Meet Sarah: She Paid $3,000 For Downloading Spice Girls Songs

Sarah Barg is a sophomore at University of Nebraska-Lincoln who used Ares to download 381 songs, most of them 80s ballads and “Spice Girls tunes.” When she got a letter threatening legal action, she thought it was a scam. Turns out, it wasn’t. Sarah’s parents had to fork over $3,000 to keep Sarah from being sued by the RIAA.

“Technically, I’m guilty. I just think it’s ridiculous, the way they’re going about it,” Barg said. “We have to find a way to adjust our legal policy to take into account this new technology, and so far, they’re not doing a very good job.”

Just for comparison’s sake, in Nebraska the maximum fine for a first time DUI is $500. And those are really illegal.—MEGHANN MARCO

Music piracy crackdown nets college kids [Yahoo! News]
(Photo: AP)

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  1. hubris says:

    I hate the RIAA and believe they’re woefully behind the times, and focusing on the wrong thing as being the cause for declining sales. I believe they’re a dying beast and in their death throes they are flailing wildly trying to reinforce their dying position.

    At the same time, *she illegally downloaded music*! There is no gray area here. Even if she didn’t know it was wrong, ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse. So stop whining cause you got caught, pay what you need to, and stop downloading illegally. Even if you don’t agree with a law, you still have to abide by it, or at least run the risk of getting caught.

  2. froggy says:

    “Technically, I’m guilty.” then STFU and pay the man. And next time, buy your crap on itunes or the 2000 other sites, rather then steal the songs.

    Sorry, no excuse for doing something illegal, knowing it’s illegal, and complaining when you get caught. Or, at least, do it on someone else’s wireless.

  3. froggy says:

    @omerhi: “Even if she didn’t know it was wrong,” come on… who doesn’t know that downloading music without paying is illegal?

  4. timmus says:

    Lord Toronaga says: If one is forced into a costly settlement over Spice Girls songs, one must commit seppuku to preserve family’s honor.

  5. EtherealStrife says:

    MAFIAA strikes again. They’re getting good at the extortion business if they’re up to almost $8 a song. Can’t get that much off iTunes or in the stores, and this is pure profit.

    The industry realizes attitudes need changing, and money from the settlements is reinvested in educational programs schools and other groups can use to spread the word that song sharing can have severe consequences.

    Some of the programs are tailored to start with third-graders.

    And now they’re brainwashing the kids?

    Here’s hoping for a few more fatal strokes.

  6. levenhopper says:

    “And those really are illegal”.

    So copyright laws don’t exist anymore?? It’d be something if she was ripping CDs she had bought…but downloading someone else’s music…I mean…come on.

  7. Ikki says:

    Ares has been a hotbed to download music from lately; more likely than not, you’ll get sued if you use it.

    I stopped using it last year due to that and moved on to Soulseek/BearShare. Not that it matters anyway, I live in Canada.

  8. strathmeyer says:

    @Froggy: Yeah, I hate it when people who are affected by laws speak out against them. I mean, it’s so unfair to give them a voice!

    Do you realize that women used to march in the streets with signs demanding that they be allowed to vote? At the time they were criticized for hurting the suffrage movement. Their radical stance was driving off the men who might have been sympathetic to the women’s right to vote if only those women had known to stay in their proper place.

  9. tinychicken says:

    Ack! At the very least she should be fined for horrid taste.

  10. Emrikol says:

    Well, at least she’s cute ;)

  11. emax4 says:

    Since she’s a college student, shouldn’t she get a discounted fine? They have reduced prices for academic versions of software. :) I wonder what the fine would be for those who aren’t college students.

    Ahh, just more living proof of why the RIAA won the Worst Company of the Year award from The Consumerist.

  12. B says:

    Is there a way we can charge anybody who bought a spice girls album $3000 dollars too? Also anybody who bought the Fergie album.

  13. Uh oh... Cleveland says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of people defending the RIAA here. I certainly don’t condone downloading, but their tactics are just nuts.

    How about this? Instead of buying the upcoming Sanjaya CD, write and tell him that you’d love to buy his CD but won’t until the RIAA stops these stupid practices. That’ll show ‘em. Cheaper too.

