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(Slashdot)   Using federal courts to extort huge copyright violation payments might be just a little bit unconstitutional   (yro.slashdot.org) divider line 164
    More: Obvious, federal courts, Infraction, Federal Circuit, statutory damages, overly broad, trial courts, payments  
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4279 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Dec 2012 at 12:29 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-13 11:10:35 AM  
... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.
 
2012-12-13 11:16:03 AM  

Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.


so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?
 
2012-12-13 11:26:02 AM  
No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.
 
2012-12-13 11:29:40 AM  

vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?


Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.
 
2012-12-13 11:37:08 AM  

Rincewind53: No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.


Yeah. They keep focusing on the "but she could have bought those songs for $1 each, so therefore she should be able to set up a record store and give or sell as many copies as she wanted, having paid her $1 royalty!" argument which is clearly false.
They're missing a huge argument about the willfulness standard... but winning that> argument would still leave Thomas on the hook for a couple thousand, and she's unwilling to back down from her "my damages should be $23".
 
2012-12-13 11:41:16 AM  

Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.


Yes, he paid $47.5 million, but was able to make a massive profit from that. Sony paid him $95 million to merge Sony and ATV together in '95. He made an assload of money off that deal. Did she make a profit from those 23 .mp3s? I haven't read the full prior case, but if she wasn't selling these songs or trying to make money from it, then I would say that is excessive.

Now if she was trying to sell them for a profit then she does deserve to sink.
 
2012-12-13 11:46:32 AM  

scottydoesntknow: Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

Yes, he paid $47.5 million, but was able to make a massive profit from that. Sony paid him $95 million to merge Sony and ATV together in '95. He made an assload of money off that deal. Did she make a profit from those 23 .mp3s? I haven't read the full prior case, but if she wasn't selling these songs or trying to make money from it, then I would say that is excessive.

Now if she was trying to sell them for a profit then she does deserve to sink.


That's an interesting theory... Can you point to anything in the copyright statute that says that "damages are only available if the infringer made a profit" or "damages can only be applied if the infringer is a good businessman"?
 
2012-12-13 11:46:45 AM  

Theaetetus: Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.


I didn't know royalty rights accompanied mp3 downloads. I'm going to be RICH!!!
 
2012-12-13 11:48:34 AM  

doyner: Theaetetus: Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

I didn't know royalty rights accompanied mp3 downloads. I'm going to be RICH!!!


You don't think Apple pays the record and movie companies for each sale or rental on iTunes?
 
2012-12-13 12:05:16 PM  

Theaetetus: doyner: Theaetetus: Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

I didn't know royalty rights accompanied mp3 downloads. I'm going to be RICH!!!

You don't think Apple pays the record and movie companies for each sale or rental on iTunes?


I'm sure they do, but the value of those files rests in the ability to sell them thousands of times over, not in the aquisition thereof by a single end-user. Unless she was going to do that, your statement is a false equivalence.
 
2012-12-13 12:12:27 PM  

doyner: Theaetetus: doyner: Theaetetus: Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

I didn't know royalty rights accompanied mp3 downloads. I'm going to be RICH!!!

You don't think Apple pays the record and movie companies for each sale or rental on iTunes?

I'm sure they do, but the value of those files rests in the ability to sell them thousands of times over, not in the aquisition thereof by a single end-user. Unless she was going to do that, your statement is a false equivalence.


She was distributing them. She didn't simply acquire them once as a single end-user. My statement is accurate.

Had she merely downloaded the files but never uploaded, she'd be in a much better place, with a legally stronger argument for fair use, and a technically better set of facts that would have led to her never getting sued in the first place.
 
2012-12-13 12:13:08 PM  

Theaetetus: scottydoesntknow: Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

Yes, he paid $47.5 million, but was able to make a massive profit from that. Sony paid him $95 million to merge Sony and ATV together in '95. He made an assload of money off that deal. Did she make a profit from those 23 .mp3s? I haven't read the full prior case, but if she wasn't selling these songs or trying to make money from it, then I would say that is excessive.

Now if she was trying to sell them for a profit then she does deserve to sink.

That's an interesting theory... Can you point to anything in the copyright statute that says that "damages are only available if the infringer made a profit" or "damages can only be applied if the infringer is a good businessman"?


Can you point to where I said they don't deserve any damages? I just think the damages are excessive if she wasn't making any money off it. No, she shouldn't owe just $23 ($1 for each song) because she did break the law, but almost $10,000 per song?!
 
2012-12-13 12:19:37 PM  
ITT: Farkers with GEDs in law thinking they can out-argue an attorney over a legal matter.
 
2012-12-13 12:24:54 PM  

Theaetetus: She was distributing them. She didn't simply acquire them once as a single end-user. My statement is accurate.

Had she merely downloaded the files but never uploaded, she'd be in a much better place, with a legally stronger argument for fair use, and a technically better set of facts that would have led to her never getting sued in the first place.


Ah. That was missing in TFA. Did she get money for them?
 
2012-12-13 12:26:36 PM  

Rincewind53: No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.


She isn't arguing this right either. She should be arguing for cruel and unusual fines.
 
2012-12-13 12:27:10 PM  

scottydoesntknow: Theaetetus: scottydoesntknow: Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

Yes, he paid $47.5 million, but was able to make a massive profit from that. Sony paid him $95 million to merge Sony and ATV together in '95. He made an assload of money off that deal. Did she make a profit from those 23 .mp3s? I haven't read the full prior case, but if she wasn't selling these songs or trying to make money from it, then I would say that is excessive.

Now if she was trying to sell them for a profit then she does deserve to sink.

That's an interesting theory... Can you point to anything in the copyright statute that says that "damages are only available if the infringer made a profit" or "damages can only be applied if the infringer is a good businessman"?

Can you point to where I said they don't deserve any damages? I just think the damages are excessive if she wasn't making any money off it. No, she shouldn't owe just $23 ($1 for each song) because she did break the law, but almost $10,000 per song?!


I agree, but I think her argument - that the damages are unconstitutionally punitive - and your argument - that she's not making a profit so the damages are extortion - are both losing arguments. The better argument is that the range given to the jury of $750-150,000 was based on an incorrect interpretation of the term "willful", and that the jury should have been given a range of $750-30,000. They would have ended up picking an amount much lower, and she would be probably be on the hook for around $25k-50k total, which is much more reasonable.
But, she's not raising that argument because she can't afford even that amount, and if you're in for a penny, you might as well be in for a pound.
 
2012-12-13 12:29:39 PM  

doyner: Theaetetus: She was distributing them. She didn't simply acquire them once as a single end-user. My statement is accurate.

Had she merely downloaded the files but never uploaded, she'd be in a much better place, with a legally stronger argument for fair use, and a technically better set of facts that would have led to her never getting sued in the first place.

Ah. That was missing in TFA. Did she get money for them?


Nope. But she was still uploading.
It's a technical limitation, too - the RIAA's investigators can't find you if you're downloading unless they're the source, short of intercepting and deepscanning every packet or demanding logs from every ISP. Instead, they download from you, proving that you're distributing.

It also takes away exactly the argument you suggest - that if you only download and never, ever share, then you can reasonably argue that actual damages were just $1. Even if the plaintiff opts for statutory damages, you can show evidence of actual damages to mitigate the award.
 
2012-12-13 12:30:37 PM  

GAT_00: Rincewind53: No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.

She isn't arguing this right either. She should be arguing for cruel and unusual fines.


That's a terrible argument. There aren't any fines applied, just compensatory damages.
 
2012-12-13 12:40:01 PM  

Theaetetus: scottydoesntknow: Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

Yes, he paid $47.5 million, but was able to make a massive profit from that. Sony paid him $95 million to merge Sony and ATV together in '95. He made an assload of money off that deal. Did she make a profit from those 23 .mp3s? I haven't read the full prior case, but if she wasn't selling these songs or trying to make money from it, then I would say that is excessive.

Now if she was trying to sell them for a profit then she does deserve to sink.

That's an interesting theory... Can you point to anything in the copyright statute that says that "damages are only available if the infringer made a profit" or "damages can only be applied if the infringer is a good businessman"?


I'll tell you what, you can keep the outrageous "damages" if we return copyright to 14+14 only.

/you can't have everything
 
2012-12-13 12:42:48 PM  
At this point, she better hope she isn't on the hook for paying ng the RIAA attorneys.
 
2012-12-13 12:44:37 PM  
inglixthemad:
I'll tell you what, you can keep the outrageous "damages" if we return copyright to 14+14 only.

/you can't have everything

The RIAA intends to have everything, and is perfectly willing to bribe everyone necessary to see that it happens.
 
2012-12-13 12:46:21 PM  

scottydoesntknow: I just think the damages are excessive if she wasn't making any money off it.


Consider the fact that her distribution of the works ostensibly denied the rightful distributes of sales. I'm sure the point has been made already, but the damages in these cases are based solely on the fact that she was distributing works that she had no right to distribute.

Distribution rights are a big deal in the media industry. Damages in these cases aren't based on the number of copies illegally distributed. They're based on the distribution itself. That's just how the law is written.
 
2012-12-13 12:46:53 PM  

Blue_Blazer: At this point, she better hope she isn't on the hook for paying ng the RIAA attorneys.


17 USC 505: "In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this title, the court may also award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs."

/ouch
 
2012-12-13 12:48:22 PM  

Theaetetus: GAT_00: Rincewind53: No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.

She isn't arguing this right either. She should be arguing for cruel and unusual fines.

That's a terrible argument. There aren't any fines applied, just compensatory damages.


You'd have to prove that each song's value is worth $20,000 then, or else it's not.
 
2012-12-13 12:50:37 PM  

BKITU: ITT: Farkers with GEDs in law thinking they can out-argue an attorney over a legal matter.


It's not that hard. Ask my ex-wife's attorney.
 
2012-12-13 12:50:40 PM  
I wish everyone in the country would stop buying music or movies in any form for 1 month. After 30 days of no profits lets see how willing the MPAA and RIAA are to stop extorting money from its customers. I say this as an independent artist who was screwed by a major record label

/buy directly from independent artists it's the only way to go these days
 
2012-12-13 12:53:22 PM  

Theaetetus: Nope. But she was still uploading.
It's a technical limitation, too - the RIAA's investigators can't find you if you're downloading unless they're the source, short of intercepting and deepscanning every packet or demanding logs from every ISP. Instead, they download from you, proving that you're distributing.

It also takes away exactly the argument you suggest - that if you only download and never, ever share, then you can reasonably argue that actual damages were just $1. Even if the plaintiff opts for statutory damages, you can show evidence of actual damages to mitigate the award.


I did not know that. Thanks. It would seem, though, that they would have to know the number of downloads to be able to quantify the damages. Did they?
 
2012-12-13 12:54:56 PM  

ModernPrimitive01: I wish everyone in the country would stop buying music or movies in any form for 1 month. After 30 days of no profits lets see how willing the MPAA and RIAA are to stop extorting money from its customers. I say this as an independent artist who was screwed by a major record label

/buy directly from independent artists it's the only way to go these days


Or just buy used/recycled mp3s.
http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/02/redigi-says-theyll-sell-your- us ed-mp3s-legally-.html
 
2012-12-13 12:56:32 PM  
She is making an argument based on the due process clause and may have a case. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. The statutory damages awarded do seem to be excessive; a review might determine that they are arbitrarily high.
 
2012-12-13 01:04:06 PM  
I agree that it's probably unConstitutional and horrendous when the RIAA sues some kid for billions of dollars.

$275K for distributing 23 songs for free? That doesn't seem horrible to me.

I'm still trying to figure out how the RIAA has standing, instead of the ASCAP. The RIAA doesn't get royalties from radio broadcasts, so I would think this would be the same thing. Oh well. This stuff is way too complicated for me.
 
2012-12-13 01:29:02 PM  

Theaetetus: GAT_00: Rincewind53: No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.

She isn't arguing this right either. She should be arguing for cruel and unusual fines.

That's a terrible argument. There aren't any fines applied, just compensatory damages.


Which still need to abide the "no cruel & unusual punishment" rule, right? So can SCOTUS consider whether asking a housewife to pay $220k in penalties for illegally distributing 23 songs (an undetermined number of times) is "cruel" in its excess? Can Ms Thomas present evidence of a conspiracy to have these damage awards be in the 6 figures, and always levied against people whose lifetime net incomes are not likely to exceed 6 figures (see above); and might SCOTUS come to a decision that RIAA is free to sue for illegal distribution, but the penalty is no more than $1,000 per song (unless they can prove she distributed it more than X times, or shared it for X days or something)? That asking for these huge awards is tantamount to extorting people?
 
2012-12-13 01:39:59 PM  

Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.


If she didn't download Beatles songs, this is irrelevant nonsense.
 
2012-12-13 01:41:38 PM  
How to throw a nice monkey wrench, find the people who actually hold the copyrights to the songs ie the song writers, and see if any of them have no issue with what she did. If there's one or two or three who don't mind it, well throws a nice little monkey wrench in the RIAA's stated claim of doing it for the artists.
 
2012-12-13 01:50:54 PM  

Theaetetus: That's an interesting theory... Can you point to anything in the copyright statute that says that "damages are only available if the infringer made a profit" or "damages can only be applied if the infringer is a good businessman"?


Okay, I know you're an attorney, so I'll try to explain this you.

Most people aren't attorneys, they don't know the wording of the law, they don't care about it. They go by what societal norms tell them the right and wrong things are to do, not by the wording of the law.

Take a look out your window. Right now. See that guy? Yeah. He's not a lawyer. He almost certainly doesn't know copyright law or any one of a zillion other legal fields, but he's still held to them.

So, how do non-attorneys deal with this problem, in everyday life? They do what they think is right, what they see other people doing and what their own combination of experience and morality tells them is right.

