AfterDawn: Tech news

Judge lowers fines for suspected file sharer

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 12 Aug 2008 14:13 User comments (9)

Judge lowers fines for suspected file sharer US District Judge Xavier Rodriguez has lowered the fines that were originally imposed on 16-year-old Whitney Harper by the RIAA when she was accused of illegally downloading files from the Fasttrack network used by P2P clients such as iMesh and Kazaa.
The fines were lowered from $750 per suspected song to $200 after Harper explained she did not know she was accessing copyrighted material and instead thought that she was streaming the music, somewhat like Internet Radio.

The ruling is interesting because the RIAA can charge up to $30,000 USD per every "pirated" song but usually charges around $750.

To give a background on the case, in January of last year Warner Brothers, Sony BMG, Maverick, UMG, and Arista Records sued Steve Harper after MediaSentry said that someone on Harper's computer was downloading copyrighted songs from Fasttrack. Harper had of course not downloaded any such music, but his daughter Whitney had. By December she had been added as a defendant to the suit.

She is now accused of downloading 39 copyrighted songs through Kazaa. The original MediaSentry investigation found that Whitney was sharing 544 audio files through Kazaa but after a Windows reformat, the files were effectively deleted.

Whitney now claims that she used Kazaa to listen to songs but thought the program was a streaming program like Imeem. She was unaware she was downloading the tracks or sharing them.

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9 user comments

112.8.2008 14:22

It's a shame that the governments are only here to protect these fecktards, at least there are a few judges that have yet to be brought off. pushes 50,000 fine for online copyright infringement

The government has launched a consultation on plans to increase the maximum fine for traders in copyright-infringing material from 5,000 to 50,000 as part of a plan to protect "creative Britain".

The change would bring the financial punishment for online copyright infringement for commercial purposes in line with the penalty for physical infringement.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is proposing the massive increase as part of its response to the Treasury's wide-ranging Gowers Review of intellectual property, which reported in 2006. Submissions to the review from music, film, software and other rights holders urged for an increase of deterrents against large scale commercial infringement.

Former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers subsequently wrote: "Crimes committed in the online and physical world should not be subject to different sentences. Increasing the penalties for online infringement will therefore make the law more coherent."

Alongside tougher financial penalties, Gowers recommended a maximum ten year prison sentence in the most serious cases of commercial gain from copyright infringement.

The IPO's consultation paper is here (pdf). The consultation closes at the end of October.
What's the sentence for: manslaughter, rape, knife crime, robbery, burglary, ect,

Now what's the sentence for: tax evasion(even down to red diesel use), fraud, and ip infringement?

Does the punishment fit the crime?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Aug 2008 @ 14:29

212.8.2008 14:28

I'm going to buy a gun and hold up shops and restaurants.. maximum sentence (that you will actually serve) for armed robbery? 6 years... shoot a few people and you might end up doing 7-9.

Plant the biggest bomb anybody has ever seen in Britain and tell all the media it is because of all the surveillance and spying by the overbearing state that thousands have just died.. they won't ever catch you because they will spin it into "see.. we told you about terrorists and piracy"

Anyway.. interesting case.. now they can have you on "suspicion".. no actual proof there.. this judge should have thrown it out of court as a blatant invention without proof... or does the law not require any hard evidence any more?? Jackboot time!!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Aug 2008 @ 14:36

312.8.2008 15:07

Oh boy. Playing the 'stupid' 'I'm a frakkin' idiot who should never ever be allowed to make decisions for others' card could actually work here. It shouldn't though.

412.8.2008 23:02

You know, it just seems that 99% of the people who are busted, be it for warez, mp3s, cp or always stems from the use of Imesh, Kazaa or Limewire...easy pickings for LEA/RIAA/MPAA. So don't use any of these services. Usenet, encrypted Torrents, Tor and maybe emule are the safest bets.

And always keep your boot drive encrypted with Drivecrypt (having PGP containers to keep your stuff in doesnt hurt either.)

512.8.2008 23:35

Is it just me or are these lawsuits going after morons that don't know anything about computers.

Point in case..

This young lady got away with sharing files and she stated that she thought it was internet radio.

Wow talk about dumb...

613.8.2008 11:17

This young lady got away with sharing files and she stated that she thought it was internet radio.

Wow talk about dumb...

Agree. Why is stupidity such a popular excuse?

713.8.2008 11:22

Originally posted by Mr Garrison:
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people

813.8.2008 11:32

I can only agree with you Jan.

918.8.2008 9:44

What? Only $200 per song for a 16 year old? That's only $7800!! Judges these days.. Think of all the revenue the multi-billion dollar companies have lost by her downloading the songs instead of buying them.. ($80 AUSD based on the latest cd's with ~11 songs a cd) Note to self: don't use kazza.. Rapidshare works so much better anyway : D

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