theirs as well (or putting quite a damper on it) ... and for what? To make a point? Give me a break! I think everyone on the prosecution needs to do some serious soul searching and examine their hearts, and ask themselves... how many songs have I downloaded... how much would I have owed? Considering I have never met anyone under the age of 40 who hasn't downloaded at least one song illegally before, I'd love to see the logs from your computers, your spouses computers, and your kids computers, not to mention their 80% full iPods and then see if you feel the same way. The fact of the matter is, you're not making a point here. Instead you're simply shooting yourself in the foot. The world is not made up of millionaires, in fact it is quite the opposite, so how can you still try to claim that there is such a huge burden on the people behind each song when you're ruining peoples lives so that you can afford your overpriced clothes? If you were to give every cent of that money to a charity in Africa or something, then I might feel at least somewhat differently b/c this poor woman's pain will help many people and won't be in vein. Instead, she is effectively you're slave. She will toil away the rest of her life and you reap the benefits w/out even breaking a sweat. I say shame on you. And by the way... I'm pretty sure research has been shown that in most cases, if the person downloading the song illegally had no way to do so and instead had to purchase it individually or on a CD, that in most cases, they would choose neither and save their money, therefore even if they download the song... that is money you never would have seen anyway. On the flip side, I'm pretty sure studies have also shown that people who download music illegally tend to spend more on average on legitimate music than people who claim to not download music illegally. And before you say... well, those are the people who would be buying this music instead of downloading it.... realize that these people download and experiment with music that they never would have purchased otherwise... and in doing so tend to find music that they actually really really like... and then do the right thing and buy their CD or go to their concerts to support the artist. Sure that doesn't make it right to download music illegally, but instead of fining people thousands and thousands of dollars that they never would have spent on your pathetic little lives, you really should consider giving them community service time instead... because then they would actually be giving something back to society, much unlike yourselves. Grow a heart for crying out loud and quit your whining you spoiled little brats.

robert   June 19th, 2009 1:57 pm ET

these abusive tactics fuel anger towards the music industry. as far as im concerned its all the more reason to have ZERO pity for the music industry.

jgk   June 19th, 2009 2:09 pm ET

"To reply to the first anonymous comment; the reason the amount is so much is because collectively, thats how much money the industry can substantially lose per song stolen (if not much more). "

That is a BOGUS argument. There is no those 24 songs she posted (likely unintentionally) to share on Kazaa would generate 80K a piece in download revenue.
1) Just because someone downloads something for free, doesn't mean they would buy it. Maybe 200-500 downloads per song? Maybe. But not 80,000. (And guess what RIAA? Most people who download free stuff do it as a way to sample, and end up buying things they would not normally buy. )

2) The punishment does not fit the crime. People should not get the death penalty for a parking ticket. Even if the penalty were the same as shoplifting the 24 songs– it would be less than $500 (even if she stole 24 CDs) which in most states is a misdemeanor and would result in a $500-$1000 fine and probation. "JUSTICE" means the punishment fits the crime. See: 8th Amendment of the Constitution.

3) The RIAA is using its govt influence to cling to an outdated business model. Songs are not worth as much as they used to be- because people value them less. Its called capitalism. And the music industry could have, back in 1997, been forward thinking and created subscription download/.49 and .99 downloads, etc. and not created a market for illegal downloads–

My favorite illustration:
On John Lennon's MIND GAMES download, you can pay .99 to download "Nuptonian International Anthem"- which is a joke track Lennon put on the album consisting of 2 seconds of SILENCE.

Matt   June 19th, 2009 2:14 pm ET

maybe if the music industry actually put out good music once in a while, file sharing wouldn't be an issue. who uses kazza anymore btw? i thought that company merged with the limewire people, who merged with the morpheus people. o well. all three of those providers are laced with tracers and viruses. why people still use them is beyond me.

cavedweller96   June 19th, 2009 2:19 pm ET

Before I Post I would like to say I have never illegally downloaded anything off the internet, I use Itunes or Pandora. I watch videos on Hulu. I don't even have a torrent program. I am glad that they made an example of this lady. Illegal downloading is WRONG. It is despicable just like stealing from a store. way to go jury

Joshua Watson   June 19th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

This is absurd! While what this woman did was not right and should be punished appropriately this is absolutely ludicrous! A record company makes more money in one week than most Americans will ever make in a life time. This is a case of pure greed on the record company and lawyers who pursued this verdict. The prosecution team should be ashamed of themselves for what they just did to this woman.

"We the people”, because that's who her jury was, a collection of more than likely middle class Americans like you and I, just ruined this person’s LIFE over an item that could be bought off the shelf for less than $25. Isn't life an unalienable right that we swore to defend and protect along with liberty and happiness in this country?

The Declaration of Independence states emphatically that the reason we declared our independence was because “He has sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance". It goes on to say, "He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people." We have let our own government systems turn into the very tyrant that we left in 1776.

We the people are plundering, ravaging, burning and destroying our own. We the people are allowing unruly government policy to plunder the people we swore to defend. We the people are allowing an out of control court system to ravage our families. We the people are allowing tyrannical prosecutors to destroy the lives of our people. We the people are allowing greedy businesses, corporations and government to harass and eat out the substance of our people.

“In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” So, what do we the people do when that tyrant, that plundering, ravaging, burning and destructive Prince happens not to be them, but us? Yes. I did say “U.S.” We the people have become the tyrannical Prince.

The conclusion on the matter is this. Our Nations “new birth of freedom under God” hangs in the balance. It hangs in the balance because of one solitary ideal; a principle that is antithetical to whom we the people have become. That solitary belief is this. We are a government of the people. We are a government by the people. But, we the people are no longer a government for the people.

Jade - Fort Worth, TX   June 19th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

This is absolute BS! I don't use a P2P and am still outraged by this judgement. I'm disgusted. This will only drive a bigger wedge between consumers and the record companies. The people will adapt! Even if online sharing is somehow obliterated what's to say people will stop burning CDs? Use portable storeage devices like thumbnail drives? Use Bluetooth? Or even cable one MP3 player to another? If this is the way it's going to be, then I'm more likely to stop using iTunes and make it a point to just get my music "elsewhere".

Record Companies, if you ever read this, you're only hurting yourself and your precious artists. Who's best interest do you really have anyway???

Artists, if you can get out of your contracts, do so! If you're good enough as "they" say you are, you won't NEED a label. Play it and we will come.

Brucej   June 19th, 2009 2:46 pm ET

The judgment is grossly overvalued and I agree with most of the comments made. I do believe the WEB sites should be made liable and not the person downloading it for non-profit use. There might be a precedent here as well, if you get caught with songs on your iPod which you legally bought (either through purchased download or recording from CD's uploaded to your computer) and you don't have proof that you legally purchased it, would that be considered theft? Based on that I owe the record company $774,000,000.

Asaf   June 19th, 2009 2:49 pm ET

Only in the U.S can this happen. You greedy insects!!!

Silvio   June 19th, 2009 2:59 pm ET

This is BS but she is a bonehead for wanting to go to court. She apparently lied about not downloading from Kazaa. Why pick a fight you cannot win?

Regarding the record companies they are hurting themselves but the musicians are inappropriately silent. They should protest the record companies abusing their customers this way - or are they in agreement?

chris   June 19th, 2009 3:08 pm ET

to respond to matt annex theory- your theory is correct. to simplify your point, this mom broke the law and contributed to an overall loss which should be recompensable through a settlement or lawsuit. if this is wrong for the riaa to do, then we must express that through the proper chanels, such as legislation. completely kantian in essence. totally acceptable, as organized and civilized life would not be possible without this agreement. the practice, however, is completely whack. the riaa will recoup nothing, this will wreck her credit and eliminate any savings/401k/ira she may have. you're an armchair philosopher. you're the one that's disconnected. what's the point of fining someone 80k per song, when her individual contribution to the overall loss was mere pennies? furthermore, this does create resentment. look at all these posts indicating displeasure at the actions of a giant corporation. she's being made an example to be sure and if they think they're having an impact on illegal downloading, well, i'm downloading a song right now!

anon   June 19th, 2009 3:26 pm ET

I don't think this is the right decision. It is possible that the law was broken by one of her neighbors if she had been using a wireless router. A lot of the time people don't put up any security on it, so their internet connection can be accessed by anyone within a few feet from the house, even next door. What I think happened is that this woman's neighbor or someone around her used her connection to get KaZaA, download the music, and all the while place all the blame on her.

Laura   June 19th, 2009 3:37 pm ET

She knew the downloads were illegal and therefore should be charged with theft. If redistribution took place (ie. seeding her copies for additional users to DL, thereby becoming an accomplice to further thefts) then the penalty should be increased accordingly. Charging her enough money to fund a top notch college education PER SONG is ridiculous and I hope she has a successful appeal.

