File Sharing Student Fined $675K - Comments Page 1

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Posted by:

Charles R.
03 Aug 2009

The verdict is grossly unfair. Two points: Most of the legal revenue in the music industry goes to corporate coffers and not the artists, and by making the music available online the industry has essentially made its entire inventory available to anyone who chooses to take it. To elaborate the second point, once the music is digital and available, it is impossible to contain. Finally, Tennenbaum did not do this for profit, he gave the music away.

Posted by:

David M Victor
03 Aug 2009

It's not reported whether Tennenbaum claimed that lack of a profit motive was a mitigating factor. In fact, it isn't. Theft is theft no matter what you do with the proceeds. He knew the legal position but persisted which makes him morally equivalent to a driver who ignores the speed limit. The trappings may be different but the principle is identical: if you knowingly flout the law, you tacitly accept the consequences of detection.

The 'fair use' plea was facile chutzpa. As a fellow Jew I find the whole seedy matter intensely embarrassing.

Posted by:

Bassman
04 Aug 2009

Speaking as a professional musician as well as an occasional music downloader ... the question has to be asked, "If the internet did not exist, would the downloader have purchased that music or not". If not then I can not see any revenue being lost to the artists. A sale was not lost. On the other hand people who have D/L'd our music have ended up buying our CD's and attending to our shows ... more revenue for us and a larger fan-base to boot. Downloading a tune or two is not always a bad thing.

Posted by:

Sam
04 Aug 2009

This young man willfully continued to break the law, even though he was warned a significant number of times and was even offered a way to settle out of court. I have sympathy for the amount of the judgement he is required to pay, but he is the only one who is responsible for having broken the law and his attitude seems to be that he was above the law. No one is.

Posted by:

Mike
04 Aug 2009

If he had quit downloading illegally when he received the warning in 2003, and still wound up in court with $675K fine, I'd say it was unfair. Since he continued to do what he *knew* to be illegal, from the letter he received in 2003, I don't have a lot of sympathy. He has shown a willful intent to thumb his nose at the law and should pay for it.

Posted by:

Richard Hayes
04 Aug 2009

In which job or profession other than the entertainment industry can people do a job once and expect to be paid for that one job the rest of their lives in the form of royalties? They sing a song once or act in a TV series etc., for which they are paid, like any other worker, but these entertainers are not satisfied with that, they want to be paid for life. The result of this is; recording companies, TV companies etc., ask more for their product and consumers end up paying more than they should for their CDs, and DVDs. Recording companies need to be more honest, charge a reasonable price, and then file sharing companies might not be used.

Regardless of the outcome, the court was wrong to impose such a huge fine on the student but then again they can't help it, judiciaries world wide are stupid.

Posted by:

robert andersen
04 Aug 2009

personally I think these kinds of laws are pretty stupid, all they due is tie up court time that could be better used. if I want to record (download) anything, what, the gestapo is at my door? I've given lots of stuff to friends, that makes me a gangster? yea, right. I haven't noticed to many "artists" going hungry lately, has anyone else? there are far more important issues facing us than someone getting something for nothing, but then again lawyers must be paid.

Posted by:

Sue
04 Aug 2009

Seems to me the fellow is trying to make a point: prices charged for digital versions of anything are unreasonable. Yes, he is guilty of willfully flouting the law. But RIAA is culpable as well by refusing to compromise with the general public regarding how to be compensated for digital rights. Bassman has it right--if one can download something for a reasonable cost to try it out, that person may later pay full price for albums or tickets if he/she likes what he/she hears/sees. I personally don't try out new artists precisely because of the RIAA's uncompromising attitude. There must be plenty of folks like me, so, RIAA, how much are you losing by being penny wise and pound foolish?

Posted by:

Sandy
04 Aug 2009

The issue is based on the premise - was a law broken? If yes, payup or to quote a cliche, if you do the crime, do the time. The court determined a law was broken hence the penalty. In this case the amount is totally arbitrary. Personally, I believe he "got off lightly." The public needs to see when a law is broken, justice, regrdless of the punishment, is carried out. A purile case? Possibly so when considered by the many other "downloaders", but the fact remains; the law was broken.
Our society is based on laws, rules nd regulations for reasons, some of which we may not like, but they are there to protect us all. Wearing a crash helmet on a motorbike in some countries, is law. Why, because the masses should not have to pay for the damaged head of the inconsiderate few who feel they are above the law? Same same!!

Posted by:

Ben
04 Aug 2009

I have a substantial collection of old 78 and 45 records. I belong to an informal club where we routinely swap these records. So I guess the RIAA would like to sue all of us for unauthorized use of copyrighted material? Gimme a break. People have been sharing music, books, videos, clothes, recipes, cars (and who knows what else) for years. Why is sharing over the internet such a big deal? Only thing I can think of is the sharing involves millions of people rather than just a few club members or neighbors and the RIAA sees this as another source of income.

