back to article Filesharing teen gets damages reduced in ignorance claim

A 16-year-old girl has successfully argued that she was too young to understand that her copyright-infringing downloading of music was unlawful. A US court said she will only have to pay $200 per song downloaded instead of the $750 demanded in the case. A number of record labels including Maverick, Universal, Sony BMG and Warner …

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@ Charlie

>>>Pete - you seem to have missed the quite crucial fact that she was convicted, so it's clearly not a case of "legal until told otherwise".

You don't get convicted in civil suits. And you're not found guilty of anything. A judgment is handed down against you.

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Anonymous Coward

Seed ratio

If someone could prove that their seed ratio was, say, 1.0, so that for every song they downloaded one was uploaded, would that make any difference to the extent of any possible fines?

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Pirate

@David Barrett

Dave, re-attach your balls! You will not get cut off yet, just a warning letter or two hoping to deter you. Your ISP is not about to voluntarily go around reduicing it's customer base by evicting you from their network (unless you hammer the living crap out of p2p) yes they will be paying lip service to the ailing music biz with their letters, but not at the expense of their own customer numbers.

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Re: Seed ratio

Even if the seed ratio was 1000:1, it would only take three generations to give out ALL music to EVERYONE ON THE PLANET. Whether they had a computer or not.

If leechers are about 3:1 unless they only turn up for a month and then run and hide. Most of the downloads are by other people who share it out again.

Then again, you can't argue that sharing out to potentially a half-dozen people is a business-destroying act and must be punished severely, so this gets left off.

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@JonB

Aye. Disney STILL haven't paid the inheritors of JCA's estate for the theft of his stories.

And don't get me started on that thieving haven of pirates, the US, whose outright thievery is still not paid back to europeans like Chuck Dickens...

Bastards! Hang the lot of them!!!

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Black Helicopters

ok lets be honest

1) Did she PROBABLY realize she was doing something questionable? Yah.

2) Did she in fact break the law? Technically as long as she IMMEDIATELY moved the items to a NON shared folder, NO. Copyright law technically is only violated by the person allowing download, not the downloader. (nice little technicallity but it is true.)

3) Is the law completely screwed up? OH YES!!

Lets face it 200-750 dollars a SONG is ridiculous as a fine, the whole CD's dont cost a tenth of that. The music industry has gotten ridiculously greedy in these cases and needs to STFU.

Congress needs to make this law make some sense

Someone downloads a song illegally and you catch them? Fine they pay 3x the market value OF THAT SONG - IE 16 songs 15 dollar CD, they pay three bucks a song. They allow downloads? Fine they pay 4x market value PER COPY of per song downloaded (IE 15 songs downloaded an average of 30 times each, fines = 1800.00) this puts the weight of the problem where it belongs, on the people who allow downloads of massive libraries, not the people who download a few songs.

Black Chopper - cause after this the RIAA will be out to get me

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Boffin

@Sean Gray

> And just to set the record straight, Pete - it's not illegal to drink underage- it's illegal to sell alcohol to somebody underage, since the person underage is deemed to not be responsible for their actions

Errmmm... no, not quite! it's nothing to do with whether or not they are responsible for their actions, it's simply the case that Parliament hasn't made it an offence to drink alcohol whilst being under any specific age, although it is an offence in England & Wales to give alcohol to a child aged under 5. If there was an issue about under-18s not being responsible for their actions, then the following wouldn't have been enacted:

"An individual aged under 18 commits an offence if he knowingly consumes alcohol on relevant premises." [Section 150(1), Licensing Act 2003]

I'm assuming that you aren't referring to Scotland, which has its own legal system... I couldn't be arsed to look up the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976.. oh, alright then...

"A person under 18 shall not in licensed premises buy or attempt to buy alcoholic liquor nor consume alcoholic liquor in a bar." [Section 68(2) Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976]

But in Scotland, the age of criminal responsibility is 8 years of age, whereas under English law it's 10. Not particularly relevant, I just like pointing out how much more sensible Scots Law is, whenever I get the chance... :-)

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Paris Hilton

I thought it said "Flashing Teen..."

Paris , 'cos she make me go blind...

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Unhappy

@Eric Crippen

Actually OJ has paid very little of his civil debt. Under Federal law his retirement can not be touched. Some how OJ got ruled a resident of Florida. Under Florida law the homestead can not be touched. Even if it is a million acres.

Unless he comes up with a new source of income he doesn't have to pay a dime.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark

>Aye. Disney STILL haven't paid the inheritors of JCA's estate for the theft

>of his stories.

I've never heard about Disney's issues with JCA or in fact who JCA is.

Perhaps ditching the initials would help?