Music and film industries need to adapt to the times. Make the process of legally sampling and acquiring their products easy, efficient and cost effective to consumers (nix that proprietary format junk) and you will gain loyal customers. Mess around with the patience of the twitter generation and you will get ignored in a most expensive way.

Alex   June 19th, 2009 4:06 pm ET

These companies are struggling to operate on an obsolete business model. With the internet, information spreads freely, and there's *nothing* you can do to stop it (just look at the pirate bay, they threw the guys in jail but the site is still up). Music is essentially just information – bits of ones and zeroes – and trying to "own" information just can't work, no matter what the RIAA, MPAA, or government thinks. The world is changing, and these dinosaurs don't want to change, so they sue the pants off people in order to make an example. But it hasn't worked, and it never will.
–The solution is to innovate. They either need to find ways to use the free-flow of information to their advantage, or find new business models that can't be pirated. And if the big guys won't, it's just a matter of time before some clever entrepreneur does.
And lawyer types put a lot of work into finding "the right" jurors. Who do you think has the higher paid lawyers, the mom or the RIA?
Just in spite...I'm downloading 100 songs right now, anyone wants to join me?

Loser   June 19th, 2009 4:35 pm ET

The worst is that the songs were probably Phil Collins songs. More than a million bucks, for Phil Collins songs. Wow.

brian   June 19th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

This ruling shows two major flaws in America today. The first is that more and more our laws are interpreted by large players in society. The socking irony of this is that the frivolous lawsuits in the 1990’s who’s awards were meant more as punishment to a large companies rather than compensation for the victim were found to be illegal. I would agree that it was not in the courts jurisdiction to use frivolous lawsuits as a means to prevent businesses from doing cost benefit analyses that could potentially keep a defective product on the market because court costs would be less than the cost to fix the flaw. This would be the court effectively trying to govern business and not the law, but it seems appropriate for courts to enact large payment lawsuits who’s goal is not to match the damage done but to teach the society (of private citizens) not to download. The other flaw that stands out in my mind is how ignorant of technology this jury must have been. While it is true that the RIAA legal team would have removed any potential juror who admitted to willfully downloading illegal music, I have a feeling this jury look like every other one I have ever seen. Loaded with either senior citizens or individuals who lack the talents to remain gainfully employed. Dodging jury duty has become a sport in the United States and justice and the interpretation of the law has suffered. If you feel society has changed since 1955 when most jurors turned 18, then you have a civic duty to be a juror when called.

Joshua Judkins   June 19th, 2009 4:50 pm ET

this is absolutely absurd!! I cannot believe the jury awarded the RIAA that much money...unless the defendant could afford it, which i doubt she could. How is a single song worth 80K? That's STUPID!!! The fine for one song is not worth even 20 CD's!

tex   June 19th, 2009 4:56 pm ET

chris- lawsuits can't garnish 401k/ira.

others- This fine is silly, but until we pass some sort of new intellectual property laws, it stands as the law of the land.

I wish I could get a quarterly check for all the work I've done over my lifetime. Some of it still benefits people today but I don't get anything. I think their system is broken and will suffer a complete breakdown from the lowest of low tech file sharing – the sneakernet.

1TB drives already cost less than $100. It is pretty hard to track someone walking to their friends house and copying that 200,000 song collection that a 1TB drive holds. At my school there are plenty of kids with 3-10TB collections of movies and music. In 5-7 years you will probably be able to fit most of a record store worth of albums on a single $100 portable drive. It is a battle the RIAA can not win.

So the music industry will have to make money in a different way. Artists will have to perform and earn money by doing so. Distribution of music will just become a promotional deal for us. Flash drives of Green Day in my Captain Crunch? If thier songs are popular they will earn money when movies and corporate use is involved. Or when a bar pays them to play.

For the next 5ish years I'll be happy I'm obsessed with vinyl and vacuum tubes. I wonder what most people will do though when they can drop a spare drive in their computer with every popular song from the last 100years for $100.

Joe   June 19th, 2009 4:57 pm ET

Although this verdict may deter users from downloading music, it certainly will not entice these same users to go to a store and/or buy music...

Jack Bauer   June 19th, 2009 5:56 pm ET

Why did this person get sued, but not the millions and millions of people who download songs everyday in this country?

anon1   June 19th, 2009 5:58 pm ET

Boooo RIAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Greedy People!
I am so cancelling my Napster account.
No more money from me for you people.
Back to my good old radio. Oh no! Am I
going to get sued for using my radio?!?!?

Yea PIXAR for what you did free with UP
and the 10 year old.

Fan appreciation is what sells (PIXAR).

RIAA sues the people that pay them
they outrageous paychecks instead.

Steven   June 19th, 2009 6:01 pm ET

Since the vast majority of commentors are complaining loudly about the "music industry", "corporations", or the "RIAA", it's important to know who you're talking about.

If you want to face the enemy RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) posts a list of all their music industry members online at:

Look them up! Then you'll some real names to complain about.

Jay52   June 19th, 2009 6:06 pm ET

$80,000.00 per song... thats a rip off

Maryellen O'Connell   June 19th, 2009 6:07 pm ET

My thinking is this, does she have that kind of money?
And if she did, why not buy the music for heavens sake?
Where are they going to get that kind of money from average people.
Thank God I work at a company that will make this whole process better so people do not have steal content but find it with ease.
More to follow on that!

chris   June 19th, 2009 6:27 pm ET

After doing some research... I found out that in the Kazaa disclaimer and terms area that the member is liable for any infringment. Also Kazaa's parent company is in Australia. The RIAA don't have jourisdiction to Australia. As a consumer pleaser read the fine print before you purchase anything.

brandon   June 19th, 2009 6:30 pm ET

What the hell...just laugh at them in court and say your not gonna get any money from me. especially over a million.. the judicial system lacks common sense and always has

Straight Guy   June 19th, 2009 8:32 pm ET

Whiners! She deserved it... if she didn't steal, she would not have any problem. Criminals deserve all they get. If she stole from your mother you would the the first to damn her. Just pay the price and if you don't like it, don't use it!

J Kerr   June 19th, 2009 8:50 pm ET

I used to be able to sort of see these guys points of view. Not any more. I hope this is viewed as the creation of the digital millenniums first martyr. From this point forward I am going to do anything I can to avoid putting even a penny into the RIAA and MPAA's collective pockets and I hope others feel the same way. I'll buy used CDs and RIP them before I'll buy new and I know lot's of folks who will sneakernet music even more now. RIAA consider this – how are you going to catch people who are passing USB drives and DVDs full of ripped music around just long enough to copy them?

Steven   June 19th, 2009 9:10 pm ET

Most people would agree she should be fined for illegally downloading music. Justice needs to be served. I would even say $5000 – $10,000 would be a good fine. This is a mother, probably middle class, struggling to keep the family going, I am sure the fine of $1.92 million is realistic. This fine is not justice but something closer to "ha ha we screwed you, next." I would believe this fine would constitute cruel and inhumane punishment.

Sara   June 19th, 2009 9:27 pm ET

that is ridiculous...the closing statement is right, it could happen to anyone, and even by accident! the free sharing websites should not be bad! if there are people out there CHARGING others to dowload a cd they bought, that should be punished...but peers sharing files? this has got me waiting for a knock on my door from the boys in blue

Frank   June 19th, 2009 9:32 pm ET

I am very mad but not alot because i use limewire nonstop and i get my music from there but its a good place to get shared music

TK   June 19th, 2009 10:06 pm ET

A verdict like this assumes that there are "real damages" which then assumes that EVERYONE that downloaded the songs for free would have bought the song if they couldn't get it for free. This is simply not true. I'm betting that more than 99% of the people that downloaded the songs would NOT have bought the songs anyway.

I see no difference in you people using a DVR to record your favorite movies and then skip the commercials or downloading a song VS recording them off the radio and removing the ads today.

Remember, pirates don't care about DRM and they simply remove it... but DRM makes honest buyers want to remove it and makes them pirates if they do.

someone else   June 19th, 2009 10:58 pm ET

Did it ever occur to anyone that she really never heard of KazAa and one of her kids downloaded it, used it once, and woops?

