Mutt Media | The Daily Bone 6.19.09 So 5 minutes ago…MN woman found guilty in music downloading case vs. music industry

Here’s today’s “So 5-minutes-ago” news

Here’s something cool. Today’s blog comes to you from somewhere over the east coast as my daughter and I fly to Florida for a couple of days. In the air using and it only cost me $2.49.

I’m starting a running series I’ll call “So 5-Minutes Ago” – which, pretty literally means that this particular topic or web address was the most popular at the time I wrote this piece.

This morning when I began this (at around 10am) this was the top story, according to website A federal jury ruled against a Minnesota woman named Jammie Thomas-Rasset in our country’s first music file-sharing case to ever go to trial. Others have all been settled where the accused pays a fine to the extent that it causes some moderate to severe discomfort; just enough to ensure they won’t make the mistake again of sharing music files that they do not have the rights to.

Thomas-Rasset was accused by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and various subsidiaries of the major record labels including Sony, EMI, Universal & Warner. She had, unlike others before her previously accused of similar “crimes” – elected to go to trial and take on this Goliath-like opponent in court as opposed to agreeing to pay a monetary settlement to make the lawsuit go away. Others have paid on average approx $3500 to settle their suits and move on, but Thomas-Rasset took her chances at trial.

Kazaa logo

She was accused of sharing 1700 music files on a service called Kazaa where, for just $19.98 per month you can download as many songs as you like and play them on up to 3 PCs for the life of your subscription. One catch – you cannot load this music onto an IPOD or other personal listening device.

Kazaa didn’t always charge for this service. Just a few short years ago, Kazaa and others like it was a free file-sharing platform where users uploaded files to share with other users. This is when the alleged “crime” took place. Needless to say, the record companies didn’t like this, and I’m sure the musicians were torn between loving the fact that there music was in wide circulation and being really bummed that they weren’t getting their due royalties.

In all fairness, internet-based laws have been slow to catch up with the technology that drives the need for them and so the debates will continue to rage on.

The ruling in the case? The suit only addressed the sharing of 24 songs and awarded the record companies $80,000 per song – or $1.92 million. A little footnote – this was the second time Thomas-Rasset went to trial on this. Initially heard by a judge in 2007, she lost that time too and was ordered to pay only $222,000. A new trial was ordered when the original judge decided he’d made a mistake in giving the jury instructions.

If you’d like to visit the “hottest” url on the web (as of this writing) and get the full story, click here.

Off for a weekend full of family 🙂

Happy Father’s Day and welcome to all of our new Mutt Media fans!

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