woman fined 200,000$ for 24 songs

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by spuriousmonkey, Oct 5, 2007.

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  1. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    Did anyone here say that she shouldn't be punished? I think we all agree that what she did was wrong and that she deserves some punishment. We just think that

    1. Copyright violation is not theft. There's really no argument there, since the legal system is quite clear on the matter of copyright violation not being theft.

    2. The punishment was too harsh.
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  3. firdroirich A friend of The Friends Registered Senior Member

    Radiohead are a step ahead of the crowd as always. They canned their normal distribution channels and are initially releasing their new album on the net only. The record labels are the blood suckers, artists are just creators, exploiters are hardly ever creators.
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  5. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    She committed the crime 24 times! So the fine is multiplied by 24.

    If a person stole 24 cars, would you expect him to be punished for just one of those thefts? And pretend that the others hadn't happened?

    Baron Max
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  7. mountainhare Banned Banned

    Baron, that amounts to $8333.33 per song. Given that even a singles CD would only cost $20 (at most), I'd say that the punishment is disproportionate.
  8. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Well, I wouldn't say so. And obviously the court didn't either.

    Baron Max
  9. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    Of course it's disproportionate, considering some professional criminals can steal hundreds of thousands, rape, harm or even commit murder and end up serving a decade and a half or less, in jail. Ok, jail is different to a fine but still, the correlation is clear, judging by this type of sentence for this particular crime, more serious criminals should be hung drawn and quartered and their families as well.

    The whole point of this sentence was to make an example of the woman in an attempt to make others wary of doing the same. The judge seriously threw the book at her and fined her waaaay over the top, however, an industry spokesperson is not entirely convinced that she will have to pay it and wasn't even sure who would actually go after her for the money, if anyone at all.
  10. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    ...LOL! Yeah, jail time is definitely different! And, no, the "correlation" is NOT clear, not be any stretch of the imagination.

    The woman fucked up, she committed a crime, now she's having to live with the consequences of her actions. Fuck her!

    Baron Max
  11. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    Which is *exactly* why it is not theft. You are COPYING an object which belongs to someone else, not TAKING it.

    TAKING it would require that the original owner no longer had the object.

    This case was a civil proceeding brought under US Code title 17 sections 101, 106, and 501-505. The damages requested and received were based off of section 504 (c)(1), which covers *civil* proceedings with remedy clauses for actual and statutory damages. Additional judgments requested by the plaintiffs were an injunction against further action under section 502, and legal fees under section 505.

    Section 504 of the US Code title 17 (Copyright) states:
    "(c) Statutory Damages. -

    (1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work."

    Title 17, Section 506 handles the rules for Criminal Infringement (again, STILL NOT THEFT), and had any charge in this case been from this section, only (a)(1)(A) would have pertained (since the 24 songs do not total more than $1000, and they had already been made commercially available by the copyright holder) - willful infringement for the purposes of 'private financial gain'. In this case, 'private financial gain' would have consisted of the tit-for-tat trading of other copyrighted works in exchange for the 24 songs that she made available. This section references Chapt 18, section 2319 (Criminal Infringement of a Copyright) for remedy, and there is not a single reference to either of these sections in any of the court documents, available at recordingindustryvspeople:

    If criminal proceedings had been brought, then the Jury instruction problem RE:"making available=infringement" would have never come up, as in criminal willful infringement must be shown in the determination of liability. As per section 506: "evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement." The issue of willful infringement was addressed for the sake of damages only, but not for the sake of determination of liability showing yet again that the case proceedings were purely civil in nature.

    While there can be criminal proceedings associated with copyright infringement, there were none in this case. Either way, it is not 'theft' - copyright infringement is NEVER theft, by the definitions of the two terms. This is not just fancy lawyer speak - this is the legal definition of two distinct actions. The rules are different for theft, the laws are different for theft. IT IS NOT THEFT.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  12. ashpwner Registered Senior Member

    acording to baron max and read only were aqll going to jail and paying half a million each song wow.
  13. Learned Hand Registered Senior Member

    Well, here is some lawyer speak, and I'll try not to make it fancy so everyone understands it. "Conversion" is a legal word which means to exert unauthorized control over something belonging to another. It differs from theft in that a theft, in addition to exerting unauthorized control over the product, you actually deprive the owner of it's value. Thus, conversion, as lawyers would say, is a "lesser included offense of theft."

    When you shoplift from a store and are caught doing so, you commit "criminal conversion." If you get away with it and are later apprehended, it is theft. The difference between the two is deprivation of the right of the owner.

    When someone infringes on an exclusive right of intellectual property (e.g. patent, trademark, copyright), such as the right of duplication under Copyright Law, you have deprived the owner of that property right his exclusive ability to generate copies. Only the owner himself can duplicate. If you copy or duplicate it, it is a theft: a taking and a deprivation of value because the owner has rights to EXCLUSIVITY in duplication.