Bob   June 19th, 2009 11:05 pm ET

Infringing on copyright is not limited to illegal downloading and selling bootlegged cd's. Being an independent musician I refuse to get tangled up with any record company. They only want money.. nothing else. I will say this... Illegal downloading happens because the people who do it believe that everything on the internet is free and should be free, so they have no remorse to download a song illegally. They use the mindset of, "well its just one song and they arent going to miss it, musicians are loaded with money anyways". I would be willing to bet not too many of these folks are actual musicians who spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours writing and recording and producing music. If they had that commitment, they would immediately understand how they are undermining the creativity of musicians. Not just musicians, but everyone who creates books, music, movies, etc. Although I don't agree with the fine, I agree with the lawsuit. Left unchecked, illegal downloading of music and all types of entertainment media is going to choke off and eventually ruin the whole industry. As a songwriter, how long do you think I am going to produce music and offer it to the public through a legal purchase and download when in the back of mind I am wondering just how many people have ripped me off? I read the comments on how no one was sued for recording songs off the radio... No Kidding!! The reason for this is because the radio stations pay licensing fees to play the songs. The artists are compensated for their efforts even before you pushed that record button back in the 80's. I have absolutely ZERO respect for anyone who steals music or anything for that matter.. If you like the song, pay for it and be happy that you are supporting an artist that you enjoy and want to enjoy for many years to come. Don't take food out of the mouth of the creative people in our country. This may seem far fetched but there may come a day when the music you loved for so many years is nowhere to be found except at the live concert you have to pay a lot of money to see. That may be the only way an artist will be able to survive the illegal downloading that is undermining their craft. Take it for what its worth, but if it was your song that you put your talent and time and heart into and created, how would you feel if you got NOTHING for your efforts? Think about it the next time your buddy says.. "Hey, here is a link to download that new song." Tell him/her.. I think this time around I'm going to actually support this artist and spend a couple of bucks for the music.

chachi   June 20th, 2009 12:21 am ET

long live internet piracy! f the music industry fat cats.

BK   June 20th, 2009 12:32 am ET

The only thing worth discussing here is whether the punishment fits the crime. We can assume she is guilty and SHOULD be fined.

I think they are REALLY pushing it if they think record companies lost 80,000 dollars PER SONG she downloaded. Each song costs 1 dollar to download off they are somehow expecting her to give each song to 80,000 people, thereby creating a loss of 80,000 dollars?

If someone stole 2 CDs from a store I can GUARANTEE that the fine would not be 1.92 million dollars and you know what? That person can go home, put the songs on their computer and pass them around just like someone who downloaded songs.

Maybe the record companies could have THEORETICALLY lost 80,000 dollars per song but they didn't actually, and she should be charged based on the REAL damages, not some theoretical number that is possible.

"You dealt 2,000 dollars worth of damage to my car, but technically you could have blown up the ferrari that I could technically own and owe me 400,000 dollars, so we'll charge you that"

Robert Kent   June 20th, 2009 12:52 am ET

Can she declare bankruptcy?

If not, can the RIAA garnish most of her income for the rest of her life? What are her options? I'm sure she'll NEVER be able to pay it off.

If you want to trade music or other files, I suggest you take your laptop to Star Bucks and use their free wifi (annonymously of course).

VictimsOfTheHeartless   June 20th, 2009 1:25 am ET

Did the RIAA Just Sentence This Woman To a Life of Slavery?

The RIAA has gone too far this time. They have taken advantage of a flawed system and in turn have crush the lives of many American citizens.... I'm sick of watching that happen. I hope there are others out there who are just a sick of it as I am. Check out Lets help this poor woman get her life back and rally the people of the United States to stop the RIAA from enslaving others with their massive settlements and lawsuits!

Josh T   June 20th, 2009 3:27 am ET

I doubt they can successfully prove they lost $80,000 per song. Can they put a number on how many people downloaded the song from her?
Isn't this where innocent until proven guilty should come into play?
As far as they know they know no one else downloaded from here, therefore to their knowledge they only lost .99 per song.

Shane McGuire   June 20th, 2009 5:06 am ET

I have been a Limewire customer for a few years now. I have downloaded the songs and tunes that I want. I refuse to pay for the entire CD for only a mere handful of songs and tunes.

I can appreciate the artistic value of the work of the artists. However, this is a double edged sword also. The record labels are also gouging the customers on the retail end of the deal too.

When I can walk into my local Electronics store and purchase 50 blank CD's for the cost of 2 retail music CD's with the material on them, and the Jewel Cases included, there is an issue.

But there is another side to this story also. When you sign up to those sites, (which you must do), you click a disclaimer about the usage of this material.

I have never shared or sold the matrial that I have downloaded either. This is my own personal collection that I play in my car or my home.

In any event, the record lables make more money of the Music Video and Radio distribution than the CD's. And... if they are making the majority of their capital from CD Sales, then the darn prices need to come down to about what I pay for the blanks that I burn anyhow.

Jeff R   June 20th, 2009 9:02 am ET

Scary. It shows how the rich get rich. They steal millions from workers, investors and taxpayers and they get suspended sentences still keeping piles of money they've hidden away. The record industry bullies these people who have stolen (yes I believe "downloading" is stealing if you take something and don't pay for it even if you don't think the price is fair it's stealing) the equivelent of a few or even a few dozen CDs into paying $5k or be prosecuted. Then ONE person refuses to pay up to the extortion and the RICH use THEIR laws, lawyers and JUDGES (rich friends) as their muscle. It's no different than being told to pay up or we'll rough you up. BROKEN SYSTEM TWISTED BY THE RICH TO SERVE THEIR OWN NEEDS USING WORDS OF THE LAW INSTEAD OF THE SPIRIT. She deserves 90 days and reasonable restitution.

Basement Musician   June 20th, 2009 11:36 am ET

As many have mentioned before, the fine seems quite outrageous when you consider what the punishment would have been had the woman stolen a CD from a store. Most people aren't disputing whether or not she did wrong; we're arguing that the punishment FAR outweighs the crime.

Also to consider is who would receive the money from this $80,000 per song fine. It sure as hell won't be the artist. Most artists receive less than $0.10 per song from an iTunes download. iTunes takes 30-40%, while the record company takes the remaining portion. In theory, this lady could mail the artist a dollar for each song she downloaded; and they would receive more money than had she legally bought the album online.

As recording technology becomes easier and cheaper to come by, you will see more and more self-produced artists emerge. They may not fill 60,000 seat stadiums without the big money of a major label, but they will be successful in doing what they love for a living.

Josh   June 20th, 2009 4:35 pm ET

The punishment is over-the-top. Ruining her life indefinately isn't a fair judgement. I know digital distribution is rampant and her participating in it furthurs it's spread, but the truth is, stopping her isn't going to stop everyone. If you make smarter systems, you make smarter criminals. People evolve around things like this. They strive for it actually. I think artists and digital age aren't working well with each other, and it will resort into live performances to really drive their business. She was treated way too harshly.

Eric   June 20th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

Outrageous. She should have to pay $24 for the songs she stole and maybe an additional fine – that would seem appropriate. Ruining this lady's life for forcing her to pay a lifetimes salary is not justice. She's stupid for not settling in the first place, but this is just wrong.

Tom   June 20th, 2009 6:00 pm ET

They must have payed the Jury off. Seriously thats the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. Seriously the RIAA needs to burn in hell for its greed.

Michael   June 20th, 2009 8:30 pm ET

It doesn't deter me. I have about 10GB of music I've collected over the years. Most of which I don't listen to except occasionally (and those that I do have received my support in terms of concert attendance and t-shirts).

I haven't been seeding it for a while, but I think I'll go back to that, in honor of this case. Cheers, RIAA. I can't wait till copyright law is changed and you are filing for Chapter 11.

Steve   June 20th, 2009 11:16 pm ET

Crazy.... Maybe we should sue the labels for giving us crap like Brittney Spears....

Anna Lucia   June 21st, 2009 12:50 am ET

They ruined the life of that woman and her family forever!!! Because they will never be able to pay that amount of money. Their lives are ruined now.

Some rapists or murderes never get punishments that ruin their lives forever... How can you compare one crime with the other??
That is so unfair and stupid!!!

Thanks for the news... now I will go download some music!!!

Colin Brown   June 21st, 2009 1:56 am ET


I have cartloads of CDs bought at great expense. I am going on a six month suspension of purchases. I invite everyone to join me in this suspension of a vendor relationship in response to this disgusting attack on an American citizen of limited means.

Brian   June 21st, 2009 2:37 am ET

All this and the RIAA is trying to also get the Radio Stations to pay for playing the music to begin with. They are pushing themselves right out of being relevant and they think to reassert themselves they will Sue Sue Sue. Its sickening. Yes what she did is wrong, but c'mon. 80k a song. This just shows the greed and how silly they are. What will they do when the backlash from this hits and when congress (if they do) passes this resolution and all the sudden radio stations are not playing the songs. Try promoting the music now RIAA. I think they are going down fast.

crooks   June 21st, 2009 4:45 am ET


Mark   June 21st, 2009 8:40 am ET

Trying to stop people from downloading tunes is like trying to stop people from having sex, or trying to stop people from smoking pot, or trying to stop people from eating brownies.