Yeah, you spent three years in law school and an entire career in a field learning to think differently. Most people don't think like you. Most people don't see a problem, or at least not a serious problem, with sharing mp3 files. They do see something wrong with selling those files though. That's why people talk about not making any money off of it.

Those same people, hundreds of millions of them in the USA, see penalties of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per song as ridiculous, and unjust. Don't expect a lot of public support and adherence to laws that are widely seen as unjust.

The recording industry spending the first few years of the mp3 fad actively trying to eliminate the medium didn't help either. They didn't provide a legal option, they wanted everybody to keep buying CDs. It was the much discussed "buggy whip" problem. Ultimately the rampant trade in mp3's was not reduced by strict law enforcement and litigation, but by the market. iTunes and Amazon mp3 providing a vast library of music for only $0.99 per song made the process quick, affordable and simple, in addition to legal.
 
2012-12-13 01:56:12 PM  

doyner: Theaetetus: It's a technical limitation, too - the RIAA's investigators can't find you if you're downloading unless they're the source, short of intercepting and deepscanning every packet or demanding logs from every ISP. Instead, they download from you, proving that you're distributing.

I did not know that. Thanks.

 

Doyner, you didn't know that because it's not true. If you're using BitTorrent, as busted downloaders almost certainly are, every single IP address connecting to the swarm is visible to all other users on that swarm, the direction of traffic isn't important. You do NOT have to upload for other users to see your IP. And the people bringing these suits do NOT bother to show that your IP allegedly uploaded.

That's exactly how a lot of copyright trolls operate: search a public tracker for a torrent, start that torrent themselves, copy all IP address in the swarm, figure out ISPs, send a subpoena. They do this thinking you'll be so scared by courthouse paperwork that you shiat yourself and write them a check without fighting back.
 
2012-12-13 01:59:52 PM  

Silverstaff: Theaetetus: That's an interesting theory... Can you point to anything in the copyright statute that says that "damages are only available if the infringer made a profit" or "damages can only be applied if the infringer is a good businessman"?

Okay, I know you're an attorney, so I'll try to explain this you...
Yeah, you spent three years in law school and an entire career in a field learning to think differently.


Maybe you mean someone else. I spent a decade as an engineer before moving into this, my second career... In which I spent four years going to law school in the evenings because I was working full time.
If you'd like to try your "hurrdurr you don't know what real life is like" comment again without the incorrect assumption and unjustified condescension, I'd be more than happy to discuss the actual issues in this story with you.

As a first step, you should note that I've made several arguments here as to why this damages award is unjust, and suggested an argument that would be successful.
 
2012-12-13 02:03:16 PM  
Silverstaff

And none of that will matter a fart in a windstorm once a judge gavels in a session.

Judges, by and large, are bound by what the law says. Attorneys have to creatively argue that the controlling law does not apply (for reasons X, Y and Z), that the formula for determining damages should be based on these factors (and ignore those); they can't use the Idiocracy defense: "Just look at this guy. *snort* I mean, right?"

SCOTUS is an exception, as they're the final remedy. They can invalidate portions of copyright law (a laughable prediction), they can reduce the award in accordance with some legal principle (what I'm hoping for) or they can ignore the case/remand it to the lower court's ruling (in which case, she's basically done earning any money for the rest of her life).

That the industry chose to ignore technology is of no consequence. That she could have bought those songs for $23 is also of no consequence - she's been sued for distributing them, not for getting them in the first place. If the award is determined to be excessive to the point of cruelty - THAT's an issue SCOTUS can take up, as it relates to the interpretation of a law as applies to a specific case.

It's possible, but very rare, that a judge will toss a case because the law is ridiculous. Juries will more often do that, but we're long past the point where a jury holds any sway over Ms Thomas' case.
 
2012-12-13 02:10:30 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Which still need to abide the "no cruel & unusual punishment" rule, right? So can SCOTUS consider whether asking a housewife to pay $220k in penalties for illegally distributing 23 songs (an undetermined number of times) is "cruel" in its excess? Can Ms Thomas present evidence of a conspiracy to have these damage awards be in the 6 figures, and always levied against people whose lifetime net incomes are not likely to exceed 6 figures (see above); and might SCOTUS come to a decision that RIAA is free to sue for illegal distribution, but the penalty is no more than $1,000 per song (unless they can prove she distributed it more than X times, or shared it for X days or something)? That asking for these huge awards is tantamount to extorting people?


Cruel and unusual only applies to state punishments. This is a civil matter. She isnt being fined nor imprisoned, so the 8th amendment is silent to her issue.

Her Due process argument isnt too good either, as Theae has noted, especially as i cannot see what process she still was due. This is not a BMW scenario where excessive punitive damages are imposed due to jury rancor at an unappealing defendant - this is a Congressionally defined and clearly indicated range of default damages, which (humorously enough) were meant to be a low figure.* When they were drafted there wasnt much litigation suing john Q Public fro distribution, mainly because Mr. Public didn't have the means to distribute.

The upshot is, Congress should likely rewrite this section of the statute, but i would b shocked if the supreme court - or any federal court - would decide to rewrite it for them. 

*they are a low figure because traditionally in a distribution case, the Plaintiff could get a much larger recovery when suing an equally large defendant from actual lost sales/disgorgement (you know, like a million per item infringed). If they cannot show the full measure of damages, they were supposed to suck it up and take statutory damages as crumbs. Unfortunately, what are crumbs to Disney or Paramount are not crumbs to this whats-her-face.
 
2012-12-13 02:22:18 PM  

WhyteRaven74: How to throw a nice monkey wrench, find the people who actually hold the copyrights to the songs ie the song writers, and see if any of them have no issue with what she did. If there's one or two or three who don't mind it, well throws a nice little monkey wrench in the RIAA's stated claim of doing it for the artists.


This isn't about the songwriters, it's about the sound recordings, which are copyrighted separately from the song. The song writers own the copyright for the compositions; the record labels own the copyright for the recordings and it is the latter which all of these infringement cases are (were) focused on.
 
2012-12-13 02:23:33 PM  

Teiritzamna: Cruel and unusual only applies to state punishments. This is a civil matter. She isnt being fined nor imprisoned, so the 8th amendment is silent to her issue.


Isn't this a civil fine imposed by the feds for running afoul of their copyright protections (because as we all know, she's not paying for lost revenue, she's paying a penalty for unlicensed distribution)? So it stays "civil", and she has no means of challenging the amount of the penalty? That's a special kind of dumb - Congress can make a law that sets penalties for civil infractions astronomically high with no remedy available for people to challenge the statute's appropriateness?

There really are two kinds of law, as "what are crumbs to Disney or Paramount are not crumbs to this whats-her-face." A court could very easily limit the award to the low end of the damage scale, times 1 (since the distribution happened through a single medium? Is that kosher?), and still be within the law, no?

Is RIAA worried that there will arise some precedent that holds awards against private citizens to the 3-4 (or 5) figure range, rather than the 6-figure range, and pursuing these cases is no longer profitable, meaning they'll stop pursuing them, meaning the courts would then see their lack of pursuit as tacit approval of unlicensed distribution? (RIAA essentially arguing that failing to sufficiently punish offenders with these ridiculous awards sets the stage for them to not be able to pursue these kinds of cases in the future.)

// I realize that last bit is a bit fanciful
 
2012-12-13 02:27:52 PM  

Silverstaff: Those same people, hundreds of millions of them in the USA, see penalties of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per song as ridiculous, and unjust. Don't expect a lot of public support and adherence to laws that are widely seen as unjust.


If only we had a form of government - one where the people, i know this is crazy, could channel this anger at unjust statutory damages into picking representatives who would gather together and rewrite this law that it appears the vast majority of Americans dislike.
 
2012-12-13 02:29:55 PM  
pfffft, easy solution to all this fookery, we all agree that we have been getting bent over by the record and movie distibutors for years, the artists and writers deserve the majority of the profits from sales and thus in protest EVERYONE download and share. If we all stick together, brothers and sisters, they can't sue us all Right after that we start hanging lawyers and judges.
 
2012-12-13 02:30:33 PM  
How do they figure up damages anyway. I assume they have to be somehow related to the revenue lost to the owner of the copywritten work - which would mean they would have to have some formula to at least guess how many people she downloaded the song to.

As it is, the only people the RIAA can prove to have downloaded the song are .... themselves. For all they know, she ripped it from a CD she owned. How can there be any damages when the only think they know happened is that she gave them a 2nd copy of something they already had?
 
2012-12-13 02:30:57 PM  

Scrotastic Method: doyner: Theaetetus: It's a technical limitation, too - the RIAA's investigators can't find you if you're downloading unless they're the source, short of intercepting and deepscanning every packet or demanding logs from every ISP. Instead, they download from you, proving that you're distributing.

I did not know that. Thanks. 

Doyner, you didn't know that because it's not true. If you're using BitTorrent, as busted downloaders almost certainly are, every single IP address connecting to the swarm is visible to all other users on that swarm, the direction of traffic isn't important. You do NOT have to upload for other users to see your IP. And the people bringing these suits do NOT bother to show that your IP allegedly uploaded.


None of the above is true, Doyner.

First, Thomas (and Tenenbaum) were not using BitTorrent. These cases are pretty old. Tenenbaum was on Gnutella, and Thomas was using Kazaa.

Second, the newer suits most assuredly look for seeders, not leechers, for both the technical and legal reasons I noted above. The investigators have to show that they obtained a copy of the file from the defendant, not merely that the defendant was "in the same swarm". What they do is find a file being seeded, then block connections to all IPs other than the one they're targeting. That way, they have a clean log that shows that they obtained the entire file (they only need a significant portion, since infringement doesn't actually require you to distribute the entire file, but where they can show the entire thing, they do) from a single source. Not only do they have those logs, they absolutely do bother to show that your IP allegedly uploaded, because it's an element of the complaint that they have to provide supporting evidence for and swear to.

And finally, think about it pragmatically: to get to trial, or even past summary judgement, they have to show that the defendant infringed. Are they just going to "NOT bother" collecting that evidence, when it's so trivial to do so once you've found a seeded file, and it's required for the case?
It's notable that not one defendant in these cases has argued that they didn't distribute the file. In fact, Tenenbaum admitted to it under oath, as part of his testimony on the stand.
 
2012-12-13 02:36:08 PM  

Scrotastic Method: doyner: Theaetetus: It's a technical limitation, too - the RIAA's investigators can't find you if you're downloading unless they're the source, short of intercepting and deepscanning every packet or demanding logs from every ISP. Instead, they download from you, proving that you're distributing.

I did not know that. Thanks. 

Doyner, you didn't know that because it's not true. If you're using BitTorrent, as busted downloaders almost certainly are, every single IP address connecting to the swarm is visible to all other users on that swarm, the direction of traffic isn't important. You do NOT have to upload for other users to see your IP. And the people bringing these suits do NOT bother to show that your IP allegedly uploaded.

That's exactly how a lot of copyright trolls operate: search a public tracker for a torrent, start that torrent themselves, copy all IP address in the swarm, figure out ISPs, send a subpoena. They do this thinking you'll be so scared by courthouse paperwork that you shiat yourself and write them a check without fighting back.


In Canada we are protected by our right to privacy, isp's cannot be forced to provide personal details tied to an ip address. Unless I'm behind the times and the crooked lobbyists have managed to eliminate one more freedom to which I am currently unaware.
 
2012-12-13 02:37:42 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Teiritzamna: Cruel and unusual only applies to state punishments. This is a civil matter. She isnt being fined nor imprisoned, so the 8th amendment is silent to her issue.

Isn't this a civil fine imposed by the feds for running afoul of their copyright protections (because as we all know, she's not paying for lost revenue, she's paying a penalty for unlicensed distribution)? So it stays "civil", and she has no means of challenging the amount of the penalty? That's a special kind of dumb - Congress can make a law that sets penalties for civil infractions astronomically high with no remedy available for people to challenge the statute's appropriateness?


Nope, because it's not a "fine" or "penalty" - those go to the state. These are compensatory damages, which go to the plaintiff. Her means of challenging the amount of damages are to attack the amount of damages, by showing that their actual lost revenue was much lower - she can't attack the damages by saying that it's a cruel and unusual punishment to compensate the plaintiff for their loss, any more than you can run over someone with your car and argue that you shouldn't have to pay their medical bills because it's cruel.

A court could very easily limit the award to the low end of the damage scale, times 1 (since the distribution happened through a single medium? Is that kosher?), and still be within the law, no?

Not the times 1 for a medium, but times the number of works infringed, or 23... They could say that $750 * 23 is a reasonable amount but it'd probably be overturned on appeal, because it would basically be throwing out a jury verdict and they would need to show a really good reason.

Is RIAA worried that there will arise some precedent that holds awards against private citizens to the 3-4 (or 5) figure range, rather than the 6-figure range, and pursuing these cases is no longer profitable, meaning they'll stop pursuing them, meaning the courts would then see their lack of pursuit as tacit approval of unlicensed distribution? (RIAA essentially arguing that failing to sufficiently punish offenders with these ridiculous awards sets the stage for them to not be able to pursue these kinds of cases in the future.)

Nope, their concern would be a precedent that says that distribution damages are at the bottom of the statutory damages range - the statute makes no distinction between private citizens or corporations, so any such precedent wouldn't necessarily include the distinction either.
 
2012-12-13 02:39:54 PM  
Not a lawyer, not pretending to be one, but is her case that the legally defined penalties are too much on their own (due to being created in a day and age where infringement was difficult and thus was only used for larger scale operations & profit, and there were fair-use protections in place for personal "infringing" uses like mix-tapes), or that the potential penalties are so much that the *AAs can offer an unreasonable sum as a settlement, since the case going to trial could result in even larger penalties? So, merely by being accused you only have the choice between rolling over and getting farked for the offered settlement amount, or going to court and, since you cannot pay for top notch legal counsel yourself, getting farked for the maximum amount + whatever the *AAs lawyer says his time is worth? Isn't that how the extortion argument goes?
 
