In our book, it mentions a single, Minnesota mother of four who was found guilty of a massive file-sharing verdict. Her name is Jammie Thomas-Rasset and she was accused and found guilty of violating copyright laws for 24 songs she downloaded from Kazaa. Recently, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court NOT to review her case, which would allow the penalty of $222,000 to stand. This Wikipedia article can bring you up to speed on the past statuses of the case, as the amount of damages has rangedfrom $54,000 to the absurd amount of $1,920,000. Currently the damages are at $222,000 dollars, or $9,250 per song. The Obama administration has tried to set this case as a precedence to give the music industry more power to prosecute and strike fear into would-be copyright violators. A quote from the Arstechnica article, found here, is “The feds don’t buy the woman’s argument that the massive size of the award makes it unconstitutional.”
Using this rationale, isn’t the 8th Amendment to the Constitution null? The whole point of the 8th Amendment is to make sure the punishment matches the crime. The government is essentially saying that they understand the song costs $1.00 or $1.29, but they are going to charge you for thousands of dollars per song. Since the music industry likes to draw parallels between physical objects and the intellectual property that is a song, let’s do the same. Say you steal a pair of sunglasses from Walmart that cost $5.00. The Wal-mart doesn’t look at the cost that went into creating the sunglasses, they just go after you for the value of the sunglasses. By the music industry’s logic, you should have to pay for all the worker’s salaries that made the sunglasses, and the machinery that created the sunglasses! Now doesn’t that just sound ridiculous.
What do you guys think about this? Is it complete garbage? I think so.