The extent to which the RIAA has proven their unsustainable policy is mind-boggling. It is a known fact that the RIAA doesn't represent the artist. The RIAA represents themselves and themselves only.

Jason   June 21st, 2009 10:01 am ET

I think we should boycott artists who have made a pact with the RIAA, if they don't want us to listen to their music for less than 15 dollars for a scratchable cd who needs to hear their gimmick approach to art and culture, are they millienal musicians for money and a vampirical tendency to flaunt the dimensions of their world so we can pay for a product like a cd. Maybe we should help her pay for her fniancial and emotional struggle for inner and inorganic freedom without the scrutiny of business or police writing everything we write download and share with one another in this information age. If a magician were reading here mind do you think writers would bark at her asking for her milk money everytime she recited a cpoied poem that society coherced her into believing was good poetry? Why do we like popular music and what is the cause of hysteria for and behind the music revolution, with all the hype it makes sense that we might fall into the trap of free music, given some dloader's have thousands of low qity music songs and the misinformed within the Cyber community pay for information that should be free, after all that is why we created the internet, for the revolutionairy act of of exchanging words and free "information" with the conflicts of the world over we've grown lax in our under compliance with a system that perpatuates evils we would beset on ourselves or any of the human family. We've grown so bored we've forgotten to tax the system that taxes us and uses our taxes for God knows what. If we can't form a peaceful protest against treacherous acts against people perhaps we do not deserve the luxury of cash free rock n' roll or uncopyrighted alt-jamz. Something like a boycot needs to occurr if people are sued for over a million or even hassled for some sold out rock artists.

Craig   June 21st, 2009 12:29 pm ET

The only thing I see that would spite RIAA is if we all could find a way to pitch in some money and come up with the amount of 1.9M for the victim. As this would show RIAA how we appose of such nonsense. Anyone remember the teenage girl several years back that RIAA did this too?

Jose Magadan   June 21st, 2009 1:59 pm ET

24 songs does not = $ 1.92 million
This will ruin her!!

Jim   June 21st, 2009 7:26 pm ET

KaZaA should be liable. You need to eliminate the distributor to fix the problem. Suing several thousand people when tens of million of people do it won't put a dent in the problem.

Why can one steal three CDs (or about 24 songs) from Best Buy and get court supervision and maybe a fine of a few hundred dollars? Jammie didn't cause $1.92 million in damages. She caused about $30 in damages on a personal level. KaZaA should be liable for enabling her to steal with such ease and enabling others to steal from her. How file sharing services get protected in cases like this is absolutely astonishing and an embarrassment for our legal system.


Trouble with Riaa   June 21st, 2009 10:47 pm ET

So stop the downloading already.....They are so upset with downloading. News flash eveyone, You can go to your local library, check out what ever cd you want nearly. While it may not be the latest and greatist all the time, most of the time it's better than the C#$@ that is coming out now. Whos gonna pay 15-20 dollars for one good song on the cd? I try before I buy. I like I buy. Simple concept.
Have not downloaded since napster days, damn I love the local library though. Donated CD's to a public municipal public building for the people. Love to see how they are going to skirt around the constitution on that one!

Jeff   June 22nd, 2009 12:40 am ET

To Bob, the musician.

Sure the artists were paid prior to the song being played on the radio, but the artist also gets paid when a CD is paid for. This is the source of the track to begin with. You mention to pay the artist a couple of bucks to get the CD? Where can you possibly do that? How much does an artist get from a 15-20 dollar CD? Not that much, considering the RIAA and other labels get 90% of the profit. The artists don't make diddly unless they get a sweet recording deal. They make their money in the concert business and other non-recording endorsements. Anyone that thinks the musicians get rich off of selling CD's directly is stupid and ignorant.

guy in KC   June 22nd, 2009 12:47 am ET

I don't think the jury has anything to do with the monetary damages, do they? I believe they choose guilty or not guilty. I also don't believe that if they downloaded songs themselves, they shouldn't have participated. The jurors still needed to be convinced by the prosecutors that she broke the law. She got caught and they proved it. The damages and fines are usually delivered by a judge, or a predetermined amount from previous cases. I just find this fine silly considering you can steal a tank of gas and the state won't fine you a lifetime of lost tax revenue.......

Jeremy   June 22nd, 2009 2:33 am ET

I think in most of these cases, the dowloaders are acting "relatively" innocently.

However, when one uses a site such as KaZaA, or any other bit torrent type site, they typically agree to allow their computers to be conduits through which others can download the same files.

If I illegally downloaded a file, and then a thousand people illegal downloaded that file off of my computer, then it makes legal sense that I should be held accountable for all 1001 of those illegal downloads.

If I stole a CD from a store, made a thousand copies, and distributed it to a thousand people, few people would argue against the notion that I should have to pay for all 1001 copies.

Brett   June 22nd, 2009 3:14 am ET

Some of my friends have previously downloaded a couple songs off of some websites and then deleted them because they got scared. I can't believe they are making her pay $1.92 million in damages! Make her pay $10 a song and a $1,000 fine. I can't believe what has happened! If this happened to me (even though I don't illegaly download music) I would have accepted the $5,000 settlement and walked away.

José   June 22nd, 2009 3:59 am ET

One can only speculate about the nature of the individuals in an industry which manipulates world governments to do their bidding and enforce their version of the law over that which the people would VOTE on if they were given the chance.

We all were amazingly given the ability to VOTE on the EQUALTIY of gay marriage, yet where is the voter ballot for how to handle the appropriateness of punishment for music/movie piracy, and other future (and present) internet issues? Ah, I see, they haven't come to your town yet, huh? They won't be either. Trust me.

The only way we can influence what is going on with the Music/Movie Industry is to:
1) Be of Mediteranean decent (and I ain't talking about the goyim Greeks my little mishugana)
2) Be Rich and the head of the RIAA/MIAA.

Even then, if you tried to get them to be reasonable, you'd be sent to some little cell in some cold country far off in Bavarialand.

andrew   June 22nd, 2009 4:08 am ET

This is rediculous. How is the HIGHLY TRAINED legal system of this fine nation going to stand by and let some poor woman be CRUSHED by such a penalty?

It really sickens me that artists are so worried about money they will sue some mother for millions just because she downloaded a few songs. It's disgusting period that someone should have to suffer so much for something so small. Look at this for an example:

O.J. Gets off scott-free for murder.

House mother gets fined millions for downloading a few songs.

Is it just me, or does something sound seriously wrong here?

Troy   June 22nd, 2009 7:55 am ET

I agree, I hope the artists receive their fair share of the 80k per song she was fined. If they believe it was too much, then they should give her some money back. But I doubt they will. After all, she did steal from them by not paying for the songs. Is the fine a little outrageous compared to rape and murder, yes. But the law states don't download song illegally. She did, she lied , she now pays the price. If I was an artist and people were stealing my songs, you bet I would go after them, just like all of you would. But I doubt a lot of you would admit it in public.

anonymous   June 22nd, 2009 10:03 am ET

This is laughable. Utterly ridiculous. Insane. They obviously did this in hopes that people that only moderately download would be scared and think "oh man, they are going after everyone now!" and stop doing it. To the people who said "she did wrong, she got what she deserved" what on earth are you thinking? If you got the fine you would not say the same thing. This is not an argument about whether or not downloading songs is right or not, but rather that fining someone over a million dollars for this is just so completely stupid it makes me laugh. As some others have stated, the justice system is so messed up when I can go shoot someone and get off easier than I can for sitting at my computer and listening to some song I got off the internet. REALLY PEOPLE? I could go down to the store and shove a bunch of CDs in my shirt, and not have to pay anywhere near this. What's to stop me from copying the CDs? I always liked the FBI warnings at the beginning of DVDs and VHS that says you can get fined $250,000 and 20 YEARS IN PRISON for copying the video. You can get completely screwed for giving your friend a copy of your DVD then you can for actually hurting someone. It's all about the almighty GREEN PAPER! YAY Capitalism!

eman   June 22nd, 2009 10:07 am ET

80,000 dollars pers song...those same songs you can get for a dollar each (around) on itunes. You can borrow a cd from a friend and import it into itunes and not pay, and thats technically piracy. No matter how hard they try, piracy can' be stopped, theres a power in numbers. While im not supporting piracy, i think the laws need some major adjustments.