  14. Jozef says:

    I’m just wondering where all that money goes. Is it redistributed back to the RIAA members, or is it kept by the RIAA? If the latter is true than we have a self-feeding monster that doesn’t rely on music studios anymore for its operations (other than having the permission to exploit their copyrights), and which uses its income to grow its operations. In such a case the RIAA will just get more aggressive over time as it needs to sustain itself and grow even further. I guess I should start saving up for the inevitable settlement offer for purchasing used CDs…

  15. B says:

    @Jozef: The money is used to pay the lawyers fees in order to finance more lawsuits.

  16. EtherealStrife says:

    @Jozef:
    As I quoted in my previous post, at least part of it is used to brainwash the children.

  17. costanza007 says:

    they should change the law because what i want to do isn’t legal!

  18. Smoking Pope says:

    True: The RIAA is nuts, and suing your customers instead of embracing and taking advantage of the technology is idiotic.

    True: Downloading copyrighted music for free is illegal, and like it or not if you get caught, you will be forced to pay whether you knew it was a crime or not.

    True: People who download Spice Girls songs (legally or otherwise) deserve whatever punishment is handed out to them.

    True: A Pay Per View event I’d pay for would be the RIAA vs. the Spice Girls with pool cues.

  19. MercuryPDX says:

    Meet Sarah: She Paid $3,000 For Downloading Spice Girls Songs. Sarah is a bonehead.

    Any “illegal music donwloader” worth their salt knows that “private” or “Closed” file sharing networks are the way to go.

    Maybe a coffee date with one of the “geeks” in the computer lab would have gotten her a safer alternative.

  20. Techguy1138 says:

    I’m fairly certain that downloading songs is not illegal but instead unlawful. Hence she paid the RIAA some cash instead of getting jail/prison time.

    If it is illegal then this needs to be stopped. Can you just imaging every musician who played stayway to heaven being jailed for not paying royalities?

  21. Techguy1138 says:

    @Smoking Pope: To their credit, the spice girls did breakup after a fashion thus we are no longer subjected to new music. The RIAA refuses to quit promoting their music.

    Theirs is the far worse crime.

  22. smith186 says:

    @strathmeyer: Please don’t tell me you’re putting illegal music downloads in the same category as the 19th amendment. Are you sure you didn’t mean to play the Hitler card?

    “We have to find a way to adjust our legal policy to take into account this new technology …”

    Translation: “I’m talking about the tray, the pennies for everybody. We’re basically doing the same thing only we take it from a much bigger tray and we do it a couple of million times.”

  23. jamier says:

    Can’t people just, you know, ignore these RIAA threats? How do they work, exactly? Do they have to send a high-priced lawyer out to Nebraska if the student doesn’t settle? It seems like it would awfully hard to prove their case.

  24. plim says:

    @levenhopper: they’re trying to make an analogy about the punishment fitting the crime. at this rate, if the RIAA had its way, murder will be 25 to life and illegal music downloading will be a slow, tortured death (perhaps by playing $3,000 worth of spice girls =), your first born child, with a monetary fee equal to the GNP of France.

  25. oneTee says:

    “Ahh, just more living proof of why the RIAA won the Worst Company of the Year award from The Consumerist.”

    how did the MTA not win that award?

    I feel no sympathy for this girl. You broke the law and you’re complaining because you got caught? Grow up.

  26. tinychicken says:

    P.S. If my parents had to fork over $3000 on my behalf, I wouldn’t be nearly so smiley.

  27. 5h17h34d says:

    Spice girls? She should have got the electric chair.

  28. savigny says:

    Just to clear something up, under the NET Act, downloading is only criminal if it either:

    (1) is for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
    (2) involves reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000.

    (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/17-18red.htm)

    Anything less than that is still illegal, but it’s not a “crime,” nor is it “theft” or “stealing,” and you can’t go to jail for it. It’s civil copyright infringement, nothing more, nothing less. That means the RIAA can sue you in civil court, but the police won’t get involved.

    Also, whenever you see those MPAA-sponsored movie trailers that claim that downloading is “stealing” or a “crime,” that’s not right either unless one of the above criteria is met. Contrary to what they say, it’s just not the same thing, legally, as stealing a handbag or breaking into a car or even stealing a physical CD from a record shop.