>And don't get me started on that thieving haven of pirates, the US, whose

>outright thievery is still not paid back to europeans like Chuck Dickens...

Dickens is out of copyright, while his works were still in copyright he and his estate did quite well out of the US.

Basically your issue is that you don't like to pay people for their work isn't it.

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@James Monnett

Making your own copy, whether it is a shared folder or a private one not is an infringement of copyright if done without authorisation. It doesn't matter if you copy somebody else's CD, download it or record it off the radio. It's an unauthorised copy. You don't need to take a copy for commercial or distribution purposes to infringe copyright.

Of course the damages would be less for making a private copy (in principle the copyright holder might only have "suffered" the loss of a sale - which they may not have made anyway). However, the legal costs (and investigation costs) would vastly outweigh that.

So be clear - taking an unauthorised copy, by whatever means is an infringement of copyright (subject to fair usage and other such caveats). There are some grey areas - such as data caching and so on with which the law has yet to get to grips, but aside from those little nuances, a little common sense tells you when it is an infringement of copyright.

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Alert

Like a Radio...

Well.. why isn't downloading just like listening to the radio?

They play music all day long, different artists, different songs, etc. If you can hear it and appreciate it, what's the difference in storing that performance somewhere on a computer?

I think the MaFIAA would prefer that radio stations didn't exist. And as soon as they can track when people are listening to a radio station, I'm sure there'll be a bill in the post.

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Thumb Down

@because they don't want to pay other people for their work.

Regardless of the merits of this case, the artists won't see a cent of it (this is well known), which makes it little more than fraud, something record companies get away with all the time (hiding genuine CD sales as promos and returns for one, then pocketing the lot). The majors however have expensive lawyers to deal with such criminal fraud cases. They don't just do this to struggling artists, check out The Beatles v EMI, perhaps look into labels, facing falling profits now attempting to strong-arm touring artists into giving up a percentage of the touring profits, something they have no business doing.

It's a thoroughly corrupt industry with much genuine financial criminal activity. But some 16 year-old downloading a few tunes is way more important eh?

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Pirate

@ AC 13th August 2008 15:51 GMT

<<Well.. why isn't downloading just like listening to the radio?

They play music all day long, different artists, different songs, etc.>>

Erm here in the UK all legit radio stations pay royaties to the artists or their Record Co..It used to be the case that in the US they did not, might have changed now. Raise the Jolly Roger me hearty's arr Jim Lad......

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Happy

What if she clames her computer was hacked?

She could easily bring to the trial computer security expert to give a testimony so her computer could be easily hacked , and used by a hacker for file sharing without her knowledge...

To prove her inosence she could even hire a hacker to install kaza on computer of the judge and the procecutor, and download same songs on their computers...

If she was realy bad girl - she could claim that music industry actualy racketing a victum of a crime.., and complain to FBI with suspicion of music industry hiring hackers to infect innocent people's comuters with file sharing softwear !!

Unfortunately for the young people - they don't have the expirience and a criminal minds as lawers do...

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Anonymous Coward

older than 16

If you don't know something , you don't know.

I completely fail to see what age has to do with not having knowledge about a particular subject.

Someone who doesn't watch or read the news (and who could blame them really) could genuinely be unaware of a whole load of laws.

As far as I have gathered in all my years of school ('drugs are illegal' 'drink driving is illegal' 'killing someone is illegal') and newsreading.... it's not actually a legal requirement to keep up to date on current events. It is also not a requirement to read a general law book every year. So..... ?

How else is one supposed to know what is and what is not legal?

Eg: What about all those people out there who don't even use the internet, yet own "extreme porn" aka a light bondage video. How on earth are they supposed to know that the law has changed in some obscure way?

Have the people being fined for over-filling their bins ever been told their bin actually HAS a 'rubbish level' they need to keep below?

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Anonymous Coward

@James.

1) The weight is still on people who download massive libraries. They will still get hit hard(er) due to the sheer amount of songs.

2) Why would they make the fine equivalent to buying it legally? It's supposed to be a punishment. And a deterrent. People would think it's okay/a small risk to download illegally since you only get charged roughly the same as a CD, except you also need to get caught first. Again, it's a deterrent, they're trying to scare people. Specifically people who only download/share a little.

Thousands of people people downloading 30 songs each, adds up to a lot. If she didn't get caught, it is likely that she would have continued illegally downloading, as most people's music collection throughout their life is larger than 37 individual songs.

They are probably more concerned about people like her than the mega-downloaders/uploaders.

Also, what makes you say she probably knew it was illegal? (I agree with you but technically there is absolutely no reason why she 'should have known' it was illegal, and there are undoubtedly many people who genuinely don't know.

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