Recording Industry Succeeds In Ruining a Kid's Life Over 31 Songs: Just or Unjust?

Fergie 2012/08/24 22:29:38
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In the early days of Napster, Kazaa and Limewire, I downloaded songs "illegally" (who remembers the Grey album?) almost every day. There was a period of at least a year during which I had no idea it was illegal, in fact the only risk I was concerned about was accidentally downloading a virus. Joel Tenenbaum also used these same programs I did and has now been prosecuted for illegally distributing 31 songs. His punishment: $675,000 and a character assassination.

Supposedly, he could have been hit with a $4.65 million dollar penalty, but the jury was lenient. Was prosecuting Joel for his crime just? Or are they merely making an example out of him? Seems like there were plenty of users with thousands of songs that they could have gone after instead.

GIZMODO.COM reports:
Yesterday marked the end of Joel Tenenbaum's court battle with the RIAA over 31 songs he illegally distributed on Kazaa. A federal judge denied his latest appeal, and now he's on the hook for $675,000. That's nearly $22,000 per song, plus some wholesale character assassination that has now been sealed with judge's rubber stamp.


Read More: http://gizmodo.com/5937556/recording-industry-succ...

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  • TisSheilah 2012/08/24 23:20:50
    The RIAA is making enemies behaving like this. They're acting like bullies and cutting off their own two feet in the process.

    How many of us have bought albums after stumbling on new tunes on YouTube that we never knew existed? I do, all the time! People posting their stuff helps them make sales. For many, file sharing leads to purchases because you can't get the same sound quality online as you do with a CD.

    I could go on and on about the RIAA and their partners abusing the DMCA by claiming every mp3 on the planet belongs to them (which is my personal beef as they've made my distribution of free hypnosis sessions a living nightmare).

    If the RIAA business model sucks, then they ought to consider changing it in a way that works for everyone.

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  • thisiswar 2012/09/16 15:55:40
    On two accounts:
    1. If someone is going to sue, it should be the artists who were ultimately robbed of money, not the record label. A record executive stands to lose a lot less because he gets more of the profit from the actual sale of the CD/song than the artists themselves get. So, unless the money they charge this poor kid goes to the artists of the songs he pirated, I don't think it's just. Really, I don't think theres a single argument that will support why a record company worth billions of dollars needs to go after anyone. So you're slightly LESS rich, big deal? You're still ridiculously wealthy, go fly your private jet into an ocean.

    2. I've known people to pirate thousands and thousands of songs. Plenty of people pirate movies, software... Is some guy who stole less than a couple CD's worth of music really the right person to make an example of? Wouldn't it drive their point home more if they charged someone who stole a small library of music and is more like the typical pirate? He probably didn't even download one full album, just 31 random songs that he liked. People that do that typically gather the songs they know they want, and leave it alone. HE most likely wouldn't have used Kazaa to fill his entire itunes. If they are trying to make a point, they picked the wrong dude. All they accomplished was making themselves look like bullies .
  • chicku 2012/09/08 07:21:17
    a kid is a kid
  • disclaimer 2012/09/07 05:58:09
  • Cuthbert Allsgood 2012/09/06 15:39:32
    Cuthbert Allsgood
    While I believe it is important to support the artists you like by purchasing their music, and I feel that there should be some sort of punishment for selling others music without permission, this goes way to far - and I'm not even sure if he sold the music. The article just states the songs were distributed, it was a common occurance back then to upload music to file sharing sites, but I wasn't aware that one could get paid for it. (I never used file sharing sites myself, preferring to buy CD's and support artists)
  • Anonymouse ~superdoge~ 2012/09/06 15:13:40
    Anonymouse ~superdoge~
    Who cares? Everyone illegally downloads music, it doesn't matter - artists nowadays make all their money from going on tour, and Apple keeps most of the money from music sales anyway... That's ridiculous.
  • No One 2012/09/06 05:13:25
    No One
    Well distributing a song is different from just downloading it. They usually don't go after those who buy a song illegaly but instead they go after those who sale the song illegaly as those are the people getting credit for it. What you did is not comparable to what he did.
  • AvK 2012/09/06 01:24:05
    It's important to support your favorite artists and buy the songs, but that's going too far.
  • La 2012/08/30 06:19:13
    Until everyone is treated the same, don't cherry-pick people to punish. Everyone illegally downloads.
  • mileylover 2012/08/30 00:18:09
  • Snow White's Poison 2012/08/29 01:49:51
    Snow White's Poison
    He did download them illegally and then sell them...he's got to learn from his mistakes.
  • Ben 2012/08/27 18:36:34
  • Alejandro Llorente 2012/08/27 17:54:05
    Alejandro Llorente
    C'mon, It's just stupid even think about it, all force of the legal system moving towards ONE PERSON breaking copyright laws, I believe maybe 80% of american population might be guilty of the same charges, reminds me of an old poll I made some time ago, here it is:
  • IOWA 2012/08/27 17:18:07
    How did the RIAA act when cassette tapes were unleashed upon the public? Remember recording songs from the radio? How about copying your friends' cassettes? Mr. Tenenbaum didn't do anything more than anyone else has done.
  • Scully+... IOWA 2012/08/29 04:34:33
    Similar in kind, but huge difference in scope. When you copy to cassette, you make one copy at a time in 'real time'(for all practical purposes; true, there were/are machines that made two to four, high-speed copies at once, but those machines were few and far betweenand not normally in the hands of your average citizen).