  29. moorie679 says:

    the comparison is utterly retarded considering that the DUI is committed once and punished 500$, she has committed the illegal act 381 times punished 381 times….. so the actual comparison should be 8 bucks to 500 bucks…..

    I am not saying RIAA is right all I am saying she did something illegal got caught now she is bitching about it… Dont download songs, dont even buy CD’s and eventually record companies will come around….

  30. RumorsDaily says:

    The real question is why on Earth is the punishment for DUI so low! Jeez, if there’s anything that I want to see people seriously punished for it’s DUI.

  31. faust1200 says:

    This is the scare tactic the RIAA uses on marginal cases where they don’t really want to spend the money to prosecute. Most college students who have parents with money would rather fork it over and sleep better at night. THAT is why they are targeting college students.

  32. cgmaetc says:

    I’ve never understood how P2P/filesharing is illegal. Before the internet, people made mix tapes to give to friends or let people borrow their CDs to tape. Now, P2P simply allows folks to share music from other folks collections. How is this any different?

    If she was downloading those songs from a music library site, like yahoo or napster, where people normally pay and she somehow hacked into the system to avoid payment, then yes, that’s obviously illegal. But places like Ares simply let the user borrow songs from another person for personal use.

  33. Smoking Pope says:

    @cgmaetc: AFAIK, lending your CD to someone is not against the law. That person taping your CD is, but that’s almost impossible to enforce.

    Hey, apropos of nothing, here’s a little sex ed quiz:

    Q: Is it possible to get pregnant from anal sex?

    A: Where do you think RIAA lawyers come from?

  34. Slytherin says:

    @Froggy: I happily and proudly download songs every single day. Shit, I haven’t bought a CD since 1999! :oD

  35. savigny says:

    @cgmaetc: To clarify further, if you’re just lending someone a CD, you’re not making a copy of it so no copyright laws are broken.

    Making a copy of a song for a mix tape is not legal, nor was it legal in the pre-internet age unless you were protected by the Fair Use exception (OK to copy if for educational, parody, etc. reasons). But back in the pre-internet age, the NET Act was not yet passed (the pre-NET Act definition of criminal infringement was more lenient) and casual copying is generally unenforceable anyway.

  36. oldhat says:

    I say we let the free market decide, not the courts.

    Yes, you heard me. The magical hand of the free market, like we do with so many other industries.

    If an artist can’t figure out how to make a living and at the same time be super popular, get a another job. If that means live shows and/or not being disgustingly rich, so be it.

    If they manage to get loyal fans who buy their work, t-shirts, cd’s, whatever, they will be successful. This MIGHT mean they have to make better music, and cater to their fans.

    If they cannot sell $15 cd’s, then maybe the market will force then to sell at $5 or less. Other distribution channels like iTunes might make the convenience worth the cost.

    The only time the courts should get involved is to stop COMPANIES from profiting from artists. Let the fans share the music, but when somebody organizes it and starts to profit from it, it needs to be stopped.

    You squares defending the RIAA make me sick. I wish I could mark you so that 20 years from now the kids could know who to blame.

  37. AcidReign says:

    …..These days, if you’re going to download copyrighted stuff, you need a laptop that doesn’t have your name as the machine name, and you don’t check your email at the coffee shop or library or neighbor’s wifi that you download the stuff from. And certainly don’t use your trackable home or school connection!

    …..And yeah, it’s essentially shoplifting. I’d rather buy the CD. If any music stores stay in business around me. FYE is the last one near me still open. I just last week blew $125 in there for mother’s day…

  38. notebook says:

    Talk about going crazy. Fining her 8$ for EACH illegal song downloaded?
    It’s as if the RIAA is trying to suck as many people down with it as possible. And I agree with what people have said. This is why sales are going down.

    And… THIRD GRADERS.
    Crosses the line for me.

  39. smarty says:

    Hate RIAA, but this is such old news. She and others getting sued by the RIAA have no excuse (and they need to learn how to cover their tracks if they want to get free music).

  40. Imhotep says:

    Can’t we all just share a song?