2012-12-13 02:41:34 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Isn't this a civil fine imposed by the feds for running afoul of their copyright protections (because as we all know, she's not paying for lost revenue, she's paying a penalty for unlicensed distribution)? So it stays "civil", and she has no means of challenging the amount of the penalty? That's a special kind of dumb - Congress can make a law that sets penalties for civil infractions astronomically high with no remedy available for people to challenge the statute's appropriateness?


Couple things - it is not a fine, it is meant to be a low-ball estimation for what the damages actually were. A lot of copyright litigation involves annoying imponderables in the damages phase - i.e. but for the defendant's act how much money would plaintiff have made. This tends to turn into a shiatfest of expert testimony and wacky theories. So Congress wrote in a backstop, to say - hey if you can show that the defendant willfully infringed your copyrights and distributed them, you can get between $750-150,000 per work infringed. The idea was that this is usually much lower than actual damages - but in cases where damages are a biatch to prove, at least it is something.

As for Congress's ability to set statutory damages, i am not sure if there has been a case alleging that the damages amounts were so problematic as to void the statute - because the only way you would be able to bring such an action would be to show a constitutional issue. I dont know what that hook would be other than an enumerated powers of congress issue. I suppose the idea of setting stat damages could be seen as a violation of separation of powers - i.e. that the legislature is usurping the role of the judiciary - but considering the power given congress in Art I, sec 8 cl 8 and the fact that stat damages are old and well respected - i would put such an argument in the loopy file.

There really are two kinds of law, as "what are crumbs to Disney or Paramount are not crumbs to this whats-her-face." A court could very easily limit the award to the low end of the damage scale, times 1 (since the distribution happened through a single medium? Is that kosher?), and still be within the law, no?

100% the court could do so. Its called remittitur. Happens all the time. Also if you look, the range for willful; infringement starts at $750/work. The Jury could have easily just dinged her that amount which would bring her grand total to around $16.5k. The trick here is the woman in question lied and attempted to destroy evidence, which tends to piss off judges and not impress juries - so they threw the book at her.

Personally i would rather a new law on stat damages - to reflect this brave new world of citizen distribution suits.

Is RIAA worried that there will arise some precedent that holds awards against private citizens to the 3-4 (or 5) figure range, rather than the 6-figure range, and pursuing these cases is no longer profitable, meaning they'll stop pursuing them, meaning the courts would then see their lack of pursuit as tacit approval of unlicensed distribution? (RIAA essentially arguing that failing to sufficiently punish offenders with these ridiculous awards sets the stage for them to not be able to pursue these kinds of cases in the future.)

// I realize that last bit is a bit fanciful


No, under copyright (and patent but not trademark) you have the right to sue or not sue as you see fit. Think of it as any other property. If you own land that people regularly cross over to get to the beach, you could sue every single one of them for trespass* - or decide to sue only a few of them, or just Randall, who you farking hate. Its your land, so it is your call.

*Ignore easements created through adverse possession, i mean it Theae and Rince.
 
2012-12-13 02:42:43 PM  

Teiritzamna: Silverstaff: Those same people, hundreds of millions of them in the USA, see penalties of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per song as ridiculous, and unjust. Don't expect a lot of public support and adherence to laws that are widely seen as unjust.

If only we had a form of government - one where the people, i know this is crazy, could channel this anger at unjust statutory damages into picking representatives who would gather together and rewrite this law that it appears the vast majority of Americans dislike.


Yeah, instead we get one where the laws are bought and paid for primarily by companies.

I know what you're trying to say, but it's not like if people petitioned for a change it would do anything. Lobbyists from the MPAA and RIAA keep Congress paid off through campaign contribution and other benefits. Our laws won't reflect our cultural values because of laws aren't written by people representing the interests of people.

Yeah, their power isn't absolute, they couldn't get SOPA enacted. That was some downright draconian copyright law that was only barely avoided being passed, and only when it was crystal clear how strong public opposition to it was. . .so they let it slide (after much complaining) and just look for another chance to make the Congressmen they bought pay for it.
 
2012-12-13 02:45:49 PM  

Karac: How do they figure up damages anyway. I assume they have to be somehow related to the revenue lost to the owner of the copywritten work - which would mean they would have to have some formula to at least guess how many people she downloaded the song to.


The statute allows the copyright owner to either select - and prove - actual damages, or select Congressionally-set statutory damages. The latter was intended for cases where the plaintiff lacked sufficient evidence to prove actual damages. Like, if I sue you, and you destroy all of your records and logs, should I be shafted because I can't prove how many copies you sent out? Instead, there's the statutory levels as a safety.

Now, that said, if Thomas had evidence that she only distributed one copy to the investigator and no others, then she could actually prove the actual damages and mitigate the statutory damages. So, with the same hypothetical, if I sue you for infringement and you didn't destroy your business records, you could bring them up to show that the statutory damages level was too high.

... but Thomas destroyed her hard drive instead. Ooops.
 
2012-12-13 02:47:44 PM  

Teiritzamna: If you own land that people regularly cross over to get to the beach, you could sue every single one of them for trespass*


What about implied easeme-

Heh.
 
2012-12-13 02:52:15 PM  

Theaetetus: These are compensatory damages, which go to the plaintiff. Her means of challenging the amount of damages are to attack the amount of damages, by showing that their actual lost revenue was much lower - she can't attack the damages by saying that it's a cruel and unusual punishment to compensate the plaintiff for their loss, any more than you can run over someone with your car and argue that you shouldn't have to pay their medical bills because it's cruel.


Doesn't that then conflict with the notion that she's not on the hook for their revenue lost, she's on the hook for infringing on their copyright? Is this a case of a plaintiff getting to have their cake and eat the defendant's, too?

Theaetetus: Not the times 1 for a medium, but times the number of works infringed, or 23... They could say that $750 * 23 is a reasonable amount but it'd probably be overturned on appeal, because it would basically be throwing out a jury verdict and they would need to show a really good reason.


Is "We expect her to be able to pay $17,250 ($750 * 23) during the term of her natural life without filing Chapter 7 (or 11, whatever); asking an essentially middle-class woman to fork over $220k ON TOP of general living expenses is tantamount to relegating her to a lifetime of zero earnings" a good reason?

Theaetetus: Nope, their concern would be a precedent that says that distribution damages are at the bottom of the statutory damages range - the statute makes no distinction between private citizens or corporations, so any such precedent wouldn't necessarily include the distinction either.


"Ability to pay" has no bearing on the subject? Why not fine her at the highest end, then - especially considering she tried to destroy evidence? (Side questions - what happens if/when they take 100% of her stuff, plus a 100% garnishment of her wages, and she still can't afford the penalty? What if she chooses to never work again, thus denying RIAA any sort of ability to collect?)

// Teiritzamna, same questions
// I love a good legal debate
 
2012-12-13 02:54:49 PM  

Dr Dreidel: And none of that will matter a fart in a windstorm once a judge gavels in a session.


It won't matter in court, but that's not what I'm talking about.

Theaetetus
was sarcastically asking where the law said it was only illegal if somebody was making money off of it. I didn't think anybody was making the argument that it was legal. I was pointing out that it was societally acceptable, and many people probably don't even know it's illegal (or if it is, that the penalties are as harsh as they are).

I'm talking about how to the overwhelming majority of people think. What lawyers and judges say don't matter in 99% of their lives. That is why you get people saying they didn't understand what was wrong because nobody was making money off of it.

People know not to kill, they know not to shoplift, they know they have to file taxes, they know they shouldn't go too far over the speed limit and they need to have insurance and a current car registration. However, the idea that it's a very bad thing to share music files online is still trickling into the public consciousness. If people know of it as illegal, it's treated as being illegal, but that sort of societally accepted bad thing, like many people treat marijuana (technically illegal, but seen by many as harmless).

I wasn't trying to say that's a legal argument, I know that doesn't matter in a court. Most people will never set foot in a courtroom, aside from maybe a traffic ticket. The vast majority of people who have shared files don't see what they are doing as wrong. Everyday people do things that are illegal and don't know it, and some of those things could have huge penalties and fines if they were ever prosecuted. It's a larger problem, but the disconnection between our laws and societal norms isn't likely to change anytime soon.

The industry not going to mp3's has a lot to do with it. You think filesharing would be anywhere near as much of an issue if the industry had embraced mp3 sales instead of spending several years trying to kill it? Of peoples various mp3 libraries, how much of that was built up during the wild-west days of Napster and Kazaa? The culture that let downloading become thought of as acceptable, reenforced by years of downloading with no real consequences, wouldn't have come up.

Again, not legally, why does everybody think I'm making a legal argument here? This isn't a legal argument, hell, I'm not even saying it's a moral argument, I'm just trying to talk pragmatically about what the average person feels and how they act. I am talking about the real world, not the theoretical fantasy-land of lawyers that doesn't affect most people.
 
2012-12-13 02:54:54 PM  

Silverstaff: Yeah, instead we get one where the laws are bought and paid for primarily by companies.


Its not that they are bought and paid for by companies - its that no one gives a shiat. Bear me out:

Take your average voter. Adam. Adam lives in a middle of the pack state. Let's assume Adam is politically active and gives money. When Adam goes to the polls or donates, he is thinking about crime, unemployment, taxes, wars against brown people, immigration, etc. Probably the last thing on his mind is copyright policy, especially policy regarding the severity of statutory damages.

Take your average Media corporation. When it comes time to donate to a campaign, guess what Media thinks of: it could be unemployment, or general crime, or immigration - but i bet you the first thing on its mind is: wonky copyright law.

Here is the thing. If every American honestly gave a shiat about these laws beyond posting on a forum, you would see a dreaded SuperPAC filled to the brim with money ($5 each from the hundreds of millions would be a pretty nice war-chest without too much pain to regular folk) to outspend the RIAA's lobbying efforts. Congress critters would run for the hills and draft a bill stat. You can look to bills like CERCLA (i.e. superfund) which are thousands of pages long and basically written in a weekend to respond to public pressure (in that case, the love cannal scandal) But the sad thing is, its not entirely the companies fault, we as a populace just dont care.*

/the attack of the the electorate
 
2012-12-13 03:00:39 PM  

Silverstaff: It won't matter in court, but that's not what I'm talking about.


Oh. Yeah, philosophically, we agree. If the industry had started selling mp3's in 2000, large portions of this mess could have been avoided. Hell, the first 3-5 years of Napster's overexposure was basically a cat-and-mouse game with the law and technology - if they'd instead spent that time, money and effort on creating a licensing/distribution application, we'd be a decade ahead of where we are now.
 
2012-12-13 03:01:00 PM  

Theaetetus: Teiritzamna: If you own land that people regularly cross over to get to the beach, you could sue every single one of them for trespass*

What about implied easeme-

Heh.


I know better than to jump on to that grenade.
 
2012-12-13 03:02:10 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Doesn't that then conflict with the notion that she's not on the hook for their revenue lost, she's on the hook for infringing on their copyright? Is this a case of a plaintiff getting to have their cake and eat the defendant's, too?


No, same thing - the damages for copyright infringement are calculated as [lost revenue for copyright owner]+[profits of infringer]+[ancillary damages (court costs, etc.)]. Statutory damages are intended to be an approximation of that where the first two parts are difficult or impossible to prove. So, if she can show that's really [$1000]+[$0]+[$1000], then the court can reduce the award accordingly.
But she has to actually prove that - with statutory damages, the burden falls on the defendant.

Is "We expect her to be able to pay $17,250 ($750 * 23) during the term of her natural life without filing Chapter 7 (or 11, whatever); asking an essentially middle-class woman to fork over $220k ON TOP of general living expenses is tantamount to relegating her to a lifetime of zero earnings" a good reason?

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.

"Ability to pay" has no bearing on the subject?

It's not in the Copyright Act, so the judge doesn't get to use that.

Why not fine her at the highest end, then - especially considering she tried to destroy evidence?

The jury could have, and it's probably part of their reasoning for a large award. But, at the same time, they also know that a $3.5 million judgement is too much.

(Side questions - what happens if/when they take 100% of her stuff, plus a 100% garnishment of her wages, and she still can't afford the penalty? What if she chooses to never work again, thus denying RIAA any sort of ability to collect?)

They're more concerned about the precedent than actually ever getting a fat check from Thomas. Most likely when all is said and done, she'll have her wages garnished to the tune of a few hundred a month for the rest of her life*, but the amount of garnishment is also set by the court, and they're not going to take 100% of her wages and make her a slave.

There's an old saying - if you owe me a dollar, you have a problem; if you owe me a million dollars, I have a problem.

*if she used my argument, it'd be paid off in a decade, but her lawyers are also doing this for publicity and precedent, so really, no one is acting in Thomas' best interests.
 
2012-12-13 03:06:39 PM  
Copyright laws are federal, not state...federal courts are the only path to take.

Years ago I had to go after someone who "borrowed" some of my photography. I tried going local but the US Attorney's office was my only solution. And with fines of $15K per instance, it is usually really quick getting a civil settlement rather than having the federal courts hear the case.
 
2012-12-13 03:09:10 PM  

Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much
 
2012-12-13 03:14:16 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Doesn't that then conflict with the notion that she's not on the hook for their revenue lost, she's on the hook for infringing on their copyright? Is this a case of a plaintiff getting to have their cake and eat the defendant's, too?


There are two conceptual phases to most law (as opposed to equity) trials: liability and damages. If you are sued for, say, negligently producing a product, in what is usually phase 1 you will argue that you didnt do it, and even if you did it wasnt wrongful, and even if you did and it was wrongful, there is an exception. However if you are found liable, there are alternative arguments about damages: I may be liable, but his numbers are crazy, here is this expert that says so; the plaintiff is just as liable as i am so i shouldnt have to pay the whole amount; etc. (these phases are often collapsed into one verdict, but as a mental exercise its not a bad way to think of them as being separate trials)

So she is on the hook for infringing. The next question is "how much is she on the hook for." There are generally three big kinds of compensatory damages- in layman's terms: (1) How much the plaintiff was hurt, (2) how much the defendant profited or (3) the general market value for the goods or services at issue. Here, "how much the plaintiff was hurt" = how much profit did the record companies lose due to her distribution.