    In the intellectual property forum, we simply call it infringement. It is technically a theft, but I as stated before many posts ago, Congress took power away from the states under the commerce clause and enacted the Copyright Act. Because of the Supremacy Clause, a state cannot enact any statute less restrictive than what the federal government has already taken control over.

    Thus, state prosecutions for "theft of intellectual property" do not occur. In other words, the only law for recourse is the Copyright Act, or Trademark Act, etc.
  14. river-wind Valued Senior Member


    Criminal Conversion occurs as a part of theft (you cannot deprive if you have not taken), but is distinct from theft.

    I will agree that copyright infringement would include conversion, however, conversion is not theft, and neither is infringement.

    This is next to absurd. Your intent to steal is what turns conversion into theft, not your ineptitude at stealing. You are legally allowed to hold and carry items around in a store, you are not engaging in any illegal activity until your actions show a clear intent towards keeping the item without paying for it.

    you have deprived him of the RIGHT, not of the ITEM. You have not stolen the ITEM, because you did not deprive him of it.

    So in your opinion it is theft, even though federal law disagrees with you and instead places it under its own category. Deprivation does not need occur for infringement to occur. Copyright

    Copyright Infringement !="theft of intellectual property"
    edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_rights

    Side question: are you a lawyer?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  15. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Yes, that's OK with me. If you take something without permission of the owner, it's still a form of theft and makes YOU a criminal. And stealing is stealing is stealing. I place no value whatsoever on the life or money of a criminal. And I honestly do not care if you stole a music track, a box of paperclips, a car or a million bucks. You should go to jail and pay the heaviest fine/judgment that the law permits.

    One thing all you thieves don't seem to understand is that when you continue to steal things it makes the price go up for those of us that are honest and pay for what we get. And by you having to pay BIG money for it - as in this case - they don't have to raise the price on the rest of us.

    If YOU do the crime, YOU should be the one to pay for it - not me or Max. And if you think we're being too tough, the answer is very simple - don't be a criminal.
  16. river-wind Valued Senior Member


    Stealing *is* stealing *is* stealing. Copying is not stealing, it is infringement on rights. They are DIFFERENT.

    If you aren't careful, you're going to discover that your right to do normal things has gone away for no reason other than the pressure placed on legislators by those who will profit by the change.

    For instance: copying a song from a CD to an iPod is currently legal. But if the RIAA lawyers had their way, such 'interoperability' would be illegal, and you'd have to pay once for the CD and a second time for the MP3. And a third time for the ringtone. And a fourth time to play the song yourself at the local coffee house. And a fifth time to play the song to a class an an example of the evolution of music. And a sixth time for listening to the song when it's played live by the original band. And a seventh time for....

    The only reason digital music players *exist* is because of the Betamax president and that people spoke out when the DCMA was being drafted. Otherwise, "ripping" CDs to a digital format would have been made illegal by the DMCA's criminalization of any circumvention of copyright management.

    Legality is not the same as morality. Anyone who confuses the two will find themselves quickly losing their ability to exert the very moral rules that they hold dear.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  17. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    I strongly disagree. It IS considered a civil crime and that's what makes it possible to file for civil damages. Yes, I'll readily admit that I consider it to be a crime in the moral sense, the same as breach of contract - a violation of trust. But I see no reason for you and others to continually drag out this business by splitting hairs so finely. Wrong is wrong is wrong and if something is subject to EITHER criminal or civil law repercussions I see no harm in considering it a "crime" and the offender a "criminal."
  18. Learned Hand Registered Senior Member

    Yes, I am a lawyer. I have worked on Copyright cases. Federal law does not disagree with me. Works of art, design, and tradenames are not necessarily "physical property." If someone pulls a heist at a local art museum, it is theft. But to take someone's creative ideas, thoughts, inventions and methods of reproduction, is to steal that idea. Call it infringement, call it plagiarism, call it taking what the law says doesn't belong to you. It's still a theft.

    If you wrote the "Great American Novel," you, and only you, have the right to make a copy of it. Because it IS the "Great American Novel," that copy could destroy any financial profit you would ever receive from your creativity and endless hours. Thus, if someone copied it (which only you are allowed to do), he not only converted it (asserted authority and control over something belonging to you), he also carried it away with him (deprived you of your exclusive right to duplicate, or not duplicate, the work).

    Theft of intellectual property does fit MPC and most states' definition of theft. The reason, again, that it is not prosecuted as such is because "the feds" have a "racket" on it.

