Monday, October 8, 2007

File sharing verdict causes uproar

For those who missed it, last week 30 year old Jammie Thomas lost a court battle against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) concerning her alleged downloading of illegal music. It was ruled that Thomas would have to pay a $220,000 settlement to several big name record labels.

Today Thomas announced that she intends to appeal the court’s ruling.

I couldn’t agree more with her decision to appeal. This case is one of the lamest attempts by the RIAA to curb filing sharing on the internet. No matter what they do, it’s going to happen. An appeal by Thomas will probably only strengthen people’s opposition to the organization. Several comments left on stories about the situation prove my point.

What I find disgusting about the lawsuit is the fact that she is being forced to pay $220,000. The RIAA sued because of 24 illegally downloaded songs found on her computer. That works out to almost a $9,200 fine per song. How the RIAA can demand that much per song is beyond me. There is no way to prove that they lost that much profit just because Thomas downloaded those songs. The RIAA’s own stats (PDF) show that they still brought in over $11 million from music sales in 2006. The law suits sound like a great way for them to get rich quick. Too bad the RIAA has angered enough people to drive them to boycott it. I bet they lose more money from this than the file sharing.

Did I mention Thomas makes $36,000 a year? There’s no way she’ll ever be able to pay that amount back and still be able to live comfortably.

Though my story seems to imply otherwise, I’m actually against file sharing. Thankfully, GVSU uses Ruckus, so I can get music for free, legally. I don’t have a problem with small amounts like what Thomas is convicted of because those amounts do no noticeable damage to the RIAA’s finances. Large file sharers, however, should be stopped, or at least slowed. They could put a dent a into the music industry, and, as a result, the consumers could see higher prices on legit music.

If you interested in reading more about Jammie’s situation, visit her page at

Sorry for the time in between posts. It’s mid-term week at GVSU and both Nick and I are really busy with studying and writing papers. Expect more stuff following this week.


Katy said...

Wait a minute......
I think I need to hop on this ruckus bandwagon. I do not have a quarter million. Son of a biscut.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ruckus is pretty awesome.....they have a ridiculous amount of songs on there....

Maggie said...

I agree with you on this one. I am an older person and I like my music as much as anyone else. The RIAA and the Australian equivalent take a lot of money from music sales. They are all being very greedy.

They should stop and realize that people who download music will eventually purchase the CD, but not whilst we have to pay over $30 per album, or even over $20 per album.

They are at fault because of their greed. It is terrible that they won the case. I hope that Jammie wins the next round.