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Woman fined $222,000 for file-sharing songs


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Woman fined $222,000 for file-sharing songs

Record firms awarded money after jury finds she violated copyright

October 05, 2007

Joshua Freed

Associated Press

DULUTH, Minn. – The recording industry won a key fight yesterday against illegal music downloading when a federal jury ordered a Minnesota woman to pay $222,000 for sharing copyrighted music online.

The jury ordered Jammie Thomas, 30, to pay the six record companies that sued her $9,250 for each of 24 songs they focused on in the case. They had alleged she shared 1,702 songs online in violation of their copyrights.

"This does send a message, I hope, that downloading and distributing our recordings is not okay," said Richard Gabriel, the lead attorney for the music companies.

In the first such lawsuit to go to trial, the record companies accused Thomas of downloading the songs without permission and offering them online through a Kazaa file-sharing account. Thomas denied wrongdoing and testified she didn't have a Kazaa account.

"She's devastated," her attorney, Brian Toder, said after the verdict. "This is a girl that lives from paycheque to paycheque, and now all of a sudden she could get a quarter of her paycheque garnished for the rest of her life."

Record companies have filed some 26,000 lawsuits since 2003 over file-sharing, which has hurt sales because it allows people to get music for free instead of paying for recordings in stores. Many other defendants have settled by paying the firms a few thousand dollars.

The Recording Industry Association of America says the lawsuits have mitigated illegal sharing, even though music file-sharing is rising overall. The group says the number of households that have used file-sharing programs to download music has risen from 6.9 million monthly in April 2003, before the lawsuits began, to 7.8 million in March 2007.

Similar lawsuits launched by the recording industry in Canada have faltered.

In 2004, the Federal Court of Canada denied a request from music labels that it compel Internet service providers to reveal alleged file sharers' names. Judge Konrad von Finckenstein cited privacy grounds, but also questioned whether file sharers were breaking Canadian copyright law at all.

The verdict was essentially upheld on appeal the next year.

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does anyone here read lefsetz letters? some good stuff on there lately... arguing with one of the industry lawyers. these people have gone beyond shooting themselves in the foot and are slowly moving up to the point where they'll be shooting themselves in the faces. it's going to be hard to pay for all these high priced lawyers a few years down the road once they've completely bankrupted themselves while at the same time becoming more and more despised to the point that people ACTIVELY start ripping them off. these labels are such a joke.

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Guest Low Roller

I believe that they have the right to protect their intellectual property. But making examples of the common man by reducing their lives to cinder is not exactly the right way to go about it.

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What a good way for the record companies to build consumer goodwill....sue them...

The record companies are only going to cause more people to share illegally. Now they have set up a system in which the are the demons in the eyes of the public and the public feels they are record companies are out to get them..

..Kind of like how invading Iraq actually created more terrorists...

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im thinking about launching a class action suit against all record companies for the time Ive wasted having to pick away at that damn cellophane wrapper that they use to hermetically seal their cds. i think my right to access a product i purchased was temporarily violated with each cd.

let's see. by my accounting i buy 50 cd's a year @ 2 minutes per frantic attempt to get to the music = 100 minutes of my life that I will never recover. because my time is valuable, that's easily worth $9,250. assume a million others are in my boat. that's $9.25 Billion total.

who's in??

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