    Learned Hand

    PS Intent to steal does not turn conversion into theft. The scienter for each is knowingly or intentionally. Theft merely adds the component that you "deprived another of its [the object's] benefit." In the case of the shoplifter, it's the 20 bucks for that pair of jeans. If you're caught with it before you leave their property & they recover it (get the jeans back), it is only conversion. As a matter of custom, however, theft charges would also be brought.
  19. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    You should not do so because this is not the definition of the word. You are confusing terms and making a mess of things. It is fine and dandy to use "crime" interchangeably with illegality if you want to when discussing things with friends, but in a court of law, the difference between the two tends to fall within the realms of "Jail" or "No Jail" - i.e. wether or not the action was bad enough to warrant the state-sanctioned removed of your personal liberties.

    This is not something to mess around simply with because you feel it is "splitting hairs"!!! A crime is a type of illegal action; and illegal action is not always a type of crime.

    Then it should be simple enough for you to realize that your earlier statements RE: criminality were wrong, once you saw the plaintiff claims for the Capitol vs. Thomas case that I posted above.

    Plus,. I'm surprised by the inaccuracy of your attempt to correct my (admittedly inaccurate) comment about copyright term length:
    After your claims rang false to me, I double checked. The copyright length *was* 28 years plus a possible 28 year extension up until the 1976 act which bumped the total to life of the artist plus 50 years. The 1998 Sonny Bono Act was what bumped it to it's current life + 70 term.

    "(a) In General.— Copyright in a work created on or after January 1, 1978, subsists from its creation and, except as provided by the following subsections, endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years after the author’s death."

    Since you have made errors above, I will continue to treat this debate as one between US citizens, and not as one of authority between a lawyer and a non-lawyer (myself). If you can provide law text or caselaw examples that support the claims you have thusfar stated, I'll learn something new. Otherwise, I'm going to stick to the letter of the law and the supreme court cases on these issues, and adhere to the infringement!=theft line of argument.

    "Custom" is not a prosecutory indulgence. Have you heard of "attempted robbery"? A Crime involving the situation you are talking about. Failure to succeed in the intended action of theft.

    Since this is an argument not of law but of judgment, I'll simply say that from both personal experience and academic study, your assertion does not appear to be accurate to me.

    A very good op-ed from a few years back on this very topic (though with a mind towards European Law): http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,891687,00.html

    EVERYONE should read the Orwell essay as well, which can be found here:
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  20. broadandbeaver 'Now I am become Death Registered Senior Member

    Running a yellow light is a criminal offense.
    Copying a song off the net makes one a criminal.
    _______________this line represents the finely split hair___________
    Stabbing grandma in the neck makes one a criminal.
    Chopping off Uncle Festers ears and using them as a necklace makes one a criminal.

    No, no difference there at all. I see your point. Wrong is wrong.
  21. Learned Hand Registered Senior Member

    Agreed. Leave splitting hairs to lawyers whilst they get billed for their time.

    1. Yes. Criminal fines were conjecture on my part at the time, as I did not think I needed to wear my lawyer hat just to informatively be a part of this thread.

    2. Wrong yet again, as you haven't split hairs well enough. But my lawyer hat has been worn out for at least the next week or so on SciForums, and definitely on this topic. I do admit to errantly tacking on an extra 5 years post 1976 amendments on the assumed generality of registration compliance. At any rate, determining date of copyright expiration is actually highly technical, and I sure as hell don't want to get into it in a thread not even devoted to it. But here's a good place for you to start & learn:


    3. Fine by me. Theft is theft. Infringement is stealing, pilfering, depriving, and using somebody else's rights in their creation, but can't be theft.

    4. Actually, conversion is different than attempted theft (or attempted robbery, depending on your state). Conversion and theft are also different than burglary. But attempted robbery is more difficult to prove than conversion. PLEASE don't ask me why. I like true legal debates, but I'm certainly not a free law school.

  22. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    Fair Enough. Thank you for the link.
  23. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Criminal rights is not something I enjoy and I learned them years ago,
    but, if I remember correctly, which I might not, then for attempted robbery you have to prove that the intent of the suspect was to rob, i.e., take for himself fully knowing what he is doing and that he is taking the thing for himself and intends to keep for himself.
    In conversion the intent is not to rob, but the suspect just uses the thing as if it were his own. It might be deliberate and it might not. In conversion there is no intent to rob, but the fact is the process of using, whether knowing or not knowing it (for ex. accidentally fell into bag).

    Any way I am withholding from this debate, because my political view is that everyone should have the freedom to copy and share artwork if the artwork itself is not taken or destroyed in the process, it's one of the fundaments of culture - common knowledge and tradition. You are denyed your culture if you are forbidden to play a song. Thus art should belong to the people. My view also is that American capitalism is a plague to the world and a damnation to the world culture. And yes, I was a citizen of the USSR.
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