Finally, under the statute, if you can actually show real damages, you dont get stat damages. So if the defendant here could show that only 7 people downloaded 3 of the songs she posted, ever. she could prove that damages were ~$30. hence why Theae says that she would need to show what the lost revenue was to defeat the stat damages.

Dr Dreidel: Is "We expect her to be able to pay $17,250 ($750 * 23) during the term of her natural life without filing Chapter 7 (or 11, whatever); asking an essentially middle-class woman to fork over $220k ON TOP of general living expenses is tantamount to relegating her to a lifetime of zero earnings" a good reason?


generally no - the hardship on the wrongful actor is rarely a strong argument in remittitur for what i think are obvious reasons. You usually need to show something else. let us not forget that what we are asking, really, is for an unelected federal judge to say "jury? fark those guys, i am gonna just make a call here" Generally, while this can totally be done (and does in fact happen) this sort of thing is frowned upon in the legal world because it is fundamentally against the whole purpose of having a jury.

Dr Dreidel: "Ability to pay" has no bearing on the subject? Why not fine her at the highest end, then - especially considering she tried to destroy evidence? (Side questions - what happens if/when they take 100% of her stuff, plus a 100% garnishment of her wages, and she still can't afford the penalty? What if she chooses to never work again, thus denying RIAA any sort of ability to collect?)


Again, generally ability to pay is meaningless to the analysis. She is likely what is usually called "judgment proof" anyway. The thing is the RIAA doesnt want the money. they want the press. They want people to see that randomly, out of the blue, you could get hit with a big ol' judgment and a lifetime of court leins and enforcement actions if you upload a song - so stop uploading! It is just about fear leading to compliance with the law - just like random drug checks or spot office inspections at work.
 
2012-12-13 03:16:32 PM  

elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much


Yep, I did. In both cases, justice demands that the wronged party be compensated for their loss. Sorry for your loss, and don't you think that you were owed a new house if someone else was at fault?
 
2012-12-13 03:16:36 PM  

elchupacabra: Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.


he compared 1 tort to another - and aptly at that. The fact that someone is liable, but poor, doesn't make them less liable - whether it be infringement, battery, arson, conversion, whatever.
 
2012-12-13 03:18:38 PM  
Also, thanks and merry christmas Rince!

Hope your exams are going well!
 
2012-12-13 03:19:49 PM  

Teiritzamna: Also, thanks and merry christmas Rince!

Hope your exams are going well!


Merry Christmas!

Studying now, after a day off and one exam down. Three to go.
 
2012-12-13 03:20:50 PM  

Rincewind53: Teiritzamna: Also, thanks and merry christmas Rince!

Hope your exams are going well!

Merry Christmas!

Studying now, after a day off and one exam down. Three to go.


Oooh, good luck. Remember, professors love public policy arguments. Probably because they're all a bunch of ivory tower intellectual elitists who think they know what's best for the populace.
 
2012-12-13 03:22:16 PM  

Theaetetus: Rincewind53: Teiritzamna: Also, thanks and merry christmas Rince!

Hope your exams are going well!

Merry Christmas!

Studying now, after a day off and one exam down. Three to go.

Oooh, good luck. Remember, professors love public policy arguments. Probably because they're all a bunch of ivory tower intellectual elitists who think they know what's best for the populace.


Oh, I'm well aware. First exam was for Professional Responsibility in Public Interest Practice, so it was all ethics and policy arguments.
 
2012-12-13 03:22:48 PM  

Rincewind53: Merry Christmas!

Studying now, after a day off and one exam down. Three to go.


Good luck!

/you should definitely take IP law! With Theae as a prosecutor and me as a litigator, we need a business and transactions guy to hold court here with us.
 
2012-12-13 03:25:21 PM  

Theaetetus: Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Dude, arson's criminal. You of all people should know how bad an example that is. But let's work the math: for her (she's 40, correct?) to get to $220k by the time she hits retirement at 65, she'd have to pay $8,800 per year - $733.333333... per month - for 25 years. That's ON TOP of things like food, rent, etc. Assuming she's making $50k/year and already has a kid or two, where is that supposed to come from, or is that immaterial to the case? Do courts usually waste their time entering judgements that have little possibility of ever happening?

Can RIAA haul her into court in 10 years because she hasn't given them their money (and would they first have to show that she has an extra $733/month first)? Her first home is exempted (correct?) but can they take basically everything else from her to pay that award? And, at the end of the day, isn't Ms Thomas better off never working another day in her life (or is she eligible for contempt if she tries that)?

That's a lot of questions.

elchupacabra: Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.


Whoa there. It's a thought experiment to help my understanding. He compared one type of damage award to another - no one's feelings should be hurt.

// sorry to hear about the house
 
2012-12-13 03:28:52 PM  

Teiritzamna: Rincewind53: Merry Christmas!

Studying now, after a day off and one exam down. Three to go.

Good luck!

/you should definitely take IP law! With Theae as a prosecutor and me as a litigator, we need a business and transactions guy to hold court here with us.


Yeah, it'll be like "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".

/I leave the individual assignments as an exercise for the reader
 
2012-12-13 03:31:02 PM  
WhatHey, question for you lawyerin' types: what about open directories? Without going into a ton of technical detail here, some people leave a lot of data open to the public, or at least accessible with a search engine.

Two questions, I guess. 1: if an individual left, say, an mp3 in an open directory on a .edu server, are they violating the law? Is the institution? Who's hosting the file?

2: If I know how to use a search engine to look for a song in an open directory, do so, and copy the file, have I violated the law? If I go to a business and take $5 from the cash register, I'm stealing. If I'm walking down the street and a $5 bill just crosses my path and I pick it up, I'm just lucky, right?
 
2012-12-13 03:32:02 PM  

Theaetetus: elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much

Yep, I did. In both cases, justice demands that the wronged party be compensated for their loss. Sorry for your loss, and don't you think that you were owed a new house if someone else was at fault?


A house, not to mention the incidental damages other material goods, costs a helluva lot more than 23 songs. Yet the fines are not even close to commensurate.

And THAT. Is why the RIAA needs to DIAF.
 
2012-12-13 03:34:26 PM  

Teiritzamna: let us not forget that what we are asking, really, is for an unelected federal judge to say "jury? fark those guys, i am gonna just make a call here" Generally, while this can totally be done (and does in fact happen) this sort of thing is frowned upon in the legal world because it is fundamentally against the whole purpose of having a jury.


I can see why we'd want to limit judges doing that, but if a judge can turn what is essentially the rest of her lifetime in indentured servitude (a $220k bill, plus interest) into a more manageable "ten-year" bill ($17,250) - she's still liable for stat damages in accordance with the law, RIAA gets their fear (because who has a spare $17k to give to RIAA for funsies?), and also the judgement - why not?

Creating a system where judges can prevent people from going broke because a nonliving entity needs their pound of flesh - balancing personal needs against corporate needs, you might say - over what doesn't even amount to a rounding error for the organization (or a significant infringement of their ability to distribute) seems to be in the interests of creating a legal system that isn't beholden to big-money seems like a win to me. But that's probably why I'm not a lawyer.

// forgot to include interest on that bill in my above analysis - they calculate interest, right?
// also, the new gf just finished a civil suit, so learned all about the phases and relative arguments - this shiat is farking weird
 
2012-12-13 03:34:37 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Dude, arson's criminal. You of all people should know how bad an example that is.


But accidentally crashing her Pinto into your living room, causing it to explode in a fireball, is merely civil. ;)

But let's work the math: for her (she's 40, correct?) to get to $220k by the time she hits retirement at 65, she'd have to pay $8,800 per year - $733.333333... per month - for 25 years. That's ON TOP of things like food, rent, etc. Assuming she's making $50k/year and already has a kid or two, where is that supposed to come from, or is that immaterial to the case? Do courts usually waste their time entering judgements that have little possibility of ever happening?

Can RIAA haul her into court in 10 years because she hasn't given them their money (and would they first have to show that she has an extra $733/month first)? Her first home is exempted (correct?) but can they take basically everything else from her to pay that award? And, at the end of the day, isn't Ms Thomas better off never working another day in her life (or is she eligible for contempt if she tries that)?


Hence why I said she's probably going to end up paying only about $100-200 per month for the next 25 years, because a court isn't going to garnish her wages 100%, and they know it's not going to break the RIAA.
If she doesn't pay what the court orders her to pay, the RIAA can haul her into court for it and she'd also be in contempt...

... but that's unlikely to happen. In the grand scheme of things, we're talking a small amount of money for the RIAA... Their legal bills outweigh the judgement. They're never getting their money back and they know it. This is all about precedent.
I wouldn't even be terribly surprised if, once all of the appeals are over and Thomas is a sad and broken woman, the RIAA sends her a letter saying "send us a check for $1, never talk about this to anyone, and we'll consider your debt settled."
 
2012-12-13 03:37:31 PM  

Gonz: WhatHey, question for you lawyerin' types: what about open directories? Without going into a ton of technical detail here, some people leave a lot of data open to the public, or at least accessible with a search engine.

Two questions, I guess. 1: if an individual left, say, an mp3 in an open directory on a .edu server, are they violating the law? Is the institution? Who's hosting the file?


Did they do it intentionally, knowing that the directory was open? Then yeah, they're liable.
The institution is a common carrier and is protected, provided if the copyright owner sends them a takedown, they comply.

2: If I know how to use a search engine to look for a song in an open directory, do so, and copy the file, have I violated the law? If I go to a business and take $5 from the cash register, I'm stealing. If I'm walking down the street and a $5 bill just crosses my path and I pick it up, I'm just lucky, right?

Yeah, but bear in mind one thing... we're talking about uploading, not downloading - so if you find that $5, but the person who left it on the street got it by robbing a bank, they're still in trouble even if you aren't.
 
2012-12-13 03:38:20 PM  

elchupacabra: Theaetetus: elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much

Yep, I did. In both cases, justice demands that the wronged party be compensated for their loss. Sorry for your loss, and don't you think that you were owed a new house if someone else was at fault?

A house, not to mention the incidental damages other material goods, costs a helluva lot more than 23 songs.


In this case, the 23 songs cost Thomas $222k, and that's pretty close to a house in some parts of the country.
 
2012-12-13 03:38:32 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Dude, arson's criminal.


and also a tort. generally most crimes are also torts - for example there is criminal copyright infringement (which is rarely if ever actually enforced - its mostly used against big organized media counterfeiting rings (huh - why is counterfeiting always done by a ring? wacky!))

Assuming she's making $50k/year and already has a kid or two, where is that supposed to come from, or is that immaterial to the case? Do courts usually waste their time entering judgements that have little possibility of ever happening?

Ability to pay is irrelevant to judgment. What is important to remember is that this is an adversarial system - the court is meant to be an arbiter, not a participant. So really, its no skin off the court's nose if the defendant is broke. Now usually whether the defendant can pay is a big deal to the plaintiff. Its why, in products liability cases no one sues the barely squeaking by mom & pop store where the bad goods were bought, they sue the big manufacturer who has cash and insurance. Determining who to sue or if you can sue is a lot of what litigators end up doing for clients. Here, as noted, the RIAA doesn't care that she will never pay this - they just want to have the judgement as a scare tactic.

Can RIAA haul her into court in 10 years because she hasn't given them their money (and would they first have to show that she has an extra $733/month first)? Her first home is exempted (correct?) but can they take basically everything else from her to pay that award? And, at the end of the day, isn't Ms Thomas better off never working another day in her life (or is she eligible for contempt if she tries that)?

You are now getting into the murky waters of remedies law. Generally they would seek a judgment lien - which is like any other type of lien or mortgage. They may put a lien on her home (doesnt matter if it is the first) or garnish her wages. However, these are equitable remedies and at the discretion of the court. In general they try not to be dicks about it. For example, courts rarely foreclose on property with liens, they just put a lien on it and then wait for it to sell - once it does the money goes to the plaintiff. Courts can get creative here, as they actually have broad authority to enforce their judgements. Finally, they could arrest you for contempt - but this is the rarest of the options and usually reserved for real bad actors.
 
2012-12-13 03:40:34 PM  

elchupacabra: A house, not to mention the incidental damages other material goods, costs a helluva lot more than 23 songs. Yet the fines are not even close to commensurate.


23 songs? of course not. But the distribution rights to 23 songs? That actually comes out to about/more than the cost of a home.
 
2012-12-13 03:45:10 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Creating a system where judges can prevent people from going broke because a nonliving entity needs their pound of flesh - balancing personal needs against corporate needs, you might say - over what doesn't even amount to a rounding error for the organization (or a significant infringement of their ability to distribute) seems to be in the interests of creating a legal system that isn't beholden to big-money seems like a win to me. But that's probably why I'm not a lawyer.


There is a great deal of flexibility in the enforcement phase - and generally - like expelling a tenant - if you have to go to court to enforce a judgment you are likely not seeing the money.

best way to put it - a court is required to dispassionately determine the amount of harm a wrongful actor has caused and assign that as damages. Nothing about the defendant's hard luck story should affect that (as a note: it does, as juries do what juries do) . However, when it comes to enforcing that judgment, a court has a lot of flexibility and will often give poor or overwhelmed defendants a lot of slack.
 
2012-12-13 03:46:33 PM  

Dr Dreidel: // forgot to include interest on that bill in my above analysis - they calculate interest, right?


Oh, hells, yeah. In Massachusetts, damages interest is a juicy 12%.
 
