I am a huge music fan, and also a huge advocate of technology. However, as we live in the digital age, it’s only natural that people would use the tools at their disposal to get the entertainment.
That includes downloading music – legal, such as in the case of ITunes, or illegal, such as programs like Kazaa, or Bearshare can facilitate.
I have no problem with the music industry setting controls on a product and making sure consumers pay to artists’ hard work, rights, and creativity; however, when is enough, enough and does the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) step over the line.
In this case, I believe they did (from AOL).
“The recording industry won a key fight Thursday against illegal music downloading when a federal jury found a
Jurors ordered Jammie Thomas, 30, to pay record companies $220,000 — or $9,250 for each of 24 songs for which the companies sought damages. They could have awarded damages as low as $750 per song.
Thomas and her attorney, Brian Toder, declined comment as they left the courthouse.
In the first such lawsuit to go to trial, six record companies accused Thomas, 30, of Brainerd, of offering 1,702 songs online through a Kazaa file-sharing account. Thomas had denied wrongdoing and during the trial testified that she didn't have a Kazaa account.
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 companies a few thousand dollars.”
Copyright law sets a damage range of $750 to $30,000 per infringement, or up to $150,000 if the violation was "willful." Jurors ruled that Thomas' infringement was willful, but awarded damages in a middle range.
Before the verdict, an official with an industry trade group said he was surprised it took so long for such a lawsuit to come to trial.
Illegal downloads have "become business as usual, nobody really thinks about it," said
Well, Ms. Thomas may have or not had an account or downloaded music, but my question is what is a value of a song?
Who determines that a song is worth $1,000, $10,000 or $100,000?
The Recording Industry Association of America I know is trying hard to protect the interests of their artists, as well as the record companies and distributors, but when is enough, enough?
Does it really make sense to go after every day people who may be swapping songs, or sharing them?
Is the effort to prosecute worth the reward? Even if you get one person and drain their bank account, has the practice of selectively going after consumers become a witch hunt?
Again, is the reward worth destroying someone’s life just for the enjoyment of music and entertainment?