Friday, June 19, 2009

Our injustice system

I'm so cranky today. Here's another story that's pissing me off. Some 32 year old woman is fined almost two million dollars for downloading 24 songs off the internets. Leaving aside whether downloading music is right or wrong, what pisses me off is they single this person out for something that happens millions of times a day on the internets and throw the book at her. On behalf of some corporation.

But if you're a Wall St bankster who wilfully defrauded millions of people of their investment money, pocketing billions in personal profits, not only do you not get charged with any crime, the government gives you billions of tax dollars to keep your corporation afloat. That's just so wrong.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]


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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

You won't hear any corporate types calling for tort reform about this one, I'm sure. Someone suing a hospital for removing the wrong kidney? That's a whole other story.

Whether they're within their rights or not, they certainly get no sympathy from me.

4:07:00 PM  
Anonymous sandbun said...

I agree with you, it's outrageous, and I certainly have no sympathy for the corporations and especially not the bankers, but it doesn't help the case to be dishonest about what she was punished for doing. It wasn't the downloading that she got nailed for as much as it was the uploading. The reason the amount was so much was because she allowed so many other people to copy the music from her computer. That's where the damages really added up. Also they didn't single her out so much as she refused to make a deal outside of court, lost, then appealed, and now lost again, all the while pretending she was innocent.

We need copyright reform.

6:20:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

They're idiots Fogg. I believe there's studies that show online sharing actually increased revenue. A lot of groups give away some of their work as a promotional tool. But you're right, no politician is going to be calling for a crackdown on frivolous corporate lawsuits.

6:21:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

The post I linked to didn't give the details sandbun. I don't even know how to download a song much less upload but that doesn't sound so different from what we used to do before music came from computers. In the old days, one person would buy an album and then make cassettes of the best songs for their friends. They were doing fine with that. Made plenty of profits. They just want more.

They just prosecute now because they can track the users. Although I agree we need new copyright definitions to accomodate the computer age. Seems to me unless she was making money by selling the uploads, she's not $2 mil guilty of anything.

6:25:00 PM  
Anonymous sandbun said...

Yeah, I noticed cnn was scant on details. Not sure if they think their users are too dumb to understand the difference between downloading and making available for downloading to other, or if they just prefer wording it this way to inflame readers passion. I'm from MN (land of 10,000 lakes and 1 senator) so I've been following it a little.
gives more details, although the lawyer they talked to agreed with the RIAA which I don't. You can't say every download is a lost sale, you can't try to justify this punishment because she actually had 1,700 songs available when the court was only allowed to consider the 24, and you certainly should point out a difference between a physical asset like food in a grocery story and intellectual property, not equate the two.

That said this women tried to pawn off the blame to her kids and her ex-fiancé. She wasn't fighting against the real problems in the copyright system, just thought that she was above the law. There are so many better cases pointing out the mafia like tactics the RIAA uses. I wouldn't get overly worked up in this particular person's behalf.

As far as you pointing out that online downloading actually can help them, well you detailed earlier in the day how the WaPo proved how many companies don't act logically. If I've read right, a lot of the same complaints about downloading also we used to try to block the VCR being sold. Imagine how much that would've hurt the industry in the long run. I don't get it any more than you do.

If you really want something to get worked up about, how about that idiotic Iran House Resolution? Pres Obama finally does something I agree with in staying the hell away from making any strong statements about what is happening in Iran, and the House needs to get involved. The Repubs did it for their normal scum bag reasons - try to make Obama look bad even when he's right and it's the wrong thing to do, but what were the Dems thinking? The do the wrong thing - give media fodder to the hardliners in Iran - and help the Repubs paint Obama as someone unwilling to help freedom loving people. I mean, when the dem unanimously approve doing something like this that is so easy to spin, don't the attack ads just right themselves? Going somewhat back to my point in our previous discussion, I continue to be unimpressed with the ethical or intellectual abilities of our elected representatives.

7:19:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I hadn't followed the story at all sandbun. I had no idea she had 1,700 songs. That is pushing the limits and makes her much less sympathetic, although my basic analogy about the difference between corporate crime and personal crime still holds.

As for the that lamebrained resolution, I just saw that. What a bunch of fucking idiots. I'm more than a little worked up about that. But the count I saw was 405 to 1 so apparently a lot of them didn't vote at all. Nonetheless, any Dem that voted for that atrocity needs to get kicked in the ass.

8:36:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The case seems excessive when you realize that millions of people were doing the same thing. The most draconian of punishments will fail to deter any transgression when the odds are so much in favor of never getting caught.

But you bring up something interesting about corporate short sightedness. I wonder how many people are aware of how the recording industry fought Radio. Why should people buy records when yada,yada,yada. But of course radio broadcasting caused a huge boost in record sales. Same thing happened with video recording and the movie industry. They tried to have a special fee (paid to them) attached to every VCR that was sold because it was going to ruin the movie industry. Of course it gave them an enormous new outlet for movies and spurred more people to watch movies and gave a vastly longer profitability to each one.

Of course downloaded music is not of the same quality as a CD, just as those cassettes we used to make
weren't as good as the LP's we got them from, but they are greedier today than ever before - and more powerful.

If business schools taught the history of technology, perhaps we wouldn't have so many idiots coming out of them.

9:11:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It always comes down to pure greed Fogg, as far as I can see. I think that's the only thing they must teach in business school anymore.

9:31:00 AM  

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