2012-12-13 03:47:08 PM  

Theaetetus: They're never getting their money back and they know it. This is all about precedent.


Precedent for more cases, and more awards they'll never collect on? Qui bene?

// I guess the lawyers kept busy
// they damn sure get paid (I know RIAA's people are retained) - is that the answer?
 
2012-12-13 03:49:11 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Precedent for more cases, and more awards they'll never collect on? Qui bene?


He means - i think - the precedent that this is willful infringement and the big press and handwringing that goes along with it. The RIAA is hoping that many people, when they think about downloading something, will remember this case and decide to just buy it on itunes.
 
2012-12-13 03:50:01 PM  

Teiritzamna: However, when it comes to enforcing that judgment, a court has a lot of flexibility and will often give poor or overwhelmed defendants a lot of slack.


Teiritzamna: You are now getting into the murky waters of remedies law. Generally...


And it doesn't seem strange to you two that a judge has little to no leeway in setting the amount judgement, but tons of it in enforcing how that judgement is enacted (including a de facto reduction)? I get that, for legal reasons, it should be that way, but it strikes no one as...retarded?

// or "it strikes no one as...being the same damn thing, only wearing a fake mustache?"
 
2012-12-13 03:50:37 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Theaetetus: They're never getting their money back and they know it. This is all about precedent.

Precedent for more cases, and more awards they'll never collect on? Qui bene?


Yep. Shuts down the possibility of appeals in the future, making that "pay us $5000 and delete all these files or we'll take you to court for $1.5 million" threat a lot more solid... and resulting in more $5000 checks and less legal fees.

// I guess the lawyers kept busy
// they damn sure get paid (I know RIAA's people are retained) - is that the answer?


The RIAA is a lobbying organization really, so it's more about extending copyright as much as possible. They'll fight Thomas tooth and nail, not for the money, but because they have to.
It's also why both Thomas and Tenenbaum are lousy cases, while those John Doe cases the EFF is involved with are much, much better.
 
2012-12-13 03:50:51 PM  

Theaetetus: Oh, hells, yeah. In Massachusetts, damages interest is a juicy 12%.


Pointless self-buffing: I recently made an argument in a brief before the SJC that Massachusetts statutory interest is unconstitutional, given that the present rates are so brutally low. It was in a footnote, but still . . .
 
2012-12-13 03:54:24 PM  

Dr Dreidel: And it doesn't seem strange to you two that a judge has little to no leeway in setting the amount judgement, but tons of it in enforcing how that judgement is enacted (including a de facto reduction)? I get that, for legal reasons, it should be that way, but it strikes no one as...retarded?


The law is generally a weird system of checks and balances like that. Its because the common law evolves but keeps much of the old development around, and because of the principle that once a system is in place it is very difficult to get rid of it. Instead it is just easier to bolt on a new module that makes it do 95.8% of what we want and then we cross our fingers on move on.
 
2012-12-13 03:55:51 PM  

Teiritzamna: Dr Dreidel: Precedent for more cases, and more awards they'll never collect on? Qui bene?

He means - i think - the precedent that this is willful infringement and the big press and handwringing that goes along with it. The RIAA is hoping that many people, when they think about downloading something, will remember this case and decide to just buy it on itunes.


Right, but if they keep having to file suits that they're planning on never being able to collect the awards from, aren't they just betting we don't figure out that part of the game?

Case #1: [illegal download] - [sue] - [judgement for $Texas against the defendant] - [RIAA lets them off with a $1 "payment"]
Case #2, the following year: [illegal download] - [sue] - [judgement for $eleventy billion against the defendant] - [RIAA lets them off with a $1 "payment"]
Case #3, the following year: [illegal download] - [sue] - [judgement for $potato against the defendant] - [RIAA lets them off with a $1 "payment"]

I ask again - qui bene? Is it just the lawyers? Are they betting that, if they keep filing suit against random people, they'll get all of us to stop uploading - because I have a wealth of information (the last 10 years of legal action they've taken) that says "nagahappen, bro".

Either that, or they'll spend years getting blood from all those stones.
 
2012-12-13 03:59:03 PM  
Teiritzamna

Theaetetus


Thanks for the time and answers, guys. I'll happily be the Fark Legal Team paralegal.

// am I gonna get billed for 30 hours of "consulting" now?
 
2012-12-13 04:01:02 PM  

Teiritzamna: Theaetetus: Oh, hells, yeah. In Massachusetts, damages interest is a juicy 12%.

Pointless self-buffing: I recently made an argument in a brief before the SJC that Massachusetts statutory interest is unconstitutional, given that the present rates are so brutally low. It was in a footnote, but still . . .


I know of at least one case where the plaintiff was happy to grant any and all extensions of time requested, because the compound interest was brutal.
 
2012-12-13 04:01:29 PM  

elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much


Probably shouldn't have downloaded that ABBA CD off the torrents then, eh?
 
2012-12-13 04:04:34 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Teiritzamna: Dr Dreidel: Precedent for more cases, and more awards they'll never collect on? Qui bene?

He means - i think - the precedent that this is willful infringement and the big press and handwringing that goes along with it. The RIAA is hoping that many people, when they think about downloading something, will remember this case and decide to just buy it on itunes.

Right, but if they keep having to file suits that they're planning on never being able to collect the awards from, aren't they just betting we don't figure out that part of the game?

Case #1: [illegal download] - [sue] - [judgement for $Texas against the defendant] - [RIAA lets them off with a $1 "payment"]
Case #2, the following year: [illegal download] - [sue] - [judgement for $eleventy billion against the defendant] - [RIAA lets them off with a $1 "payment"]
Case #3, the following year: [illegal download] - [sue] - [judgement for $potato against the defendant] - [RIAA lets them off with a $1 "payment"]

I ask again - qui bene? Is it just the lawyers? Are they betting that, if they keep filing suit against random people, they'll get all of us to stop uploading - because I have a wealth of information (the last 10 years of legal action they've taken) that says "nagahappen, bro".

Either that, or they'll spend years getting blood from all those stones.


Actually it is likely not the lawyers. The thing to remember about lawyers is that they are not usually the ones to pull the trigger on strategy like this - its the client. Every litigator has tons of tales about clients who wanted to follow some bizarre self defeating strategy, or who wouldnt settle, or whatever, due to pride, rancor and simple boneheadedness.*

Finally, note that enforcement is always about causing others to stop doing something we dont want. The woman in this story is most definitely gonna be paying something, and will be paying it for a long time - as well as having her whole life turned upside down, her credit rating mucked up, and a federal court all up in her business. The RIAA is hoping that people will weigh the chance of this woman's fate happening to them against the ease and cheapness of free downloads.

*none of my clients are like this of course
 
2012-12-13 04:04:43 PM  

Dr Dreidel: And it doesn't seem strange to you two that a judge has little to no leeway in setting the amount judgement, but tons of it in enforcing how that judgement is enacted (including a de facto reduction)? I get that, for legal reasons, it should be that way, but it strikes no one as...retarded?


Nah. The place for pragmatism and emotion are once liability has been determined. It's why we give judges discretion in sentencing, but no discretion in overturning jury verdicts. Guilt or liability should be a black and white determination... what happens after that is much more flexible.
 
2012-12-13 04:06:22 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Teiritzamna

Theaetetus

Thanks for the time and answers, guys. I'll happily be the Fark Legal Team paralegal.

// am I gonna get billed for 30 hours of "consulting" now?


I spent 4 hours last night talking copyright, trademark, and right of publicity with a bunch of video game nerds at a bar, and my firm even paid for the food, so... no? :)
 
2012-12-13 04:08:25 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Thanks for the time and answers, guys. I'll happily be the Fark Legal Team paralegal.

// am I gonna get billed for 30 hours of "consulting" now?


I am always happy to have real debates over IP law - its what i love. So thank you for being a reasonable person with good Questions/thoughts in an IP thread!

Also personally i am on a slow day (christmas party last night) and my billables are looking good anyway - so lets call it a freebie
 
2012-12-13 04:09:17 PM  

Theaetetus: right of publicity


methinks this was an EA sports discussion?
 
2012-12-13 04:15:45 PM  

Teiritzamna: Theaetetus: right of publicity

methinks this was an EA sports discussion?


No Doubt v. Activison (the Band Hero case), Hart v. EA (the NCAA case), EA v. Textron (the Battlefield 3 Huey case), Escobedo v. THQ (the UFC tattoo case), and My Little Pony: Online's C&D. :D
 
2012-12-13 04:24:08 PM  
Of course its cruel and unusual.
 
2012-12-13 04:30:38 PM  

Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.


The right to own property includes the right to destroy it. Why are you against this woman exercising her rights to protect her own private property
 
2012-12-13 04:36:10 PM  

FunkyBlue: elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much

Probably shouldn't have downloaded that ABBA CD off the torrents then, eh?


You, sir, are a horrible, horrible man.

/Ok, yeah, I lolled. Sue me.
//Wait. Bad idea to say that in this forum.
 
2012-12-13 04:37:36 PM  

Theaetetus: The better argument is that the range given to the jury of $750-150,000 was based on an incorrect interpretation of the term "willful", and that the jury should have been given a range of $750-30,000. They would have ended up picking an amount much lower, and she would be probably be on the hook for around $25k-50k total, which is much more reasonable.


That's only part of the argument to me, to be honest.

The average person feels that even the $750 minimum per item doesn't fit the "distribution method" the people are using and being sued for. And, given the nature of the technology being used, I would tend to agree (without having more details, since as has been said in this thread already, I just don't care enough to really research the issue).

So, here's my perspective (and I am seriously curious if I'm just way off in left-field here): As others have said here, she's only really on the hook for the total number of songs distributed x the value of each song, and I believe the ASSUMED total number of songs distributed (since she couldn't prove otherwise) is completely out of reality with what is likely (or really even possible).

Maybe it's just been my experience, but when was the last time you participated in a torrent swarm and got to even a 5:1 share ratio? I know she was using Kazaa or something like it, but even back then, how likely was it she got even above 10:1 or 100:1? Out of the nature of the technology, it's designed so you don't need to be a huge distributor for everyone to get a copy, as long as not everyone is a leecher. Sure, not everyone gets to even 0.500, but I'd wager that no one's getting to 750:1 with these technologies for even the minimum damages to be even remotely aligned (if you assume a value of $1 per song, of course). In short, how can the court/jury have concluded that $11,875/song was reasonable, especially when the technology used would suggest she was no where near distributing a total of 11,875 for each song? I know it's been said that "it was within the range that the law dictates," but that isn't a good enough answer as it just means to me that the law needs to change.

As I read here, the statutory damages are based on the fact that they have no idea what she actually distributed and the ASSUMPTION that she COULD have distributed thousands of copies of each song, as each song is valued at a $1-5, right? The problem I have is, that she most likely shared an order of magnitude below that--meaning, even the minimum statutory damage range is putting unfair obligation on the defendant to prove they didn't in fact go well above the average distributor would have (ie, counter to the innocent until proven guilty mindset). Unless someone can show me a statistic saying that the average person using these methods of distribution distributes anywhere near the 750:1 ratio (which, given the technology, is virtually impossible), then the method of distribution needs to be considered in these cases.
 
2012-12-13 04:40:18 PM  

Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.


And do you not understand the difference between michal Jackson and a woman who is trying to feed her family. The situations are totally different. You dont get fined 250000 for stealing a candy bar
 
2012-12-13 04:48:44 PM  

FarkGrudge: As I read here, the statutory damages are based on the fact that they have no idea what she actually distributed and the ASSUMPTION that she COULD have distributed thousands of copies of each song, as each song is valued at a $1-5, right? The problem I have is, that she most likely shared an order of magnitude below that--meaning, even the minimum statutory damage range is putting unfair obligation on the defendant to prove they didn't in fact go well above the average distributor would have (ie, counter to the innocent until proven guilty mindset). Unless someone can show me a statistic saying that the average person using these methods of distribution distributes anywhere near the 750:1 ratio (which, given the technology, is virtually impossible), then the method of distribution needs to be considered in these cases.


Unfortunately, at present no, the method of distribution does not need to be considered. This is why i was saying that the statute likely needs to be changed. As it stands the statutory damages were written with larger defendants in mind who were likely making far more from their distribution than even the upper range of stat damages.

However, it is well within Congress's powers to write a stupid law. A foolish law. A mind-bendingly ridiculous law. As long as the law is within the ambit of an enumerated power, there is really not much a judge can do about it. Here, the judge appears to have applied the law properly and the jury picked a number for damages.

TL;DR - alas, this is a legislative problem, not a judicial one.
 
2012-12-13 04:50:31 PM  

Theaetetus: Scrotastic Method: doyner: Theaetetus: It's a technical limitation, too - the RIAA's investigators can't find you if you're downloading unless they're the source, short of intercepting and deepscanning every packet or demanding logs from every ISP. Instead, they download from you, proving that you're distributing.

I did not know that. Thanks. 

Doyner, you didn't know that because it's not true. If you're using BitTorrent, as busted downloaders almost certainly are, every single IP address connecting to the swarm is visible to all other users on that swarm, the direction of traffic isn't important. You do NOT have to upload for other users to see your IP. And the people bringing these suits do NOT bother to show that your IP allegedly uploaded.

None of the above is true, Doyner.

First, Thomas (and Tenenbaum) were not using BitTorrent. These cases are pretty old. Tenenbaum was on Gnutella, and Thomas was using Kazaa.

Second, the newer suits most assuredly look for seeders, not leechers, for both the technical and legal reasons I noted above. The investigators have to show that they obtained a copy of the file from the defendant, not merely that the defendant was "in the same swarm". What they do is find a file being seeded, then block connections to all IPs other than the one they're targeting. That way, they have a clean log that shows that they obtained the entire file (they only need a significant portion, since infringement doesn't actually require you to distribute the entire file, but where they can show the entire thing, they do) from a single source. Not only do they have those logs, they absolutely do bother to show that your IP allegedly uploaded, because it's an element of the complaint that they have to provide supporting evidence for and swear to.

