Friday, June 19, 2009

$1.92 Million Verdict for Sharing 24 Songs

From the Associated Press - A jury in Minnesota ruled that a Brainard woman, Jammie Thomas-Russert must pay $1.92 million for sharing 24 songs on Kazaa. That's $80,000 per song. Get this, it was her second trial. An earlier federal jury said she only had to pay $224,000 - a bargain, really.

The RIAA, realizing that this kind of case can cut both ways from a public relations standpoint, mentioned that she had the opportunity to settle for $3,000 to $5,000. Isn't that nice? (We have had people call in who have been sued or have been targeted for suit in similar download cases. They generally get similar offers. They freak out when the realization hits that they might actually have to pay that much.)

What cracks me up is that you can listen to just about any song you want on Youtube, and the record companies don't do squat about Youtube. Why? Because Google owns Youtube, and Google has more money than you-know-who. Secondly, Youtube-Google hides behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which says that a forum provider can hide behind ignorance as long as they take things down when asked by the copyright owner. Youtube is worth more than the entire US auto industry right now, and it exists now on the model of charging nothing for content that it doesn't pay for. A technical Businessweek article on the economics of Youtube is linked here.

Anyway, I'm sure this video of the opening theme to the movie Fargo was posted with the owner's permission. After all, Youtube requires it. Go buy or rent the movie or soundtrack, so they don't get mad at me for embedding the link.

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