    For a great way to circumvent the RIAA and the risk of getting caught infringing copyrights… There’s this marvelous service called LALA. Heard of it? You can trade your CD’s which you legally bought with others, for only $1 per trade. Gotta love it.
    http://www.lala.com
    DEATH TO THE RIAA!!!

  41. Libelous1 says:

    I find it highly hypcritical that the editors/owners of Lickhacker to be seemingly critical of the RIAA. I’ll bet if someone started copying verbatim the Lifehacker site content and posted it on their own website with their own advertisers (with no money going to Lifehacker), then Lifehacker would see the issues in a completely different light. The same copyright law that makes stealing copyrighted music illegal also makes stealing someone’s web content illegal. There is absolutely nothing different between music and web content, in principal or otherwise.

  42. strathmeyer says:

    No, the way you keep using the word stealing, it’s clear that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  43. EtherealStrife says:

    @Libelous1: Wow I never realized all those illegal downloaders were making money off the music they copied! Holy crap!

    The primary issue with what happened to this girl is that the RIAA is extorting money. They are threatening legal expenses and fees to anyone they deem in violation of copyright laws. Essentially, you’re guilty until proven innocent. Just because this one girl is guilty does not mean they are all guilty. If I received one of these letters when I was her age and I was completely innocent I’d still probably pay up, because students can’t afford to take quarters/semesters off to appear in court (nonrefundable $2500 tuition every quarter–12 weeks–where I went), and cannot afford to adequately defend themselves against the charges. Guilt or innocence means nothing. They know that it’s cheaper for students to settle than prove their innocence, so the RIAA keeps doing this with little or no evidence.

    Further, many of the college campuses are cooperating with these scum by providing them with the student information. If the RIAA were a law enforcement agency then this would be perfectly acceptable (with the proper court orders). But the reason the RIAA and MPAA are able to get the IP addresses in the first place is through entrapment and other methods not available to LE. They’re playing both LE agency and private entity. It’s utter bullshit and needs to be squashed before it gets any further out of hand.

  44. Triteon says:

    Anyone else got:
    Sue me if you want, if you really, really want! Yeah, sue me if you want if you really, really want”
    going through their heads? I hate discussions like this…unfortunately the RIAA is in the right here. We can disagree with the law all we want, but it’s still the law. I hate that I was pulled over the other night because my license plate lamp was burned out, but it was in violation of city ordinance and I got a ticket for it. I didn’t know the bulb was out, but it was and I w=got caught. Sarah got caught; my thing just wasn’t as embarrassing.

    @B: The money is used to pay the lawyers fees in order to finance more lawsuits. More likely than not you’re correct.

    @Smoking Pope: True: The RIAA is nuts, and suing your customers instead of embracing and taking advantage of the technology is idiotic.
    True: Downloading copyrighted music for free is illegal, and like it or not if you get caught, you will be forced to pay whether you knew it was a crime or not.
    Well stated on both points.

    @savigny: Just to clear something up, under the NET Act, downloading is only criminal if it either:
    (1) is for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain
    I believe it would be interpreted as financial gain to not pay for something you receive.

    @cgmaetc: I’ve never understood how P2P/filesharing is illegal. Before the internet, people made mix tapes to give to friends or let people borrow their CDs to tape. Now, P2P simply allows folks to share music from other folks collections. How is this any different? Volume, volume, volume. And pressure from sliding record sales (partially due to A&R folks dumbing down our music, but that’s another discussion!)

  45. That 3000 dollars is used to fund the marketing department of the RIAA. They have a product to sell and that product is an idea. The idea is that entertainment without payment is against the law and punishable.

    Using the money received through suits such as these enables the marketing department to further educate the public on what is right and what is wrong seeing that perfectly sane adults still cannot figure out the difference.

    This education campaign will be more effective if it targets our children in school because these same parents apparently cannot teach their children the difference between right and wrong. Therefore the music corporation — benevolent souls that they are — will take it upon themselves to educate the public.

    Get ‘em while they are young, right?

    This includes paying dozens of people to post supportive statements across the blogosphere so those who sit on the fence can see that there are others who believe that these acts are “illegal” and the rest will follow.