And finally, think about it pragmatically: to get to trial, or even past summary judgement, they have to show that the defendant infringed. Are they just going to "NOT bother" collecting that evidence, wh ...


Thanks for that. This is precisely why I'm so interested in law. There's ALWAYS more to the story (see: McDonald's infamous coffee case) and the outcomes of these cases (which are often misunderstood) have a real bearing on society.
 
2012-12-13 04:52:21 PM  

Teiritzamna: Unfortunately, at present no, the method of distribution does not need to be considered. This is why i was saying that the statute likely needs to be changed. As it stands the statutory damages were written with larger defendants in mind who were likely making far more from their distribution than even the upper range of stat damages.


Agreed.

Teiritzamna: TL;DR - alas, this is a legislative problem, not a judicial one.


Agreed, but, since she's saying that the penalty as a result of this law was unfair, doesn't that make it also a judicial one (for her specifically)? Not to sound snarky, but the whole checks-and-balances thing.
 
2012-12-13 04:52:29 PM  

Teiritzamna: TL;DR - alas, this is a legislative problem, not a judicial one.


As almost ALL are. There are almost no truly "activist" judges out there.
 
2012-12-13 04:56:22 PM  

Warlordtrooper: And do you not understand the difference between michal Jackson and a woman who is trying to feed her family. The situations are totally different. You dont get fined 250000 for stealing a candy bar


1) as has been said, many times, many ways: not a fine

2) differences between them. MJ is a dead effeminate black (?) man - the mother is not? When MJ feeds his kids its his cock? I know this wasn't addressed to me, but still I dont really know what you mean.
Could you explain what you think the difference is between an example of the distribution rights to a song being valued at $11,875/song through a sale, and song distribution rights being valued at ~$9565/song through a court action?

3) your analogy is off, it appears - as often happens when analogizing from a public good to a market good. If you could instantly copy the candybar and gave them away to everyone, thus cutting into Hershey's profits due to your initial wrongful act of stealing, perhaps you too would face over $250000 in damages.
 
2012-12-13 05:01:50 PM  

FarkGrudge: Agreed, but, since she's saying that the penalty as a result of this law was unfair, doesn't that make it also a judicial one (for her specifically)? Not to sound snarky, but the whole checks-and-balances thing.


remember a law can be stupid, shiatty, or even unfair and still 100% constitutional.

She is arguing that the judgement against her is so outrageous as to shock the conscience - that it is so unexpectedly large as to be out of the norm, and thus that it violates the due process clause.

The trick is, that is a hard argument to make when the damages are within the range set in a public statute by Congress and chosen by a jury.

Additionally, attempting to argue that Congress somehow overstepped its constitutional authority when drafting that law setting statutory damages is even harder - especially as i have no idea on what hook you would hang that stinker. I mean if setting stat damages is so unfair i figure anyone actually incarcerated would have some fun lawsuits to file.
 
2012-12-13 05:02:22 PM  
So anybody that isn't a windy lawyer wannabe care to step up and post an opinion?
 
2012-12-13 05:06:56 PM  

Teiritzamna: She is arguing that the judgement against her is so outrageous as to shock the conscience - that it is so unexpectedly large as to be out of the norm, and thus that it violates the due process clause.


She's also trying to call it punitive damages - much the same argument we've been having here - in order to draw parallels to W.L. Gore.
 
2012-12-13 05:09:42 PM  

Teiritzamna: Could you explain what you think the difference is between an example of the distribution rights to a song being valued at $11,875/song through a sale, and song distribution rights being valued at ~$9565/song through a court action?


While not trying to defend the original poster's position, I would like to answer this.

The difference is that the distribution rights purchased by MJ allow for him to market the songs to anyone (and include using the songs for advertisement revenue). The "distribution rights" that these defendants are being sued for using allowed them to distribute to likely tens of people, and at no profit.

It's only when you assume that either the defendants had "all distribution rights" or none does it make sense. But, given that the defendants do not get rights to continue to distribute after the case, nor did their actions demonstrate they had willfully infringed on the rights to use the songs for any sort of revenue, then they should not be valued the same.

/again, it's the whole "how was is distributed" should matter
//but saying what MJ purchased should be the same as what these defendants are charged with defies common-sense, even if it's legally accurate (unless they are in-turn awarded the rights after trial like MJ)
 
2012-12-13 05:16:36 PM  

FarkGrudge: While not trying to defend the original poster's position, I would like to answer this.

The difference is that the distribution rights purchased by MJ allow for him to market the songs to anyone (and include using the songs for advertisement revenue). The "distribution rights" that these defendants are being sued for using allowed them to distribute to likely tens of people, and at no profit.

It's only when you assume that either the defendants had "all distribution rights" or none does it make sense. But, given that the defendants do not get rights to continue to distribute after the case, nor did their actions demonstrate they had willfully infringed on the rights to use the songs for any sort of revenue, then they should not be valued the same.

/again, it's the whole "how was is distributed" should matter
//but saying what MJ purchased should be the same as what these defendants are charged with defies common-sense, even if it's legally accurate (unless they are in-turn awarded the rights after trial like MJ)


See now that is a real answer - well reasoned and sensible. One that feeds back into the legislative issues we were discussing. Sadly, given the style and substance of his mini-polemic, i doubt that Warlordtrooper would have given such an answer.
 
2012-12-13 05:17:24 PM  

Theaetetus: She's also trying to call it punitive damages - much the same argument we've been having here - in order to draw parallels to W.L. Gore.


Yeah, which is so ridiculous an argument that it makes me feel all Rule 11-y.
 
2012-12-13 05:19:36 PM  

Teiritzamna: i doubt that Warlordtrooper would have given such an answer.


Agreed, which is why I wanted to answer it. :) I'm legitimately curious to see how "out there" I am with my perspective on this issue.
 
2012-12-13 05:21:38 PM  

Ohlookabutterfly: So anybody that isn't a windy lawyer wannabe care to step up and post an opinion?


Proceed, Ohlookabutterfly.
 
2012-12-13 05:32:39 PM  

Teiritzamna: remember a law can be stupid, shiatty, or even unfair and still 100% constitutional.


Yes, but the opposite can also be true: a law can be smart, wonderful, and fair and still be 100% unconstitutional.

Teiritzamna: She is arguing that the judgement against her is so outrageous as to shock the conscience - that it is so unexpectedly large as to be out of the norm, and thus that it violates the due process clause.

The trick is, that is a hard argument to make when the damages are within the range set in a public statute by Congress and chosen by a jury.


I don't know much about how judgments can and are overturned, but it would seem to me (ie, the average person), that the only thing she can do is keep appealing as high as the court system will let her go until the judgment is reduced or overturned. I guess I'm not really surprised that someone in her position would keep trying to fight it judicially--they're the only ones who can actually "fix" her judgment (even if the law changed, it'd have to go through the courts again).
 
2012-12-13 05:34:08 PM  
personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.
 
2012-12-13 05:55:57 PM  

grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.


The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.
 
2012-12-13 06:03:00 PM  

Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.


... Which has an unconstitutional value assigned to it right now.

/Okay, that was a little snarky. :)
 
2012-12-13 06:06:26 PM  

FarkGrudge: Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.

... Which has an unconstitutional value assigned to it right now.

/Okay, that was a little snarky. :)


heh.

The real question, however, is what do you think is unconstitutional about it?
 
2012-12-13 06:11:05 PM  

Teiritzamna: FarkGrudge: While not trying to defend the original poster's position, I would like to answer this.

The difference is that the distribution rights purchased by MJ allow for him to market the songs to anyone (and include using the songs for advertisement revenue). The "distribution rights" that these defendants are being sued for using allowed them to distribute to likely tens of people, and at no profit.

It's only when you assume that either the defendants had "all distribution rights" or none does it make sense. But, given that the defendants do not get rights to continue to distribute after the case, nor did their actions demonstrate they had willfully infringed on the rights to use the songs for any sort of revenue, then they should not be valued the same.

/again, it's the whole "how was is distributed" should matter
//but saying what MJ purchased should be the same as what these defendants are charged with defies common-sense, even if it's legally accurate (unless they are in-turn awarded the rights after trial like MJ)

See now that is a real answer - well reasoned and sensible. One that feeds back into the legislative issues we were discussing. Sadly, given the style and substance of his mini-polemic, i doubt that Warlordtrooper would have given such an answer.


I like this answer. There's a potential double-dipping argument that, if the plaintiff is fully compensated for the distribution license and gets to retain exclusivity, then they've been "made whole" twice.
It also implies that, once accused of file sharing, you should start a legal defense fund selling copies of the songs in question for $1 each, since with a distribution license, you're "entitled" to those profits - which you'll then turn over to the plaintiff, but at least they aren't coming out of your pocket. :)
 
2012-12-13 06:11:41 PM  

Teiritzamna: FarkGrudge: Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.

... Which has an unconstitutional value assigned to it right now.

/Okay, that was a little snarky. :)

heh.

The real question, however, is what do you think is unconstitutional about it?


Not enough guns. The second amendment requires all court cases to involve firearms. I saw it on Freep so you know it's true.
 
2012-12-13 06:12:06 PM  

Teiritzamna: FarkGrudge: Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.

... Which has an unconstitutional value assigned to it right now.

/Okay, that was a little snarky. :)

heh.

The real question, however, is what do you think is unconstitutional about it?


Honestly, I wouldn't say unconstitutional necessarily (wouldn't know either way). But I do maintain that it is an exaggerated value as mentioned above.
 
2012-12-13 06:28:21 PM  

elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much


I watched a friends house burn down and knew a kid that had 3rd degree burns over a large portion of his body due to a house fire.

Master Strawman Builder.
 
2012-12-13 06:39:35 PM  

Theaetetus: Dr Dreidel: Teiritzamna: Cruel and unusual only applies to state punishments. This is a civil matter. She isnt being fined nor imprisoned, so the 8th amendment is silent to her issue.

Isn't this a civil fine imposed by the feds for running afoul of their copyright protections (because as we all know, she's not paying for lost revenue, she's paying a penalty for unlicensed distribution)? So it stays "civil", and she has no means of challenging the amount of the penalty? That's a special kind of dumb - Congress can make a law that sets penalties for civil infractions astronomically high with no remedy available for people to challenge the statute's appropriateness?

Nope, because it's not a "fine" or "penalty" - those go to the state. These are compensatory damages, which go to the plaintiff. Her means of challenging the amount of damages are to attack the amount of damages, by showing that their actual lost revenue was much lower - she can't attack the damages by saying that it's a cruel and unusual punishment to compensate the plaintiff for their loss, any more than you can run over someone with your car and argue that you shouldn't have to pay their medical bills because it's cruel.

A court could very easily limit the award to the low end of the damage scale, times 1 (since the distribution happened through a single medium? Is that kosher?), and still be within the law, no?

Not the times 1 for a medium, but times the number of works infringed, or 23... They could say that $750 * 23 is a reasonable amount but it'd probably be overturned on appeal, because it would basically be throwing out a jury verdict and they would need to show a really good reason.

Is RIAA worried that there will arise some precedent that holds awards against private citizens to the 3-4 (or 5) figure range, rather than the 6-figure range, and pursuing these cases is no longer profitable, meaning they'll stop pursuing them, meaning the courts would then see their lack of pursuit as tacit app ...


First of all, it's not limited to punitive (criminal) cases. Secondly, it cruel and unusual applies regardless of the crime.

I shall also remind you of United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), Excessive fines.
 
2012-12-13 06:45:54 PM  

Teiritzamna: FarkGrudge: Agreed, but, since she's saying that the penalty as a result of this law was unfair, doesn't that make it also a judicial one (for her specifically)? Not to sound snarky, but the whole checks-and-balances thing.

remember a law can be stupid, shiatty, or even unfair and still 100% constitutional.

She is arguing that the judgement against her is so outrageous as to shock the conscience - that it is so unexpectedly large as to be out of the norm, and thus that it violates the due process clause.

The trick is, that is a hard argument to make when the damages are within the range set in a public statute by Congress and chosen by a jury.

Additionally, attempting to argue that Congress somehow overstepped its constitutional authority when drafting that law setting statutory damages is even harder - especially as i have no idea on what hook you would hang that stinker. I mean if setting stat damages is so unfair i figure anyone actually incarcerated would have some fun lawsuits to file.


And yet companies like Exxon make the argument and WIN all the time on damages awarded by the jury as being too excessive despite it being written into law and given by a jury. So I'm sorry, what is your argument again?
 
2012-12-13 06:45:56 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: I shall also remind you of United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), Excessive fines.


See:

Princess Ryans Knickers: Theaetetus: Nope, because it's not a "fine" or "penalty" - those go to the state. These are compensatory damages, which go to the plaintiff.

 
2012-12-13 06:47:42 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: And yet companies like Exxon make the argument and WIN all the time on punitive damages awarded by the jury as being too excessive despite it being written into law and given by a jury. So I'm sorry, what is your argument again?


That these aren't punitive damages (or fines), they're compensatory damages.
 
2012-12-13 06:52:19 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: I shall also remind you of United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), Excessive fines.


Um ok. I dont know why you would do that though, as it doesn't help you at all:

The Eighth Amendment provides: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." U. S. Const., Amdt. 8. This Court has had little occasion to interpret, and has never actually applied, the Excessive Fines Clause. We have, however, explained that at the time the Constitution was adopted, "the word `fine' was understood to mean a payment to a sovereign as punishment for some offense." Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, 328*328 Inc., 492 U. S. 257, 265 (1989). The Excessive Fines Clause thus "limits the government's power to extract payments, whether in cash or in kind, `as punishment for some offense.' " Austin v. United States, 509 U. S. 602, 609-610 (1993) (emphasis deleted).