Posted by:

Morst
04 Aug 2009

These record companies are scum of the earth charging us rediculous prices to buy the stuff they put out just so they can over pay these artists. They should put a wage cap on what artists can earn and give it to the people who save lives as a job. I don't presonally file share because i don't really listen to music that much but i understand why people do it.

Posted by:

Alan
04 Aug 2009

Jeez, 30 songs... $675,000. That's fair, right? I don't think so.

Posted by:

john henry
04 Aug 2009

"Just so they can overpay these artists?" For a lot of people, the common belief is the artists aren't paid enough and the gouging on CD and DVD prices is solely for the record companies. A lot of artists don't even have a say in what songs are put on a CD, so the fact that a consumer has to pay the whole price of a CD for one good song is what drives them to the P2P's in the first place.

Posted by:

Pam
05 Aug 2009

What does the RIAA do about folks who buy used CD's and albums? What about people who check them out from their local library?

Posted by:

Ken
05 Aug 2009

To my knowledge the RIAA has yet to pay a penny to any "injured" artist. They are just reinforcing the perception of the greedy music labels.

P2P exchange of music is providing free advertising for many of these bands. I have over 50,000 songs that I have downloaded through P2P. They are not losing any money from me because I certainly wouldn't pay at any price. If I had to pay I wouldn't download. Period. The increased exposure that P2P gives these groups helps them sell more concert tickets, T-shirts, hats, posters, bongs, or whatever.

The Greatfull Dead would set aside an area for people to record their concerts. They didn't mind as long as you weren't selling those tapes. I really don't think that people taping and sharing their music hurt them one bit!

Posted by:

Ed
05 Aug 2009

I think that the RIAA and therefore the artists that they claim to represent (to a lesser degree) are jerks. Further the extensions of the copyright act in the recent past are completely unreasonable and do nothing to promote reasonable compensation for creating goods that should fall into the public domain within a fair amount of time.

However, none of that makes it fair or legal to steal something. When somebody wants to charge you too much for something, the just response is to not purchase it rather than to steal it. I say we boycott RIAA artists and only acquire music from artists who deal fairly with us, their fans. These types of artists tend to be smaller and some even self published so you know that even if you pay less for their music, more is going to the actual artist. Some even give a portion of their music away for free. Of course even some bigger acts like Radiohead and NIN are getting into the business of charging less or letting people decide what to pay.

If enough people stop buying music from RIAA artists (a trend already happening) and we have the moral high ground because we are not stealing, we should be able to collectively come to some agreement with the artists which is fair to everyone. Ideally, of course, this would involve the RIAA going away for good.

Posted by:

Julia
05 Aug 2009

I think sharing should be free and agree with the comment that it benefits artists by advertising their music.
The only people that should be punished are those profitting by selling home burned cd's made from shared music.
I have no problem with artists and authors earning royalties for each commercial cd or book or video sold. Unlike actors they are often NOT paid for the job up front and need to earn their living from legitimate sales.
Well done Joel for fighting back, and he obviously has the situation under control so he doesn't need any pity!

Posted by:

Keith
05 Aug 2009

Well, for one thing, copyrights are the law. For another; If I write a book, I want to sell copies of that book to make my living. If you buy one copy then run that book through a Xerox machine and start giving it away, I make nothing other than the 1 copy you bought.
If I patent a new battery design, anyone who uses that design to make a battery for your cell phone pays me royalties. (didn't know that?)
And is 89 cents really too much to pay for a tune? Come on...
When I was a kid you paid a buck for a 45 rpm single. That was 40 years ago. So now you don't get the "record" you just get the music. You also don't get the scratches and skips.
Copyrights are there so that creative people can make a living. The royalties go mainly to the artists, not the record companies.
And why is it that many people find 89 cents too much to pay for a download, but would gladly spend $75 or more for a concert ticket?

Posted by:

Paulette
05 Aug 2009

Tenenbaum is a thief, pure and simple. Downloading for your own use is one thing, but sending illegally downloaded music to scads of other people removes that many potential legitimate buyers. His whole attitude stinks, too. He's a cocky brat who thinks he's above the law. He knew what he was doing was against the law and continued to do it. I hope the verdict and award stand. Filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying up will haunt him for years to come. And who's going to want to hire this jerk?

Posted by:

Ralph
05 Aug 2009

All these comments make valid points and I totally agree that this fine is way out of proportion. I guess it's just scare tactics to stop the rest of the world from downloading in this way.

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