Olivia   June 22nd, 2009 10:21 am ET

I don't know why everyone is complaining. She stole fair and square. While everyone agrees that the penalty was far worse than the crime, the fact still remains that she had the option to settle for $5,000 yet opted not to. That's her own dumbness.

Why would anyone willingly go to court against industry giants such as RIAA? You are crazy to think that you can beat this people who can afford the best lawyers and manipulate the system to their advantage.

Lastly, everyone who is going to try and boycott the RIAA and rip them off etc., chances are you probably won't succeed in giving them none of your money in some way or another for the simple reason that they are a conglomerate company with many names and labels underneath their umbrella. And it's not only limited to music. So good luck with trying to trick the system of media and entertainment.

Nick   June 22nd, 2009 10:46 am ET

two words. corporate greed.

Brandon   June 22nd, 2009 11:26 am ET

Matt the giant flaw in your suggestion is that you are saying "make the woman pay for every person who has ever download the song". Which makes as much sense as a football bat.

Perhaps when you jaywalk you should get charged with 10 million or so j -walk fines, see you on the electric chair =)

college student   June 22nd, 2009 11:28 am ET

She stole nothing, she did not deprive anyone of a work.
Remember those 'you wouldn't steal a car' commercials? Well, the analogy fails because the internet is like a magic wand producing copies for everyone. I wouldn't steal a car, but if I could walk up to a car dealership, wave a wand, create an exact copy of a car, leaving the original where it stood, and drive off, who would call that theft?
Everyone who has visited this webpage, has created a copy of it on their computer. You have just violated CNN copyright, turn yourselves in and offer your life savings as reimbursement.
Digital copies != theft. The younger generation is laughing at all these comments condemning her actions. These laws will not exist when this generation comes of age. Get the money while you can dinosaurs

Brandon   June 22nd, 2009 11:32 am ET

Oh and one other thing, you see how many conflicting arguments are in these comments alone? Do you really think they reached an unanimous vote that quickly? Can we say payed off jury?

David   June 22nd, 2009 11:56 am ET

So the industry and the RIAA wanted to make an example. Of a young mother! The people that are downloading massive amounts of music and video, illegally perhaps, are sophisticated enough to use SSL or other encryption schemes and certainly know enough about proxies and how to remain anonymous that the RIAA will never catch them.

The FBI couldn't stop Bin Laden, so they concentrate on privatre downloaders of music. They are pathetic, what do you expect from an agency where their founding director wore a dress!

Guilty, ...perhaps! Liability for nearly $2M, ....reprehensible. I blame the jury as much as anyone. I hope one of them does something illegal and then gets me on their jury. Payback's a b*****.

Greg   June 22nd, 2009 2:21 pm ET

Not sure about the bankruptcy laws in her state, but she'll probably be able to declare bankruptcy and be relieved of the debt. It's not like she'll be trying to pay it off the rest of her life.

That's if it stands. Most outrageous judgements are reduced on appeal.

But, most importantly, pissing and moaning in the comments section of CNN will do absolutely nothing to change this. If you want things like this to stop, you need to write to your congressman and your senators about copyright reform. And if they don't get on the copyright reform bandwagon, you need to make sure you vote against them.

If you don't demand it of your elected representatives loud and clear, the only voices in their ears will be those of the lobbyists paid for by the music industry, the movie industry, and the software industry who fill their heads with bogus theories and figures that make these kind of penalties seem appropriate.

It's not as black and white as some posters on either side would make it seem. I'm a content creator who is being harrassed by a copyright troll, so I know both sides of the issue intimately. The rights of both content owners and content consumers need to be protected and balanced. It's not an easy balance to strike.

But unless consumers get their message across to their elected representatives, consumers will get more and more screwed.

John in FL   June 22nd, 2009 3:11 pm ET

If I buy a CD, then I take this CD to five of my friends and let them copy a song of the CD, is it copyright infrindgement? That's is basically what file sharing is, just at a greater number? BUt am I violating the law since I purchased the CD?

I know all the people involved with making, recording, and distributing the music have the right to make money from their product. But where does this become absurd? If they want to stop people from file sharing, shut down the file sharing sites. Don't go after ordinary citizens because it just won't work.

David   June 22nd, 2009 4:22 pm ET

(1) What difference does it make that she is a mother? "Downloading mom fined $80,000 per song" Are we supposed to be more sympathetic toward mothers?

(2) This was a civil trial so "cruel and unusual" does not apply.

(3) She had an opportunity to settle but took the gamble that a jury would acquit her so she would get off without any penalty. Bad decision.

(4) The payout is excessive to me. I am curious how the jury came up with this number.

(5) Just because it is easier to steal other people's work today, does not make it right.

dan   June 22nd, 2009 4:48 pm ET

just plain stupid.

jjoelc   June 22nd, 2009 5:56 pm ET

first point I have that nobody else seems to have brought up... This was a civil lawsiut, NOT a criminal case. IF she had been tried in a criminal court, the fines would have been considerably less. Also, in civil cases, there IS NO presumption of innocence. The "procecution" (plantiff) only has to provide reasonable evidence, NOT prove guilt BEYOND reasonable doubt. And yes... it is the jury who decide the fines. It is possible, but very rare for a judge to override a jury's decision. (That's what appeals are there for...) The lower burden of proof and higher sums of restitution ae exactly the reason the RIAA did NOT file any criminal charges and chose to file a civil siut instead.

next point... Kazaa is a program, not a website... Bittorrent is a protocol, not a program or a website. trying to hold bittorrent responsible for copyright infringement would be like trying to hold english (the language) liable for kidnapping just because the ransom note was written with it.

Otherwise, yes, it was an outrageous amount of money. Yes, the RIAA is off their rocker, and more and more artists are deciding to bypass them entirely or at least partially. Yes, the artists are getting screwed over, have been for a LONG time... but it is the Wal-Mart model... the artists figure it is better to make 75 cents per album for a million albums, than it is to make 5 dollars per album for a couple of hundred albums...

Jason   June 22nd, 2009 8:35 pm ET

Absolutely ridiculous.

I have a proposition. Make a list of the 24 songs she downloaded, and the 24 bands who perform those songs. Ask them how they feel about this. Ask them what they feel a just penality would be.

Would make for an interesting piece here on CNN.

I've been to concerts where the artists encouraged (if not demanded) that people download their music. I believe his exact words were: "I don't care if you want to buy the CD, or burn a copy from a friend. Buy it from a website or download it for free. All I want is to make music, and for you to hear it."

Commenter   June 22nd, 2009 10:53 pm ET

Think about this obvious fact: if she hadn't stolen the music, she wouldn't have been prosecuted.

If you want to blame someone for the verdict, blame the woman who wouldn't settle for peanuts, or better yet, her lawyers who probably talked her into fighting a case she couldn't win.

The music companies are not the lawbreakers here. You people are 100% of the problem. A generation of thieves trying to completely remake the entire music industry based on one simple premise – from now on stealing music is the norm and music providers just need to accept the losses, pay their people nothing and keep providing music to satisfy your criminal appetites for the latest tunes. Illegal downloading, and arguing that it's an acceptable crime, is the cause of all this.

All of it.

Just look at your own comments:

Long live internet piracy!!!

Just in spite…I’m downloading 100 songs right now, anyone wants to join me?

I know lot’s of folks who will sneakernet music even more now.

Please… and share…download and download and download

if they think they’re having an impact on illegal downloading, well, i’m downloading a song right now!

i use limewire nonstop and i get my music from there but its a good place to get shared music

long live internet piracy! f the music industry fat cats.

It doesn’t deter me. I have about 10GB of music I’ve collected over the years.

Thanks for the news… now I will go download some music!!!

Unbelievable. An entire peer network, supporting and encouraging each other to keep stealing and telling each other how okay it is.

Music companies are not breaking the law here. YOU are the lawbreakers and the fools, causing all of this to happen by stealing music and pretending the "greedy" music companies are the bad guys. Reality check – YOU are the greedy ones, thinking music is automatically free for the taking, and you the cause of this whole problem.

Making music and especially creating music is hard work. You need to pay for people's hard work instead of steal it, or make your own damn music. As Bob said above – not too many of these folks are actual musicians who spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours writing and recording and producing music. If they had that commitment, they would immediately understand how they are undermining the creativity of musicians.

I say again, if she hadn't stolen the music, she wouldn't have been prosecuted. In fact nobody would. Amazing the problems that can be avoided by obeying the law.

Like $1.92 million judgments.

John   June 23rd, 2009 12:27 am ET

This is very simple – the punishment should fit the crime.

The real greed is in the RIAA's actions...