    Mr. Tenenbaum, by uploading digital copies of the songs to a sharing website, immediately made them available to millions of people who each had the ability to make multiple copies in less time than it takes to play even one song.

    That and the fact that he tried to negotiate with the industry is what got him into so much trouble. Other people who got caught paid the initial settlement amount offered/demanded by the industry and promised to stop.
  • Ozymandias 2012/08/27 16:51:24
  • SW 2012/08/27 16:50:27
  • cowboy 2012/08/27 16:41:02
    Should not have sold them as CDs. A lot of people down load for personal use, but without trying to make a profit. That is what got him into trouble. Stealing to try to make a profit.
  • SW cowboy 2012/08/27 16:52:00
    Wait they sold them as CDs? I thought they just distributed them on Kazza which is just a peer to peer download thing like Napster...
  • cowboy SW 2012/08/27 17:13:04
    No, I think this kid burned the songs to CDs and then sold them. That is why he got busted so hard and made an example of. If he was just file sharing, though still illegal, they would have looked the other way. Most of these high profile cases about music downloads, the defendant was selling the music and not just using it for personal use.
  • gaylehelen 2012/08/27 15:06:02
    It is unjust, but the problem comes in when he copied them onto CD's and sold them. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one doing it back then. Thousands of college students were doing it. He's being singled out because it's convenient.
    Unfortunate, very unfortunate. I, too, downloaded some songs, but never sold them. I used it mostly to determine what CD's I wanted to buy.
  • Michaelene 2012/08/27 14:47:21
    $675k for 31 songs that the actual artists will never see the money is outrageous.

    I don't use any of those sites because I buy the music, I like having the cd or album in my hands along with the art and the other information that somes along with the music. I love my music library just as much as my book library.
  • Tori 2012/08/27 14:22:50
    Absolutely. And he wasn't just downloading these songs for his own use (bad enough) he was distributing them. He's lucky he didn't receive a stiffer penalty than he did.
  • FatherL... Tori 2012/08/27 16:25:36 (edited)
    Why would he deserve a stiffer penalty? Yes, what he did was a crime. He stole their property and sold it. But you dont think the punishment he recieved was severe enough?
  • Tori FatherL... 2012/08/27 16:35:12
    Read the article. The penalty was somewhat on the lenient side.
  • FatherL... Tori 2012/08/27 16:44:21
    I read the article... I know it says he could have recieved a 4 million dollar fine... doesnt mean its right though. I dont think that is a fair punishment that fits the crime. I doubt he distributed 4 million, or even 675,000, dollars worth of music.
  • Tori FatherL... 2012/08/27 16:57:31
    I have no sympathy for him at all. He was stealing from everyone in the recording industry who contributes to a recording, not just the artist. He was warned that what he was doing was illegal. What did he think would happen?
  • FatherL... Tori 2012/08/27 17:04:14
    Okay, but one of the key concepts of the justice system in our Constitutional republic is punishment that fits the crime. He should be fined only the amount that was stolen. If he sold, lets say, 30 CDs, the fine should equal the retail cost of those 30 CDs.
  • Tori FatherL... 2012/08/27 17:19:26
    That's absurd. Punishment is also supposed to be a deterrent and that would hardly be a deterrent. That's like saying if someone holds up a convenience store and only gets away with $500, they should only have to pay a $500 fine.