    Did I miss anything?

  46. asherchang says:

    @Imhotep: that looks cool

  47. AcidReign says:

    @Triteon: I got a taillight ticket several years ago, on Friday night of a New Year’s weekend. The City of Mountain Brook would void my ticket if I showed up at city hall within 72 hours with working taillights.

    …..A Google search, a 20 mile trip to the local Toyota dealer who actually sells parts, a $200 module smaller than a cigarette lighter, and I got out of the ticket. And what I found out about Camry electrical systems made me worry….

  48. mac-phisto says:

    someone should go patent the method that the riaa uses to obtain ip addresses & then sue their ass for patent infringement.

  49. xenth says:

    @Libelous1: I’ll bet if someone started copying verbatim the Lifehacker site content and posted it on their own website with their own advertisers (with no money going to Lifehacker), then Lifehacker would see the issues in a completely different light.

    See, that is profiting from another’s work and completely different. Downloading music is more like listening to the radio. There are stations which are ad free and not on Sirius/XM.

  50. Triteon says:

    @AcidReign: Dude– it was all of $3 and 1/2 hour of time for me to fix…yet I still have a court date! (They’ll probably dismiss; unfortunately I kinda know the system at this point.:)
    For the record, I had NPR on the radio– no Emily Bunton!

  51. Chris says:

    I really don’t see how anyone can justify downloading music without paying. Really, it’s freaking stealing.

    Oldhat says a bunch of stuff about “let the market decide,” but there IS a market. Record company/artist says, “the price of my CD is $15.” A bunch of dinks decide that “$15 is too much,” but rather than DO WITHOUT THE CD, they steal a copy and rationalize their theft by saying “it cost too much, anyway.”

    And before the flames start, I’m a copyright lawyer, but not for the RIAA. (Hell, I represented a guy who was sued by the RIAA – guess what, he paid the $3k, because HE DID THE COPYING. It’s not really “extortion” if you’re guilty and the law provides for a bigger penalty.)

    I represent artists, authors, and other creative people, who can only make a living if copyright laws protect them from ripoff artists. Don’t like it? Think we should have a different system? Write your congressman or move to China – but please knock off the tired anti-corporate rationalizations. The only thing more stale than an anti-RIAA rant is a NORML primer on the wonders of hemp fiber.

  52. savigny says:

    @Triteon: I think the idea of having a “financial gain” requirement necessitates a give and take of some kind, not just lost profits for record companies. If “financial gain” meant gain from the work itself, copying of any kind would be criminal, and I don’t think that’s the intent of the law, nor the way courts have interpreted it.

    @Chris: You’re a lawyer – how can you say it’s stealing? It’s not – it’s copyright infringement. One is usually a civil violation and one is criminal. The reason is because traditional property and intellectual property are very different. While we have an absolute right to ownership of physical property, intellectual property is a bundle of rights granting the artist a temporary monopoly to profit from the work. The idea is that there is a balance to be struck between the right of the artist to profit from the work and the common good that results from having the work in the public domain. But of course you know this.

    Not stealing!

  53. savigny says:

    I’m way off topic here now, but I just have to say that the best way to argue against what the RIAA is doing is not to deny that copyright infringement is illegal (it is) or that the RIAA is not within their rights to pursue illegal activity via legal means (they are).

    The best argument I have heard supporting music downloading is more global: that copyright law is fundamentally broken because Hollywood media rights owners have paid big bucks to stretch the definition of “limited time” in the Constitution to absurdity. Copyright used to last 28 years from the date of publication. Now it’s 70 years after the artist’s death or a whopping 95 years from the date of publication for works made for hire (most corporate-owned copyrights). This doesn’t make downloading music legal, but you’re breaking a law that’s broken anyway – it’s civil disobedience. By paying record companies $3K settlements, you’re financing enforcement of a law that has been strengthened and stretched to favor copyright holders at the expense of the public. That seems wrong to me.

  54. ivieso says:

    I always thought sharing was caring. =(

  55. veal says:

    Yo, oldhat!

    That’s a mighty unfair argument you make – you dump it all on musicians? Like WE’RE the ones jacking up the CD prices?

