Friday, October 5, 2007
Penalties of Stealing vs. Infringing: UPDATED
With the very first verdict in a RIAA filesharing case in (two and half years later), the real-world comparison from the previous article can be updated (the absolute minimum and absolute maximum are the penalties under US Code for alternatively stealing a DVD set of a TV show with 22 episodes and downloading the same 22 episodes over the Internet):
| ||Stealing ||Infringing |
1 year jail
1 year jail
opposing lawyer fees and costs
|Real World |
|Winona Ryder*: |
$1,000 court cost
3 years probation
|Jammie Thomas**: |
Winona Ryder was convicted for stealing over $5000 worth of merchandise (www.courttv.com/trials/ryder/); this case was not decided under US (federal) Code -- nevertheless, it is rather telling.
** http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/ 2007/10/ riaa-wins- in-first-ever- jury-trial.html
Jammie Thomas was found guilty of infringing 24 music files (worth $23.76); since merely making available was the bar used in this case, it was not necessary that she actually distributed any copies (http://arstechnica.com/ news.ars/post/ 20071004- debate-over-making- available-jury-instruction- as-capitol-v-thomas-wraps-up.html , http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9791764-38.html?tag=nefd.blgs).
Not very reassuring: steal $5000 worth of stuff, pay back what you stole plus $3,700 and be on probation for 3 years; download 24 songs, pay $222,000 and go bankrupt.