Olivia   June 23rd, 2009 3:38 pm ET

Commenter couldn't have said it better.

michael   June 23rd, 2009 6:24 pm ET

Make a whole album that is worth it and i will buy it but today's music sucks you go out spend 20 dollars on a CD and one song is good f that !

pinaxe   June 23rd, 2009 9:23 pm ET

Piracy is bad but RIAA and DMCA it is an absolute evil. You people are enslaved by corporations aren't you? Do people need a law by which single mom could be fined $1500000? People don't. Corporations do. You people can't change it. It is a pity but it is true.

Thought Police   June 23rd, 2009 10:19 pm ET

What's next? Lethal injection for stealing candy?

Aaron   June 23rd, 2009 11:11 pm ET

This was a 'federal retrial' – not a supreme court decision? I'm hoping that an appeal will be filed. Is this justice? 1.92 million for a single CD's worth of song writing – recording – distribution? Sounds pretty unjust. Well then, I hope God has the same kind of justice on the record label's deeper pockets and high paid liars.

Enrico Martinoli   June 24th, 2009 3:01 am ET

And during this time, real criminals in Wall Street are just being bailed out with higher bonuses...

This makes absolutely no sense.

tzugidan   June 24th, 2009 10:22 am ET

It's amazing to me to read some of the comments here that give latitude to illegal behavior. Perhaps these are the same folks that complain to the cop who got them for speeding that "hey everyone is speeding, you can't stop it, so why bother."

These defenses are laughable, and frankly as a person who does not engage is this (primarily because I respect artists and their attempt to earn an income), am glad that a message has been sent and a precedent established.

Perhaps this will not stop illegal behavior, but I'll bet dollars to donuts it has an effect.

Mike   June 24th, 2009 1:54 pm ET

Rediculous. I bet the jurors kids are probably using KaZaa or bit torrent to download music and can't win in this digital age. Digital downloads actually spreads the music. It really is a free marketing tool. Someone will eventually go out and buy the album on iTunes or a store after listening to it.
So is there a penalty for someone burning me a CD? It's the same...they bought it, and passed it to me.

thecagedbyrd   June 24th, 2009 2:39 pm ET

Thank you Lars from Metallica for starting the witch hunt... The worst thing about it.. She downloaded crap music... What a waist of tax payer money..

Jeff   June 25th, 2009 2:39 am ET

This is absolutely insane! It's one thing if you download the songs and then try to resell them for any type of financial gain, that should be punished. However, it is absurd that they fined her for simply listening to some songs she got off the internet. Is it illegal to borrow a CD from a friend and listen to it? NO! It is the same thing, the only difference is that we use technology (i.e. computers and the internet) to share with people, instead of physically handing each other a disc. And as others have said, it's not illegal to record songs playing off the radio. You can just as easily record audio that is being played on internet radio stations.

James   June 25th, 2009 11:40 am ET

Most of you have missed the point. Stealing is Stealing. If you produced something uniques and someone stole if from you and passed it around without compensating you, you would be outraged. Just because you "WANT" to do something doesn't give you the right. I'd like to run down to the local car dealership and take a luxury car for a weekend spin, but unless the dealer agrees it's still theft.

I don't feel all that sorry for this lady, she had a chance to simply admit she was wrong an move on but she had to compond one mistake with another by lying about it.

My only concern is that it is easy to get all sorts of "bad" software installed on your computer without your consent. (how do you think viruses spread) so there does need to be safegards to determine the difference between just being a dupe and intentionally breaking the law.


GodKillzYou   June 25th, 2009 12:42 pm ET

She should have used PeerGuardian.

Durkee, Jeremy   June 25th, 2009 1:48 pm ET

This is absolutely absurd. The punishment obviosly does not match the crime. Who was the judge and who in the hell were the jurors. $#@%ing ridiculous. Absolutely @#$%ing ridiculous.

Joe   June 25th, 2009 2:12 pm ET

As of the iTunes store and its counterparts, there is no legitimate reason to illegally download music. If you don't like an entire CD, you get one song for a USD. Very reasonable.
And as stated, music sharing is viral, hence the huge fee per song.

However, regardless of the "potential" impact any one person has, 80k per song is friggin ridiculous, and the range o fine per song is basically leaving it to a judge, jury, lawyers and label, to collectively convict a person to an extent based on guesswork or theory. There should be a fine per song, and that fine should approach "damage" numbers ONLY if and when that computer has been linked to a tree of subsequent downloads.

Cracking down on freeloaders is a good thing. Fining a single person over a million dollars without evidence that the person is responsible for millions of dollars of damage is ridiclous and should absolutely be appealed on that grounds.

Greg   June 25th, 2009 2:23 pm ET

The Constitution of the United States FORBIDS cruel and unusual punishment, as well as EXCESSIVE FINES from being imposed. She should challenge this all the way to the Supreme Court. If this isn't excessive, what is?

Joe   June 25th, 2009 3:01 pm ET

Not just excessive, but the extent of which the fines were are apparently without basis other than theory. Also, she idea she is responsible for damages due to people in turn stealing using her computer is prosecuted her for the *potention* wrongdoing of others who are not being held accountable.

S   June 25th, 2009 3:17 pm ET

What a rediculous award. How can anyone in their right mind say this lady owes $80,000 per download for songs that cost $0.99 per download. If someone steals a cd and is caught, they certainly are not penalized $80,000. Furthermore, do you actually think this lady is going to pay $1.92 million dollars, heck no. And if she did, how much of the $80,000 per download do you think will go to the actual artist?

Do record companies have any morals? Well, they can drown in the immorality of illegal downloaders for all I care.

Steve Z   June 25th, 2009 3:32 pm ET

I am entirely unsympathetic. While on its face, the award seems high, she was clearly guilty of breaking the law. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. The RIAA graciously offerred to let her off with paying $5k, which seems like less than she would have paid for the songs had she lawfully purchased them. Instead, she decided to LIE and say she never heard of KaZaa. Serves her right.

Oldwhiskers   June 25th, 2009 3:33 pm ET

I believe I've lost my ability to understand. I really do wonder at times if maybe I have some sort of mental disorder. It seems to me that the world has gone crazy. A lot of things just don't make sense to me anymore.

Just a thought – I have a song that I wrote and own, which is obviously worth millions in light of what I have recently learned by following this very interesting case. I will gladly surrender it to RIAA to adequately cover payment of Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s fine.

RIAA lawyers know who I am. All they have to do now is tap into my computer and download the song and provide Jammie a receipt marked "Fine – Paid in Full".

Oh, wait a minute. I've just realized that by posting this simple message and exercising my freedom of speech, I may have set myself up to be the next "example" which could mean that a Swat Team might surround my home at anytime. I might even end up being executed for being so stupid. I now fear for my wellbeing and that of my family. What kind of world are we living in?

OMG! Comments welcome!

Steve Z   June 25th, 2009 3:36 pm ET

My mistake. I thought there was more songs than 24. Nevertheless, considering that she willfully violated the law. $5k still seems like it was a pretty generous offer. She chose to roll the dice hoping that, even though there seems to be no qestion she broke the law, sympathetic jurors would let her off with no punishment. In a stranges twist, this jury actually followed the law and did not base their decision on emotions. How unique.

Datan0de   June 25th, 2009 3:37 pm ET

To Brett and others, downloading music from the internet is NOT "just like shoplifting". That's propaganda that the RIAA wants you to believe. It is NOT theft. It's copywright infringement. Legally they are completely separate crimes, and to consider them equivalent (either legally or morally) is factually wrong.

This fine of $80,000 per song was, according to one commenter, based on the *potential* loss to RIAA. This is a slippery slope, and a terrible precedent. This poor woman was punished based on a hypothetical calculation, rather than any actual damages. How about we start fining people who smoke indoors for the replacement cost of the building? It *could* potentially start a fire, right?

Mark   June 25th, 2009 3:48 pm ET

Ok, this is WAY out of proportion...

1. She's lost her case, and been fined, it'll cost her $1500 to file BK, there is no debtors prison in this country. So all this conversation about FINANCIAL ruin is ridiculous.

2. With that said, the jury awarding that penalty was insane, they know she can't pay it, so why make it so high?

3. If she's like 95% of the population, she doesn't have any assets that can be taken away, her car is likely upside down and her home most likely (at the age of 32) has a mortgage against it.

4. Since most Americans are in debt to the tune of $25,000 anyway, I would think most could really look at being sued like this as a blessing. Since the BK laws got changed to favor the credit card companies, many American's can no longer get out from under that kind of debt, so being sued and losing for $1mil + (as long as you defended yourself to keep the attorney fees down) gets that person out of debt with a BK after the judgement is awarded and they don't have to pay the $25k in credit card debt anymore.... all for just $1500. As if they had assets and plenty of money, they likely wouldn't be downloading in the first place.

