Big Music Smiles

In this article here Big Music is smiling as a Minnesota jury ordered that Jammie Thomas, a 30-year-old single mother is responsible to pay $9,250 X 24 songs ($222,000) that she uploaded to Kazaa (a file-sharing program). There are a reported 26,000 similar trials to take place in the future.

What is the point in requiring an exorbitant amount of money from a single mother, who clearly cannot pay the fine, and force her and her children into bankruptcy and/or welfare? Is it really that important that you make a poster child of a young mother in such a blatant manner? Will this really deter file-sharing on a large scale as Big Music is hoping, or will it actually spurn file-sharing to reorganize and find safer ways to push more stuff? Humans are funny in the way that they love to push the envelope to see how far they can go or what they can get away with.

Big Music is hoping that sanctions on individuals like this will move the supply of illegal music sharing back, but I do not think that it will. As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply.


Dr. Tufte said...

In reading this 3 weeks later on, I'm not sure that Big Music is so dumb.

No one is talking about this anymore, and she still owes $200K. My guess is that she may end up having to pay it - which does create a credible threat.

Matthew said...

Dr. Tufte said that Big Music may not have been so dumb because the woman still owes $200K. This is a credible threat, but I wish it could have been bigger to have more effect. I had never heard of this lawsuit until now. It's too bad they couldn't have received more publicity because if only a few people know about it, it's not such a credible threat – it's only a threat to those who know. Maybe they should put some of that $200K into advertising to publicize the lawsuit. Then again, maybe that would be bad business for them.

William said...

Dr. Tufte,
I think that Big Music needs to be careful of the bad press they could receive from this. This amount of money seems exorbitant. I think that the women should have to pay some amount of money for her illegal behavior, but $222,000 seems a little extreme. Especially when you compare all the other horrible crimes that are committed in which they pay much smaller amounts.

Trinity said...

Dr. Tufte is totally right. This lady should pay her fine. Any argument that she has kids and is single is purely anecdotal blather. People can't expect to do things that are illegal then complain about their circumstances when they get busted. I think it's great she's being fined. Don't break the law if you don't want to pay the fines. I think this will set some example for illegal downloaders. I also think the falling prices of legal downloads will aid in the war against piracy.

Dr. Tufte said...

Yeah ... I'm not really a supporter of Big Music ... but I think they're on the right track here.