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.