    Most musicians aren’t “disgustingly rich”! Most of us live like paupers our whole lives for the chance for people to hear something we’ve created. Some of us don’t perform music that translates well live, some of us don’t play live at all. Some of us don’t make the kind of music that lends itself to t-shirt sales, either. Despite the “American Idol”ing of America, some of us don’t see music as (simply) a popularity contest. It sounds like you want to take away our right to keep our own music – music we created ourselves – and to make money on it through CD sales.

    I don’t support the RIAA either, and I’d never price my own CD at $15… but if I DID, I’d expect to either make no money or to sell a few CDs for $15 each, here and there; not to make NOTHING while someone else gave away my music, and then to have someone like you crowing over me “You should have sold t-shirts too!”

    “Let the free market decide” has ruined things for all of us in so very many ways. The free market is corrupt.

  56. Let the fans share the music, but when somebody organizes it and starts to profit from it, it needs to be stopped.

    @oldhat: Why? What’s the difference between a band making a profit from t-shirts and making a profit from the sales of the music? Is it only wrong when companies do it?

    Your statement makes it sound like there’s something inherently wrong with making money off of the music itself.

  57. elf6c says:

    “Civil disobedience” are your serious? You’re equating lazy college students intentionally downloading music they don’t feel they need to pay for with the techniques of the Civil Rights movement? That pretty much inclines me not to take anything you say seriously. Ignoring laws which are inconvenient to your personal moral shortcomings is NOT civil disobedience, it’s simple rationalization around violating the law to take something for free which isn’t yours. It’s unfair in my opinion that Adobe Photoshop CS3 costs so much, so I will get it from a torrent- I’m just like Rosa Parks!!

    Oy.

    Additionally, before you attempt to correct someone please know what you are talking about- copyright infringement can be a crime. At the level the misguided college student student, not likely, but at a higher level copyright infringement can be a crime. Thanks for paying though.

  58. Jezedude says:

    RIAA is the last remaining cylon.

  59. crayonshinobi says:

    @costanza007: Actually, that’s the idea of a representative government that we are supposed to have in the US. If it was put to a vote by the people, I bet you’d find the DMCA repealed and the copyright laws rolled back to their original 14 year limit. Plus, online sharing would no doubt be legal as well, like it is in Canada.

    However, as a civilized nation, our politicians take the enormous burden upon themselves of receiving millions of dollars from media lobbyists (read cartels like RIAA/MPAA) to ensure that the people’s best interests are not represented.

  60. jaewon223 says:

    I bet China is looking for a way to sell mp3′s for $0.02 a song. But too bad it will be laced with melamine. Damn you China and your awesomely cheap but disturbingly poor quality products!

  61. savigny says:

    @elf6c: You’re putting words into my mouth. Downloading music or making an unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work is obviously not on the same scale as Rosa Parks or Gandhi, nor would I ever argue that it is. But civil disobedience can be both great and small. Here we have an unjust law being wilfully violated by millions of people very day – I say those people are morally, if not legally, justified in breaking that law because the law itself is broken.

    You’re also right that copyright infringement can be a crime. But most casual copyright infringers (music downloaders) are not criminals because they haven’t met the test set forth in Sec. 506(a) of the Net Act. What’s more, the RIAA and MPAA are waging a campaign of misinformation attempting to equate civil copyright infringement with criminal activity. Every time someone says copyright infringement is “stealing,” it shows.

  62. oldhat says:

    Eh, RIAA can abuse and twist the courts all they want. They can lobby for more draconian laws all day.

    At the end of the day, they will not be able to stop file sharing through fear. Period.

    They could compete with it, though. How do you compete with free?

    Do I need to spell everything out? They can compete, and eventually they will….they have to, because this is unsustainable.

    And again, for the record, all you whiners “dude they’re stealing, don’t you care?” LOL. Somebody stop the crooks eating grapes in the grocery store, think of the starving farmers!

    Matter of fact: fuck all of you! You won’t be able to stop the sharing and any bullshit you do will be circumvented. So stop being a dick and distribute your products appropriately priced.

    That might mean the biz is not as insanely profitable as it used to be. To that I say good riddance to bad business.