5. 80,000 per song? What about the people that have 1,000 songs? $800,000,000.00 you've got to be kidding.

6. What's really sinful about this, is when she does file BK, the records industry gets to write off the bad debt against real income, so they really do win doing this.

Sad, Sad world we're in now.

X   June 25th, 2009 3:56 pm ET

to any of you making the argument that someone should pay for music to support the artists and that illegal downloading is theft, consider the following: the biggest thieves in the market are the record labels and music corporations themselves. on average, contracted artists receive somewhere in the area of 2 to 5 cents out of every dollar spent on cd's or tracks released on distro services such as itunes or rhapsody. guess where the rest of that dollar goes. artists primarily make money off of ticket sales and merch sales, neither of which are impacted by internet downloading. in fact, internet downloading could theoretically increase an artist's profit by helping a consumer decide what music they like and what bands they like enough to see live. illegal downloading does have its detrimental effects, but detrimental to who? that is the greater question...having said this, i feel this woman should appeal on the grounds of her punishment being unconstitutional and i expect an appeal...

taylor breeze dl music yes i do   June 25th, 2009 4:02 pm ET

I download music put em in my ipod to test em out come home and delete the music that i don't find appealing. if over half the songs i heard i enjoyed i then buy the album. I am pretty sure there are million of regular joes like me in the world. but to pay 80K per song you must of been out your muthafucken mind or some if you think i will ever pay that. I'd flee this country and start elsewhere i am pretty sure it would be cheaper to start over somewhere else than to pay my yearly salary per song is it illegal to download and not share? cause sorry i don't share what i download goodbye

Ryan James   June 25th, 2009 4:05 pm ET

I'd like to see a revolutionary change in the way artists present their music to the public. It's a shame that people who have very little musical talent make more money than does the artist that writes and performs the music that we love so much.

casey   June 25th, 2009 4:55 pm ET

Personally, I wouldn't buy anything out today. Rock has become whiny and pussified. Pop music promotes pedophilia. Country isn't even country anymore. It's poppy rock music. That about sums up the music industry. I've just started listening to NPR. I hope people just start putting out their own music through avenues on the internet and refuse to sign any contract with any record company. I hope all these business fail and go away. These companies have never given artists a fair deal anyway and we don't need them anymore.

Joel   June 25th, 2009 5:27 pm ET

I would like to address some of the egregious misconceptions concerning this case and illegal downloading in general.

1. Downloading songs without payment or consent of the owners is theft, morally speaking. The perpetrator knowingly steals information in defiance of copyright laws, causing everyone who put effort into producing and distributing that product to lose money. As this problem has become and epidemic pestilence, artists and companies are losing untold amounts of money. Just pay the 99¢ already.

2. This mother will not be paying the full 1.92m. Civil cases often have bloated awards that are later resettled or rescinded. She will likely end up paying reparations amounting to less than $20,000.

3. To all you people yelling that the music industry should just give up: people would take notice and something would be done if a large segment of the population tried to legitimize the theft of millions of dollars worth of merchandise from any retail outlet. Illegal downloading is no different; you are using a product (yes, music downloads are products) without paying for it.

I could counter a few more points, but I myself dislike insanely long posts. That belongs in the realm of essays and blogs. I'll sign off with my proposal to fix this problem. Add illegal downloading to the criminal code as its own crime. That way there would be set proceedings and fines for violations.

Carlos Forrester   June 25th, 2009 5:44 pm ET

A king is having a banquet............a pauper comes in starving.........grabs a handfull of food..........he is caught and executed!!
This is justice for the rich and influential!!
Why did they not just give the poor woman the death penalty? I guess that would be letting her off easy!!

Chad   June 25th, 2009 6:03 pm ET

I think it is absolutely ridiculous that they can fine that much for a theoretical loss. The idea is based on all the other people who could have downloaded the song from her. But they don't who these theoretical people are or where they live or if they even exist. And what about the people who made these songs available on Kazaa in the first place? Because they don't know who or where all those people are, she's taking all the blame.

All you finger waggers telling us that "a crime is a crime" are missing the point, which is that this punishment is grossly disproportionate to the crime itself. There's a term in the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution that has been invoked by the Supreme Court to describe gross disproportionality: "cruel and unusual punishment." I hope the Supreme Court eventually sees this case, because this nonsense needs to stop.

navi   June 25th, 2009 6:10 pm ET

@ Matt – Annex Theory – What i find funny is that many artists are condemning the RIAA for there greed. The artists do not see any money from record sales, but they are the ones who are getting the bad rap from these witch hunts. To charge $80k a song is ridiculous by any standard. In addition, the way the RIAA and Media Sentry find these people are often subjected to questionable tactics that can lead to both inaccurate. Sadly many of these the RIAA's victims are bullied and pay up so they never have to see a court room.

Dan   June 25th, 2009 7:31 pm ET

Just another reason why it is nice to live in Canada where there are no ridiculous lawsuits.

Shane   June 26th, 2009 1:58 am ET

What i don't get is how the hell the record labels are able to convince people that one song should be worth $80,000. Especially since this sum of money does not go to a single one of the artist that the music was stolen from. It is pocketed by the record labels due to contracts saying that the artist do not receive this money. I think this is complete bulls**t and while i don't agree with downloading music but the courts and the jury should be told that first and then see what the decision will be.

Shane G   June 26th, 2009 2:47 am ET

Ok, I understand both sides of the story, however, commentator (correct spelling) you did not do your fact finding. Within ten seconds of reading your post, I simply googled search record labels being sued for falsely accusing people of downloading cases. It turned up 3 major cases involving people being accused of downloading illegal content. The cases were overturned and the defendants returned with lawsuits of false accusations and illegal investigative practices. I am not biased because I personally buy all my music directly from itunes but, before you try to post some "interesting facts" please do a little research

shayne   June 26th, 2009 7:23 am ET

I personally support piracy , although I do not engage in it, because despite the nonsensical claims of the music industry, research has shown piracy lowers prices for consumers.

The angry claims of the record companies are incapable of defying the laws of economics, and those laws say that if a cheaper version of the product is available, consumers will edge that way, and that brings the supply/demand curve down to cheaper optimum point.

More to the point, google an excellent essay written maybe 5-6 years ago by Courtney Love about napster, where she states that the bands , even the big ones, see very little of the money made from music sales, and most small bands dont see any money from their music anyway, so it would be better to find ways to deal directly with the artist, and piracy spurs that so be it.

As it turns out since then many such things HAVE turned out that way, with myspace+mp3s becoming a wonderful way for people to directly interact with small bands.

Also look up trent reznors views on the topic. They guy basically says its inevitable so bands better look for ways on working WITH free downloads instead of AGAINST them, which can only be a losing battle.

However for me, Itunes works fine, and I dont mind chipping a buck a song in.

Dave   June 26th, 2009 1:00 pm ET

Completely ridiculous fine. You can download songs legally for 1 buck, 80,000 for 1? That's a terrible miscarriage of justice, given there should be punitive damages (else everyone would do it) but 80,000 times the value of a single song is just outrageous. I'd say 100 bucks per song (or 2,400) if that. And who's to say *she* actually did it.

You can smoke in an elevator for $25, seems to me like the federal government just can't keep up with the times (i.e. 25 bucks was probably a lot back in the 50s...)

Serial007   June 26th, 2009 3:11 pm ET

If someone were to create a virus to download 500 songs to each of the music executive's computers and each case managed to go to court, one person could successfully cripple the entire music industry.

This is an extremely small amount of songs we are talking about in this case compared to most people that choose to illegally download. With the viruses, botnets, and malware existent in today's I really would not be surprised if she was telling the truth and did not download any of those songs. Should she still be punished?

I still don't believe a crime has been committed. With two albums worth of songs a better defense would have been fair use of copyright for research in an article, paper, or educational topic. An mp3 is in no way a CD quality version of a recording. If you were to account for the changes of technology over time it would be equivalent to making a tape recording of a radio signal or taping a show.

Use of a VCR is still a legal method of recording TV, the same goes with using a DVR to record TV because it falls under fair use. If this person had a terrabyte hard drive full of music and was sharing all of them without a license then I could begin to understand how it is no longer fair use and is blatant copyright infringement. The way the legal system is set up right now though the penalty for such a case would be greater than the GNP of a country.

I believe the correct approach for the music industry to take would be to create better technology for protecting their intellectual property. Instead of wasting time, money, and abusing the legal system with frivolous lawsuits. Money should be spent improving the quality of CDs as well as creating better licensing contracts media distribution companies such as pandora,, and You can already listen to music that has been paid for through these methods, by supporting them and creating competition in these types of markets you would no longer have to worry about digital downloads and you would still be generating revenue to support music artists.