United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 327-28 (1998). So yeah, 8th amendment is limited to government imposition of punishments and fines. This case is not a fine, it is a civil judgment.
 
2012-12-13 06:55:37 PM  

Teiritzamna: Princess Ryans Knickers: I shall also remind you of United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), Excessive fines.

Um ok. I dont know why you would do that though, as it doesn't help you at all:

The Eighth Amendment provides: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." U. S. Const., Amdt. 8. This Court has had little occasion to interpret, and has never actually applied, the Excessive Fines Clause. We have, however, explained that at the time the Constitution was adopted, "the word `fine' was understood to mean a payment to a sovereign as punishment for some offense." Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, 328*328 Inc., 492 U. S. 257, 265 (1989). The Excessive Fines Clause thus "limits the government's power to extract payments, whether in cash or in kind, `as punishment for some offense.' " Austin v. United States, 509 U. S. 602, 609-610 (1993) (emphasis deleted).

United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 327-28 (1998). So yeah, 8th amendment is limited to government imposition of punishments and fines. This case is not a fine, it is a civil judgment.


Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements. So in a way this case could lead to the answer from the Williams case.
 
2012-12-13 06:57:59 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: Teiritzamna: Princess Ryans Knickers: I shall also remind you of United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), Excessive fines.

Um ok. I dont know why you would do that though, as it doesn't help you at all:

The Eighth Amendment provides: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." U. S. Const., Amdt. 8. This Court has had little occasion to interpret, and has never actually applied, the Excessive Fines Clause. We have, however, explained that at the time the Constitution was adopted, "the word `fine' was understood to mean a payment to a sovereign as punishment for some offense." Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, 328*328 Inc., 492 U. S. 257, 265 (1989). The Excessive Fines Clause thus "limits the government's power to extract payments, whether in cash or in kind, `as punishment for some offense.' " Austin v. United States, 509 U. S. 602, 609-610 (1993) (emphasis deleted).

United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 327-28 (1998). So yeah, 8th amendment is limited to government imposition of punishments and fines. This case is not a fine, it is a civil judgment.

Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements. So in a way this case could lead to the answer from the Williams case.


You are mixing up totally different case law. Gore and State farm are about the 14th/5th amendment limits on punitive damages. It has nothing to do with the 8th amendment. Neither are applicable to this judgement as it is a compensatory judgement applying damages set forth in a lawful statute.
 
2012-12-13 07:00:52 PM  

Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.


No she took mp3s song, she never stole a license. it can be argued that those illegally distributing any stolen media only stole what they are selling copies of as they never had any intention of getting a license to sell them legally, and how th hell could you steal a license? you can get a fake but that fraud more than it is theft, same for using someone else's license.
 
2012-12-13 07:02:07 PM  

Teiritzamna: Princess Ryans Knickers: Teiritzamna: Princess Ryans Knickers: I shall also remind you of United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), Excessive fines.

Um ok. I dont know why you would do that though, as it doesn't help you at all:

The Eighth Amendment provides: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." U. S. Const., Amdt. 8. This Court has had little occasion to interpret, and has never actually applied, the Excessive Fines Clause. We have, however, explained that at the time the Constitution was adopted, "the word `fine' was understood to mean a payment to a sovereign as punishment for some offense." Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, 328*328 Inc., 492 U. S. 257, 265 (1989). The Excessive Fines Clause thus "limits the government's power to extract payments, whether in cash or in kind, `as punishment for some offense.' " Austin v. United States, 509 U. S. 602, 609-610 (1993) (emphasis deleted).

United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 327-28 (1998). So yeah, 8th amendment is limited to government imposition of punishments and fines. This case is not a fine, it is a civil judgment.

Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements. So in a way this case could lead to the answer from the Williams case.

You are mixing up totally different case law. Gore and State farm are about the 14th/5th amendment limits on punitive damages. It has nothing to do with the 8th amendment. Neither are applicable to this judgement as it is a compensatory judgement applying damages set forth in a lawful statute.


Not really. First, in the 8th amendment it does not state for punitive or State damages only. Secondly, the early SCOTUS applied the rule of the "evolving common decency of man" rule to damages regardless of it being a fine, criminal, or compensatory (actual). Thirdly, I again point you to the class action suits against BP and Exxon where they BOTH got reduced damages after a jury ruling despite the law as written.
 
2012-12-13 07:02:12 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements


Civil fines are still held to the same guidelines - see Gore and State Farm. These aren't fines. I don't know how many times we can say this - it's not about whether this is criminal or civil, it's about whether it's punitive or compensatory in nature. In this case, it's the latter.
 
2012-12-13 07:03:14 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: First, in the 8th amendment it does not state for punitive or State damages only.


"Excessive fines" - and from that case, "at the time the Constitution was adopted, "the word `fine' was understood to mean a payment to a sovereign as punishment for some offense."" Thus, yes - the 8th amendment applies to punitive damages, not compensatory ones.
 
2012-12-13 07:04:22 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: Thirdly, I again point you to the class action suits against BP and Exxon where they BOTH got reduced punitive damages after a jury ruling despite the law as written.


I'm just about done with this one.
 
2012-12-13 07:05:37 PM  

Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements

Civil fines are still held to the same guidelines - see Gore and State Farm. These aren't fines. I don't know how many times we can say this - it's not about whether this is criminal or civil, it's about whether it's punitive or compensatory in nature. In this case, it's the latter.


And were the actual damages reduced in those cases brought by the People and not the United States? Yes, yes they were. So you don't disagree with me in saying that what's good for the corporation is good for the People.
 
2012-12-13 07:07:42 PM  

Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Thirdly, I again point you to the class action suits against BP and Exxon where they BOTH got reduced punitive damages after a jury ruling despite the law as written.

I'm just about done with this one.


And keep farking that chicken by pointing to the case brought by the US instead of the class action I keep pointing to.
 
2012-12-13 07:10:44 PM  

StoPPeRmobile: elchupacabra: Theaetetus:

Say she set fire to your house... Is it a good reason that she shouldn't have to buy you a new house that she's a middle-class woman? Forget about fairness to her, what about fairness to you, the wronged party?
The same applies, even if the RIAA companies are rich as gods. Compensatory damages are about repairing the wrong done to the plaintiff. The fact that that may be painful or bankrupting for the defendant is irrelevant, since the alternative would mean that someone is harmed and doesn't get made whole.


Wow. You just compared burning someone's house down to sharing copyrighted material.

/house burned down in my childhood
//fark you very much

I watched a friends house burn down and knew a kid that had 3rd degree burns over a large portion of his body due to a house fire.

Master Strawman Builder.


I argue that his usage of that comparison was seriously out of whack. Where do you find a strawman?
 
2012-12-13 07:11:31 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements

Civil fines are still held to the same guidelines - see Gore and State Farm. These aren't fines. I don't know how many times we can say this - it's not about whether this is criminal or civil, it's about whether it's punitive or compensatory in nature. In this case, it's the latter.

And were the actual damages reduced in those cases brought by the People and not the United States? Yes, yes they were.


No, no they weren't - the actual damages were not reduced at all. The punitive damages were reduced. Do you understand the distinction?

Princess Ryans Knickers: And keep farking that chicken by pointing to the case brought by the US instead of the class action I keep pointing to.


arrrgholyfarkit'snotaboutwhobroughtthecase! Compensatory damages were not reduced in any of the cases. Punitive damages were reduced, and are subject to the 8th amendment.

/like talking to a particularly dense wall
 
2012-12-13 07:13:50 PM  

Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements

Civil fines are still held to the same guidelines - see Gore and State Farm. These aren't fines. I don't know how many times we can say this - it's not about whether this is criminal or civil, it's about whether it's punitive or compensatory in nature. In this case, it's the latter.

And were the actual damages reduced in those cases brought by the People and not the United States? Yes, yes they were.

No, no they weren't - the actual damages were not reduced at all. The punitive damages were reduced. Do you understand the distinction?

Princess Ryans Knickers: And keep farking that chicken by pointing to the case brought by the US instead of the class action I keep pointing to.

arrrgholyfarkit'snotaboutwhobroughtthecase! Compensatory damages were not reduced in any of the cases. Punitive damages were reduced, and are subject to the 8th amendment.

/like talking to a particularly dense wall


Again, you are pointing to a different case. There were two cases. One brought by the US for fines imposed (punitive) and the second brought by the People as a class action lawsuit (compensatory also known as actual).

Secondly, in the Jammie Thomas case you are considering presumed damages and not proven. SCOTUS has already rejected twice this argument and tossed the cases on their ear.
 
2012-12-13 07:22:58 PM  

Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: Yes, and it's still held to the same guidelines. See Gore and State Farm judgements

Civil fines are still held to the same guidelines - see Gore and State Farm. These aren't fines. I don't know how many times we can say this - it's not about whether this is criminal or civil, it's about whether it's punitive or compensatory in nature. In this case, it's the latter.

And were the actual damages reduced in those cases brought by the People and not the United States? Yes, yes they were.

No, no they weren't - the actual damages were not reduced at all. The punitive damages were reduced. Do you understand the distinction?

Princess Ryans Knickers: And keep farking that chicken by pointing to the case brought by the US instead of the class action I keep pointing to.

arrrgholyfarkit'snotaboutwhobroughtthecase! Compensatory damages were not reduced in any of the cases. Punitive damages were reduced, and are subject to the 8th amendment.

/like talking to a particularly dense wall


BTW, the Exxon one is compensatory and not punitive. Might help if you learn the definition of compensatory:

Compensatory damages, called actual damages, are paid to compensate the claimant for loss, injury, or harm suffered as a result of (see requirement of causation) another's breach of duty.

The duty and legal obligation of Exxon was to ensure their ship and cargo were safely conveyed to their destination. They did not do that. Therefore harm was done to the local environment, livelihood, and health of the residences within the sphere of the spill.

There is no actual harm and no proven damages in the Jammie Thomas case.
 
2012-12-13 07:30:26 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: BTW, the Exxon one is compensatory and not punitive. Might help if you learn the definition of compensatory:


From the syllabus of that case:
3. The punitive damages award against Exxon was excessive as a matter of maritime common law. In the circumstances of this case, the award should be limited to an amount equal to compensatory damages.

/oy vey
 
2012-12-13 07:32:46 PM  

Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: BTW, the Exxon one is compensatory and not punitive. Might help if you learn the definition of compensatory:

From the syllabus of that case:
3. The punitive damages award against Exxon was excessive as a matter of maritime common law. In the circumstances of this case, the award should be limited to an amount equal to compensatory damages.

/oy vey


And it's a misuse of the term. Again, what's the definition of compensatory?
 
2012-12-13 08:25:59 PM  

GAT_00: Rincewind53: No, it's not.

Look, I hate the RIAA and those cases as much as the next guy, but there is zero basis for saying that it was an unconstitutional decision.

She isn't arguing this right either. She should be arguing for cruel and unusual fines.


That is precisely what she's arguing. "Cruel and unusual" punishment is "excessive."

However, statutory damages are set to deter offenders, not just to compensate the aggrieved party. If you review the holy-fark history of this case, you'll find that this woman is not easily deterred. Nor are file-sharers in general. So yes, the statutory damages need to be high.

Her lawyers argue that the "excessive" statutory damages make it worthwhile for copyright owners to go after infringers, as if that's a bad thing.

They also argue that it is "file-sharing in general" that damages rights owners, not her. "(T)he songs she listened to were on KaZaA, available to the whole Internet, and would have been there even if Thomas had never discovered file sharing. Punishing an individual for injuries caused by a group to which the individual belongs rather than by the individual herself is neither American nor constitutional."

So it's neither American nor constitutional to jail any Wall Street employee. The crimes of his firm would have been committed whether he was there or not. Pull the other one.

She's asking the SCOTUS to rule the statutory damages unconstitutional because they are not narrowly tailored to her type of infringement. But it's up to a jury to do that tailoring within the range of statutory damages set by Congress. Three juries did so, coming up with $220,000, $1.5 million, and $1.9 million. She's getting the lowest of the lot.
 
2012-12-13 10:00:03 PM  

Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.


Looks at profile... Patent attorney.

Yeah well that pretty much explains it. This is his meal ticket, so of course he thinks it's a good idea to extort massive damages from these folks.

They deserve to be sued for the value of the files, which last I checked was less than a dollar each on iTunes.
 
2012-12-13 10:04:31 PM  
So my ex had bought this "music service" that charged $40 a year for unlimited downloads. It was a reskinned Kazaa, and she thought it was a legal, unlimited music download service. I could not convince her that it was illegal, because she had paid for the "service" and thus the music was obviously paid for.

I got her to switch to Pandora when it became available, but she never understood how a paid service could be tapping into something that could get her into trouble.

I wonder how she would fare in court. She was both downloading and seeding hundreds of songs without knowing anything about torrents. Her level of internet savvy was a constant problem for me, and despite cleaning up problem after problem for her she never seemed to trust my computer advice. I could see her absolutely denying in court that she had done anything illegal, getting hit with millions in damages and still not understanding that she was paying crooks and not a legal service.
 
2012-12-13 10:53:08 PM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: Theaetetus: Princess Ryans Knickers: BTW, the Exxon one is compensatory and not punitive. Might help if you learn the definition of compensatory:

From the syllabus of that case:
3. The punitive damages award against Exxon was excessive as a matter of maritime common law. In the circumstances of this case, the award should be limited to an amount equal to compensatory damages.

/oy vey

And it's a misuse of the term. Again, what's the definition of compensatory?


You're arguing that the Supreme Court is misusing the term "punitive" in their decisions?

bulk.destructoid.com
 
2012-12-13 10:53:52 PM  

EbolaNYC: Theaetetus: vudutek: Theaetetus: ... according to the woman who destroyed her hard drive after receiving the notice of the law suit and then lied in court about it.

so, regardless of the existence of said hard drive or not, are you seriously contending that $220,000 for 23 .mp3's isn't extortion, and is indeed a fair judgement for damages and loss of revenue?

