A New Low

The recording industry’s inquisitorial pursuit of downloaders has reached new heights – or depths.  Map Boon onto the interests represented by the RIAA and Katy onto the interests represented by the accused in this sequence from Animal House:

Boon:  Unbelievable. A new low. I’m so ashamed.  Almost sorry l missed it.
Katy:  What did you do, human sacrifice?
Boon: No, just some harmless fun.

In other words, I just picked this up at CNN.com:

“A  federal jury Thursday found a 32-year-old Minnesota woman guilty of illegally downloading music from the Internet and fined her $80,000 each — a total of $1.9 million — for 24 songs.”

That sum represents statutory damages under copyright law, based on a finding of willful infringement.  Fred von Lohmann at EFF’s Deep Links blog summarizes the Constitutional issues surrounding the proportionaliy of the offense and the remedy — and the lack thereof.

The merits, however, are only part of the story.  CNN’s URL indexes the story under the heading CRIME (http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/06/18/minnesota.music.download.fine/index.html). 

Perhaps American frat house humor isn’t the best metaphor for this pairing of outcome and rhetoric.  The case may be truly Pythonesque.  Jammie Thomas-Rasset didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

6 thoughts on “A New Low

  1. hey, what goes around …. let’s all stop buying that company’s music. i bet that will be a bigger pinch to their company than the win…..hmmm. power to the people!

  2. I agree if everybody would stop buying and downloading music it would put them out of business. If I’m just renting the music then I want to be able to return it for a refund when I’m done with it. I have bought music for 30 yrs. I don’t think I should have to repurchase what I have to update my vinyl to cd.

  3. I have been reading several blogs and discussions on this verdict and I needed to write something immediately. For me, as a foreigner it seems amazing that you people of the USA are so nice, calm, patient and I must unfortunately say “stupid”. You are being ripped off by banks and other broken companies (car industry, for example) and at a same time you let something like this to see a light of day! Even mentioned jury that delivered verdict, …, what they think of big bankers and CEOs that destroyed massive wealth and still get bonuses. On a contrary they issue this outrageous verdict which I hope will make even more harm to always-richer RIAA and music industry. They constantly claim that they are losing money while becoming richer and richer.
    You people of the USA,…, on a contrary, are being poorer and poorer. But at the end of a day, you are filling posts for members of jury, and you are giving even more money to corrupt music industry every day. It is your call…

  4. She was found to have infringed on the studios distribution rights. That’s UPLOADING not downloading. CNN blows.

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