Robbie Phelps   June 26th, 2009 9:11 pm ET

I believe a reasonable argument could be made that this verdict is unconstitutional – as I believe it could be construed as 'cruel and unusual' punishment.

This woman has essentially been doomed to a lifetime of suffering for stealing less than $100. Cruel, and unusual.

Nicholas   June 27th, 2009 11:51 am ET

Although I'm way late in this post and no one will likely read this after the miles of spam about how this woman was treated unfairly, I still feel obligated to respond to some of the points I see reiterated in this thread over and over.

1. This woman was accused of file sharing in 2005 and was using 2005 technology to share files through the internet. Kazaa back then (a gnutella client) was not the same as the Kazaa client you see today. Peer-to-Peer was a very adequate description for what she was doing. You would list a song and someone would download the song directly from you. The clients that we have today are more aptly described as Peet-to-MulitPeer since the file you want downloaded is streamed from possibly hundreds of different people.

***She actively shared these music files in their entirety with possibly hundreds of other people***

2. Songs today can be downloaded for 0.99 cents but in 2005 you didn't have the 0.99 cent option. Pre-download/piracy era you didn't have the option of downloading a digital copy of your music and had to buy the entire CD if you wanted to hear a specific song.

***The fines seem silly in light of the direction digital media has gone but not so funny when this woman was sharing these files****

3. This woman wasn't just stealing the music (downloading it for her own enjoyment). She was actively distributing her entire library of 2000 or more songs. This shows an intent beyond the cost of the lost CD, it shows willful damage to the industry.

***At some point she moved from being a disadvantaged citizen to a full fledged sabatour****

I'm not saying that they should have ruined her life over this issue or that the RIAA was correct in prosecuting this case. I'm just hoping that the full weight of the issues that I pointed out come to light.

shariff   June 27th, 2009 6:09 pm ET

copy all music get get real job

lando   June 30th, 2009 11:00 am ET

Copies of digital music and movies can be infinately created, and instantly distributed, and never faces holding costs for units not sold; yet at $1 per mp3 it is the same cost of a CD ($16 CD with 16 songs), which has to swallow costs for manufacturing, shipping, distribution, and holding costs. Plus, try to resell an mp3 and you will get laughed at... they have NO resale value. What justifies the $1 cost? If greedy record companies wouldnt charge so much, maybe people wouldnt download as much as they do. The greedy record companies are essentially printing money. And yet they paint the consumer as the bad guy. Im sick of watching shows like cribs which displays the wealth robbed from the consumer by the artists... If music is about the art and about the music, then why do they need so much money??? And that is just the artists, not the record company execs... Be careful record companies, and F-U.

mike   June 30th, 2009 11:00 am ET

Brett – you are correct. Theft is theft. However, if you stole $30 of retail merchandise you would be required to pay it back, anbd would be charged with petty larceny, which would likely result in a fine of a few hundred dollars, not 1.9 million. Even the initial settlement offered was WAY too much. Honestly, if they treated it like petty theft it may be more effective. If the cost is $1 per song charge them $3 for punitive damages and be done with it, but as someone pointed out, when the punishment so far outpaces the crime it inspires civil disobedience. Why does the RIAA seem determined to go to war with its customers? They should be looking for the middle ground of $1 per song.

qwert smith   September 7th, 2009 9:06 pm ET

this is jacked up

shayne   September 8th, 2009 8:21 am ET

"**She actively shared these music files in their entirety with possibly hundreds of other people***"

says one of the readers of this blog.

Well, assuming a value of $1 per song to download, and assuming, say 200 downloads from her directory (200 is almost guaranteed to be far more than it was, but lets take a really high number).

At 24 songs, 24 * 200 , she should be fined $4800, or assuming the rule of triple damages for intentionally evil acts, about $15,000

million+ dollar fines have no basis in reality.

marie   December 27th, 2009 9:48 am ET

Your kidding me? EVERYONE downloads music! Well at least they do here in Australia...i don't know one single person who doesn't...this is crazy

marie   December 27th, 2009 10:14 am ET

The comments saying that what this woman did was wrong and that she's a criminal are hilarious! What world are you people living in??? We must all be criminals then........i myself sometimes borrow cd's from the library...that doesn't cost me a you think that's wrong?? I am not a music fanatic so i am not going to go buy cd' whether i downloaded music or not they wouldn't be getting any money from me.

coetsee   December 29th, 2009 2:21 am ET

Experts have talked about this before. How many times have you read about the importance of ‘adding value’ for your audience? How many times have you read about ‘building trust’ with your readers/prospects?
Many, many times. You know it well. Every marketing guru has spoken about this topic. I’m sick of hearing it. But it STILL bears repeating


William R. Cousert   December 29th, 2009 2:01 pm ET

These lawsuits will just force people to find other ways to share music. Swaping at work or school or going to public hot spots to set up their laptops.

Another option is to create a private P2P network – one that the recording industry can't monitor.

Ileana Mcgavisk   January 10th, 2011 2:11 pm ET

I'm not able to see this web site properly on my phone :(

Aris   March 3rd, 2011 7:37 am ET

First of all, the fact that she had a chance to settle for a relatively small amount but chose to go to court against a giant like the RIAA, is stupidity at its best....!!

Furthermore, she did break the law and she should be fined since she was caught. However the fine is insane....
There is no way she will ever be able to pay even half that money.
She was the first case to go to court on this matter and the RIAA simply seized the opportunity to make an example out of her!

Obviously downloading is not proper. It is illegal, but the record companies need to understand a few simple facts.

1) the price of the CDs is outrageous, especially considering that there are like 2-3 good songs in an album of 12 and the rest are cr*p...

2) I have no objection to pay for a piece of good music like Offspring, Metallica etc. However, I simply refuse to give up good money to buy garbage like Justin Bieber.... Not all CDs can cost the same.

3) Get with times!! The internet is here to stay! Whether you like it or not, files flow absurdly easy online so instead of fighting a losing battle, try to come up with a new business model and adapt to the modern times.

It's time for the copyright laws and the record company policies to get with the times.

The Music Industry and Online Piracy « blogchucuto   July 6th, 2011 8:49 am ET

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John   August 12th, 2011 6:37 pm ET

I realize the record companies are trying to protect themselves, but to go after mothers of 4 and 12 year old girls with rediculously high fines is offensive in my opinion. People don't deserve to have their lives wrecked from downloading songs that are typically $.99 each. I think they'd be better served to shut down the services that provide the opportunity to download songs illegally then to pick and choose a few of the many downloaders and hit them with huge fines.

tramik   August 19th, 2011 3:30 pm ET

This is absolutely INSANE.

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This Gov is stupid   March 7th, 2012 5:36 pm ET

Yes I completely agree that People must pay for their crimes.BUT the crime is not worth the price.The whole thing cost like 23.60$ I can understand doubling this to 47.00 – 100 but thats as far as the punishment should go

80,000$? is just plain greedy.It saddens me that this country allows this.They will never get the money,the entire family line will die and they still wont get the money

Honestly,it would be better if they just charge her 47$ that way,they would be sure to get their money.80,000$? you might as well kill her for a crime she didn't commit.

If she shared the file and that resulted in 80,000$ then that would be a different story.However,that is not the case.So the best punishment would be from 23$-100 for everything.

Like SMH@ said "How do you look yourself in the mirror after using a sledge-hammer to kill an ant?"

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eesiarn   August 15th, 2012 7:33 pm ET

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they plainly don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

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A radom stranger   January 27th, 2013 3:24 pm ET

Let's sue all youtube users for making fan videos and lyric videos.Let's just close youtube entirely.It falls in the same logic that this woman got fined.

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[...] the specter of the most controversial copyright cases in the U.S. where teenagers and their mothers have been required to pay big record companies hundreds of thousands of dollars for copying music [...]

Free music and movies |   February 24th, 2014 2:22 pm ET

[...] or download files from Usenet enabled an almost anonymous level of downloading that may have saved Jammie Thomas-Rasset lots of legal fees.  Usenet is still alive and actively used today with 'discussion' [...]

Matthew   May 13th, 2015 1:51 pm ET

All she need do is file bankruptcy.

puppy grooming videos,   June 21st, 2015 1:34 pm ET

Blogging has a greater information value then most traditional webpage’s we see on the Internet today. Blogging in its infancy was created as a source to log information on the World Wide Web and was given the name weblog in 1997; it was finally shortened to blog… The Internet now hosts well over 100 million blogs and is growing every day, with over 1407 million Internet users.

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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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