Michael Jackson paid $47.5 million for distribution rights to 4,000 Beatles songs, or $11,875 per song. Times 23, that's $273,125. So, yeah, $220,000 is definitely in the ballpark for a license to distribute 23 mp3s.

Looks at profile... Patent attorney.

Yeah well that pretty much explains it. This is his meal ticket, so of course he thinks it's a good idea to extort massive damages from these folks.


Patents, copyrights... why, they're totally the same thing. The different spelling and pronunciation are probably irrelevant.
 
2012-12-14 01:24:19 AM  
Sorry, I know you guys like to go on and on about minute details and all but let me cut all that BS out. You're a lawyer and you don't particularly care if something is right and fair as long as you can argue the point to death and win (profit).
 
2012-12-14 03:15:29 AM  

Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.


Why do you guys continue to compare this to things such as a license for digital distribution, or (even worse) the Beatles' publishing rights? To compare to a distribution license the penalty would appropriately be about $0.50 for each copy she distributed, plus her own. For the equivalent with torrenting, the penalty should be $0.50 x (share ratio + 1), because that's how much the owners would get if she were a legitimate digital distributor. This would be the amount of money the rights holders would have gotten if every single download was one lost sale, if they applied this fine to every uploader. Since she didn't have exclusivity rights, you can't honestly include those costs.

To compare to Michael Jackson's rights to the Beatles, you would be saying she bought the publishing rights. This means she would be privy to about 50% of the royalties the songs made through all their sales through any medium. Somehow I doubt they're giving her their royalties. To suggest this case is equivalent to that is completely asinine.
 
2012-12-14 08:29:00 AM  

EbolaNYC: Sorry, I know you guys like to go on and on about minute details and all but let me cut all that BS out. You're a lawyer and you don't particularly care if something is right and fair as long as you can argue the point to death and win (profit).


Actually, no, you've got it backwards - you don't care whether something is right or wrong, and instead say that if a lawyer says it, they're biased shills so it must be wrong.

The astute reader would note that all of us lawyers have actually been arguing against the massive damage awards, just not with "wharrrgarbl unconstitutional excessive fines due process!" rants.
The less astute reader sees everything in a dichotomy in which if you're not wharrgarbling one way, you must be wharrgarbling the other way just as hard, so the fact that we're not saying this is unconstitutional means we must be receiving fat RIAA checks.

Guess which group you fall into?
 
2012-12-14 08:35:12 AM  

Bisu: Teiritzamna: grimlock1972: personally i think for this kind of piracy / copyright infringement damages should be capped at the retail value of the item or items in question +10% and legal costs are the responsibility of the parties themselves unless there is ironclad proof the items were being sold for profit.

The trick - as has been discussed, is that the retail value of what she "took" was actually rather high - the cost of a music distribution license.

Why do you guys continue to compare this to things such as a license for digital distribution, or (even worse) the Beatles' publishing rights? To compare to a distribution license the penalty would appropriately be about $0.50 for each copy she distributed, plus her own. For the equivalent with torrenting, the penalty should be $0.50 x (share ratio + 1), because that's how much the owners would get if she were a legitimate digital distributor. This would be the amount of money the rights holders would have gotten if every single download was one lost sale, if they applied this fine to every uploader. Since she didn't have exclusivity rights, you can't honestly include those costs.


You're assuming that she's a reputable online seller with an established reputation and track record such that Capitol Records would offer her a royalty agreement like that.
Without any such track record, any distribution agreement wouldn't be strict "$.xx per copy sold", but "$.xx per copy sold for the first n copies, $.yy per copy sold for the next m copies, with a $zzz,zzz minimum royalty payment per year regardless of number of copies sold below that amount." Almost all licenses based on royalties have a minimum payment clause, particularly so in cases of disreputable or questionable sellers - it's a way for the licensor to avoid the licensee doing questionable accounting, giving the product away for free, or closing up shop and not selling any while still claiming the license contract is valid.

To compare to Michael Jackson's rights to the Beatles, you would be saying she bought the publishing rights. This means she would be privy to about 50% of the royalties the songs made through all their sales through any medium. Somehow I doubt they're giving her their royalties. To suggest this case is equivalent to that is completely asinine.

You're comparing this to an exclusive license with a sublicense back to Capitol Records, such that Capitol would be paying her. We're comparing it to a non-exclusive distribution license, the same as if she was a music retailer.
 
2012-12-14 09:11:50 AM  

EbolaNYC: Looks at profile... Patent attorney.

Yeah well that pretty much explains it. This is his meal ticket, so of course he thinks it's a good idea to extort massive damages from these folks.


Ah and now the accusations of shill-ery.

Listen chief, if you jumped into a thread where people were making angry statements about a problem in a unix system, only for a unix admin to roll on in and explain to them why the biatchery of the thread was wrong and what the actual problem was, would you a) assume he is just saying this because hey, unix systems are where he gets his money so he is obviously lying to protect his business; or b) he happens to know what the fark he is talking about - unlike most everyone he is correcting.

None of the lawyers in this thread (or the law students ^ ^) are arguing that these damages are good - we are just saying they arent unconstitutional. You can have a bad law that is 100% constitutional - in fact i would bet you that most federal and state statutes are disliked by someone, yet the vast majority of them are totally valid under the foundational document of the country.

Finally, and i I know it may be hard for you to wrap your head around, but there are many different kinds of lawyers. Theae, for example, doesn't litigate, and definitely doesn't litigate in copyright - so it matters exactly zippo to him what the outcome of this case is - from a professional standpoint. I do litigate in IP, but the vast majority of my clients are - wait for it - defendants. That means they are the ones accused of infringement. I know! There are lawyers on both sides? Crazyness! So, Sunshine, it would likely be in my professional interest if this woman actually won.
 
2012-12-14 09:20:06 AM  

Theaetetus: EbolaNYC: Sorry, I know you guys like to go on and on about minute details and all but let me cut all that BS out. You're a lawyer and you don't particularly care if something is right and fair as long as you can argue the point to death and win (profit).

Actually, no, you've got it backwards - you don't care whether something is right or wrong, and instead say that if a lawyer says it, they're biased shills so it must be wrong.

The astute reader would note that all of us lawyers have actually been arguing against the massive damage awards, just not with "wharrrgarbl unconstitutional excessive fines due process!" rants.
The less astute reader sees everything in a dichotomy in which if you're not wharrgarbling one way, you must be wharrgarbling the other way just as hard, so the fact that we're not saying this is unconstitutional means we must be receiving fat RIAA checks.

Guess which group you fall into?


I don't actually care, but you're entitled to an opinion.

It's been my experience that instead of simplifying things, lawyers get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need a lawyer to involved.

Just look at Congress, full of lawyers.

So forgive my poor impression of lawyers, I am sure some of you are peaches, but not very many.
 
2012-12-14 09:31:06 AM  

Princess Ryans Knickers: And it's a misuse of the term. Again, what's the definition of compensatory?


Wow.

I mean . . . fark. Wow.

ok - i know i shouldnt attempt to educate a person who thinks the Supreme Court misuses the name for certain types of damages - but i am a sucker for enlightening folk, so here goes.

You are suffering under the very misteken impression that "punitive damages" mean daamages imposed by the state like a fine. They do not. They are a measure of civil damages. There are three separate concepts at issue here and you are wrongfully conflating them:

Compensatory damages - these are civil damages imposed by the finder of fact (usually a jury) in order to compensate the plaintiff. They are exist to make the plaintiff whole. Say that you have a car that is worth $10,000. I crash into it, totalling it. You sue me for negligence, and win. the jury awards you $10,000 - the value of what you lost. This puts you back into the position you were in before the accident - thus these damages are called compensatory.

Punitive damages - these are also civil damages imposed by the finder of fact. However they are not meant to compensate the plaintiff, but to punish the plaintiff and deter future bad conduct. Going back to our accident, perhaps i did not hit your car by accident, but because i willfully wanted to destroy your property and hurt you. You might be able to argue that the egregiousness of my actions were such that i need extra punishment. Punitive damages are authorized via statute, and are generally narrow in where they can be imposed. The money goes from the defendant to the plaintiff.

Fines - fines are not civil damages. They are a criminal sanction imposed by the state. The money assessed against the defendant goes to state coffers. If, after the accident, it becomes apparent that i was driving without a license, a police officer could issue a citation which indicates that i must pay a $150 fine for this infraction.

So here's how it works: the 8th amendment "curel and unusual punishment/excessive fines" provision applies only to fines, not the first two. The due process restraint upon the size of punitive damages only applies to the second one. This case involves compensatory damages (set by statute) only. As such, neither the due process concerns regarding punitive damages, nor the 8th amendment concerns with excessive fines applies. ok?
 
2012-12-14 09:37:04 AM  

EbolaNYC: It's been my experience that instead of simplifying things, lawyers get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need a lawyer to involved.


Its been my experience that instead of simplifying things, electrical engineers/doctors/physicists get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need an electrical engineer/doctor/physicist to be involved. Or! The world is complicated and convoluted, and professions end up reflecting that. It would be nice if we could all do our own medicine and avoid the high costs of healthcare. Turns out medicine is hard and complicated, and thus it is a tangle of jargon, obscure facts and contradictory seeming rules. Turns out law is pretty much the same.
 
2012-12-14 09:45:13 AM  

Theaetetus: Almost all licenses based on royalties have a minimum payment clause, particularly so in cases of disreputable or questionable sellers


Source?

Theaetetus: You're comparing this to an exclusive license with a sublicense back to Capitol Records, such that Capitol would be paying her. We're comparing it to a non-exclusive distribution license, the same as if she was a music retailer.


Weren't YOU the one bringing up Michael Jackson's partial ownership of Beatles' rights? That's what I'm addressing. This issue is NOTHING like that, yet you brought up the dollar amounts from that deal.
 
2012-12-14 10:27:52 AM  

Bisu: Theaetetus: Almost all licenses based on royalties have a minimum payment clause, particularly so in cases of disreputable or questionable sellers

Source?


Minimum payments are a standard drafting clause. I'm not sure how I'd begin to prove that to you, since we don't have access to the actual license agreements. I could show you boilerplate contracts, but you'd probably say that we don't know whether Capitol uses them.

Theaetetus: You're comparing this to an exclusive license with a sublicense back to Capitol Records, such that Capitol would be paying her. We're comparing it to a non-exclusive distribution license, the same as if she was a music retailer.

Weren't YOU the one bringing up Michael Jackson's partial ownership of Beatles' rights? That's what I'm addressing. This issue is NOTHING like that, yet you brought up the dollar amounts from that deal.


Oh, sure, and there's a reasonable argument that her nonexclusive distribution right should be at a lower minimum payment level than his exclusive distribution right, but they're certainly in the same realm - it's not a case of "NOTHING like that", and it's certainly a lot closer than "I can buy this song for $1 on iTunes."
 
2012-12-14 10:29:26 AM  

Teiritzamna: EbolaNYC: It's been my experience that instead of simplifying things, lawyers get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need a lawyer to involved.

Its been my experience that instead of simplifying things, electrical engineers/doctors/physicists get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need an electrical engineer/doctor/physicist to be involved. Or! The world is complicated and convoluted, and professions end up reflecting that. It would be nice if we could all do our own medicine and avoid the high costs of healthcare. Turns out medicine is hard and complicated, and thus it is a tangle of jargon, obscure facts and contradictory seeming rules. Turns out law is pretty much the same.


You're only saying that because you're a lawyer-doctor and are protecting your own business, shill!
 
2012-12-14 10:50:41 AM  

Theaetetus: You're only saying that because you're a lawyer-doctor and are protecting your own business, shill!


Ahem. lawyer-doctor-stripper. I didn't get my Ph.D in Pole Sciences from Yale for biatches like you to leave it out.
 
2012-12-14 11:39:46 AM  

Teiritzamna: EbolaNYC: It's been my experience that instead of simplifying things, lawyers get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need a lawyer to involved.

Its been my experience that instead of simplifying things, electrical engineers/doctors/physicists get involved to invent all manner of convoluted language and procedures to ensure that to do absolutely anything, you need an electrical engineer/doctor/physicist to be involved. Or! The world is complicated and convoluted, and professions end up reflecting that. It would be nice if we could all do our own medicine and avoid the high costs of healthcare. Turns out medicine is hard and complicated, and thus it is a tangle of jargon, obscure facts and contradictory seeming rules. Turns out law is pretty much the same.


Yeah you're so right because the laws of physics and chemistry are exactly like judicial law. Complexity has nothing to do with knowing what will cure or kill and operate safely.

/rolls eyes

My work is finished here, thanks for taking the bait. You guys will argue about anything. Pavlov's dog has nothing over an irritated attorney.
 
2012-12-14 11:43:29 AM  

EbolaNYC: My work is finished here, thanks for taking the bait. You guys will argue about anything. Pavlov's dog has nothing over an irritated attorney.


Toodles, precious. Sorry you think you irritated, but if that mistaken impression helps you get through the day, I am glad I was able to help out.
 
2012-12-14 11:50:43 AM  

EbolaNYC: My work is finished here, thanks for taking the bait.


img3i.www.spoki.lv 
/you're a master baiter all right
 
2012-12-14 12:13:28 PM  

Teiritzamna: EbolaNYC: My work is finished here, thanks for taking the bait. You guys will argue about anything. Pavlov's dog has nothing over an irritated attorney.

Toodles, precious. Sorry you think you irritated, but if that mistaken impression helps you get through the day, I am glad I was able to help out.


It DOES!!!
 
2012-12-14 03:22:47 PM  
That's the opinion of a defendant who lost a lawsuit. Nothing in the article is grounds to draw any conclusions about whether or not that opinion has any merit. It doesn't.
 
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