Woman illegally downloads 24 songs, fined to tune of $1.9 million
While this title (as copied from CNN) is misleading, it’s still part of a case that has really upset me. Here’s the article: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/06/18/minnesota.music.download.fine/index.html
Now, as I’ve learned, she apparently wasn’t really fined for downloading 24 songs, but actually because she was “distributing” MP3s from her computer. She was sued because other people downloaded what she had. She left her computer available for people to access, and that apparently constituted a crime. I love a comment I saw (on the above mentioned page) regarding that. Someone said, “If I leave my house unlocked and I get burgled, who’s the criminal? Me?”
Now I know that there’s this big thing over pirating music. I know that the artists need to get paid for what they do. However, these fines are insane, and I think the whole process is complete bull. The amount this woman is being fined is more than most people could ever pay. And the thing is, they fine her, and make a big stink, but no one says anything about the big companies reaming us for the cost of a CD or download.
I think a large part of pirating happens because the retail cost of the media is too much. Why on earth would I pay $1.00 – $3.00 per download of a song, when that equates to the same amount or more than buying the whole CD? Downloads are an infinite resource with no manufacturing costs. The price should be far lower for a download of any media. It should also be more accessible. Some countries have been doing something incredibly smart: they’re lowering the cost of downloads, and putting download kiosks at malls, train stations, and other areas where people congregate, thus making it easy and convenient for people to legally acquire the files they want, wherever they are. They should try that here in the US. I bet kids would be flocking to them in droves with their laptops and ipods in tow.
And what gets me too, is the fact that not only are the prices too high on media downloads, you also have to deal with “protection” that is an annoyance, and can cause more expense. I have heard about file protection that will not allow you to move a file from the item you download it to, which means if you want it on more than one device, you have to pay for it again! I’ve also heard of protection that causes a file to degrade and disappear if you move it too many times. Lovely. I’m sorry, but if I pay for a file, I want to be able to do what I want with it, when I want to do it.
But back to the main story, what do they think they are going to accomplish by fining someone this insane and absurd amount? What’s the likelihood they’re actually going to ever see that amount? Do they think it’s going to scare people away from downloading and sharing? Nope, it’s just going to make people find smarter ways to do it, and more ways to not get caught. Pirating will not end until files are affordable and easy to get for all consumers. You’re probably going to always have people trying to get around paying at all, but with lower prices and easier access, a lot of people would probably be more than happy to go legit.
Sources: Elianne Friend , Woman Fined…, CNN