    This sort of piracy has really damaged the recording industry. It's far more difficult for artists to get signed to a label because the labels can't afford to take the kinds of risks they used to be able to take. The money that labels spend fighting this sort of piracy gets passed on to every legitimate consumer of music. I resent it. I want it to stop. As far as I'm concerned, every single one of these punk-asses should receive the maximum penalty.
  • FatherL... Tori 2012/08/27 17:38:15
    Someone getting fined 500 for stealing 500 sounds pretty fair given the fact that major corporations get lesser punishments for larger crimes, such as Wells Fargo who was fined something like 2 million dollars for assisting drug cartels in trafficking narcotics and laundering 350 billion in drug money.
  • Tori FatherL... 2012/08/27 19:25:39
    Oh, well, that's a whole other issue. Don't get me started.
  • James 2012/08/27 13:50:21
    The justice system should be fair and equitable. There's a reason we don't perform public executions for minor infractions anymore....
  • wgossett99 2012/08/27 13:23:20
    It's called piracy for a reason. He was stealing as was the writer of this poll.

    Yes, the punishment is severe but he did commit a crime.

    And, Fergie. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. You downloaded pirated music ILLEGALLY - without the quotes.
  • SW wgossett99 2012/08/27 17:02:05
    Then why not just shoot him? This is like charging you 10 thousand dollars for every mile you've ever driven above the speed limit. It's ridiculously excessive and is going to end up costing the industry more than they can possibly collect from this kid.
  • Scully+... SW 2012/08/29 05:11:21
    The initial settlement amount offered by the industry was $3,500. Mr. Tenenbaum chose to take it to court and, when he initially lost, appealed... more than once. That is probably what drove the dollar amount so high.

    I believe he got in way over his head, and if he received any legal advice it wasn't very good.
  • wgossett99 SW 2012/08/30 15:04:31
    Read Scully+'s response below.
  • Professor Wizard 2012/08/27 13:13:48
    Professor Wizard
    Unjust because NONE of the artists of the songs will see a DIME of this money! It will all go to the greedy record industry executives - except for the percentages that go to the lawyers and RIAA.

    This would have been just, if the artists of the songs got at least 90% of the fine - as they were the ones getting their music stolen.
  • FatherL... Profess... 2012/08/27 16:27:07
    That is the musicans fault for signing with the record label.
  • ģhøṡτ øώl 2012/08/27 12:43:10
    ģhøṡτ øώl
    Sure. Just help yourself to whatever you want. Intellectual DISHONESTY. Period. Thieves and Liars all.
  • Edbert 2012/08/27 11:56:16
    Interesting how the primary function of government these days (regardless of party) seems to be protecting and maximizing the profits of major corporations at the expense of the little guy and small businesses.
  • Franklin 2012/08/27 11:39:59
    More than fair ! What this man did steals all the value of an artists work and saying that a song that costs as much as $400K to produce and distribute is only worth 22K when it is stolen and shared for FREE is rather a bargain !
    Dp all you you who said unfair feel that it is OK for me to steal all the value of your work ? Would it be OK for me to steal your pay check ? That is what you kids are saying -
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