  63. Libelous1 says:

    Allowing free distribution of copyrighted music destroys the owners right to recover money for his time and effort. Why would anyone buy a copyrighted track if they could download it for free? The copyright laws reflect an understanding that some extremely valuable works require a great deal of effort and expense to create, but can be quickly and inexpensively copied. So, for example, Lifehacker puts a lot of time and money into making a great website. The incentive for it to do so is to recover money from its advertisers. If someone copied Lifehackers comments and posted it elsewhere without the advertisements, it would cut into the number of hits Lifehacker would receive, and therefore affect Lifehacker’s ability to recover for its efforts. Lifehacer’s producers would have to do something else for gainful employment, and the Lifehacker would cease to exist, or its quality would be substantially diminshed.
    The same is true for RIAA. They simply want to make money off of their investments.
    If copyright law is abolished, there will be dramatically reduced incentive to produce high quality recordings. The result will be that the best music recordings we have will be nothing but YouTube quaility.
    Copying another’s copyrighted work without permission is “stealing,” pure and simple.
    If you think that music prices are too high, don’t buy. If enough people agree with you, sales will go down and music producers will be forced to lower their prices.

  64. Joafu says:

    Who gets the money in these ‘copyright infringments’? Do the artists? If the RIAA is getting all the money, than I am going to side with Sarah, and not just because she’s cute and has excellent taste in music. One would think that the artists would rather get the exposure for concerts etc than $.20 per song download; unless of course the artists have broken up and are married to soccer buffs, they won’t even care. These lawsuits are just redonkulous if the RIAA doesn’t give any of this settlement money back to the artists. I’m really curious, does anyone know? Did I miss it somewhere?

  65. oldhat says:

    @Libelous1: “If copyright law is abolished, there will be dramatically reduced incentive to produce high quality recordings. “

    That’s bullshit. So stinky that it overwhelms whatever other valid points you may have.

    Sure, without the lure of obscene profits, the human race will just cease to exist. Nobody will invent. People won’t paint. Nobody will read or write. Children will become retarded, adults will get dementia, the sky will fall.

    If only a big red “I” could be tattoo’d to your forehead, for later generations to point at and laugh.

    The human race do not live to profit. Those that do are evil. The rest of us will live, love, create and evolve no matter what you say or do, no matter what we are paid.

    Look around. See for yourself.

  66. savigny says:

    Oh, one more thing on whether copyright infringement is “stealing.” The Supreme Court said in 1984 that:

    It has been suggested that “consumptive uses of copyrights by home VTR users are commercial even if the consumer does not sell the home-made tape because the consumer will not buy tapes separately sold by the copyrightholder.” [Citation omitted] Furthermore, “[t]he error in excusing such theft as noncommercial,” we are told, “can be seen by simple analogy: jewel theft is not converted into a noncommercial veniality if stolen jewels are simply worn rather than sold.” The premise and the analogy are indeed simple, but they add nothing to the argument. The use to which stolen jewelry is put is quite irrelevant in determining whether depriving its true owner of his present possessory interest in it is venial; because of the nature of the item and the true owner’s interests in physical possession of it, the law finds the taking objectionable even if the thief does not use the item at all. Theft of a particular item of personal property of course may have commercial significance, for the thief deprives the owner of his right to sell that particular item to any individual. Time-shifting does not even remotely entail comparable consequences to the copyright owner. Moreover, the time-shifter no more steals the program by watching it once than does the live viewer, and the live viewer is no more likely to buy prerecorded videotapes than is the time-shifter. Indeed, no live viewer would buy a prerecorded videotape if he did not have access to a VTR.

    Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 n.33 (1984)

  67. cgmaetc says:

    This is all about the record labels and their tight wallets.

    The RIAA is believed to operate on behalf of the artist at the behest of the record companies. It seems that labels were losing so much money from pirating, they couldn’t figure out how to pay their artists and still reap a profit. They told the artists that file sharing was the reason they were penniless. That’s why the platinum-selling musicians are starving, going broke, and filing bankrupcy left and right! It has nothing to do with the label paying the artist 10 cents or less per album and presenting marketing, promotion and video expenses as “budgets” when they are in fact loans. Why do you think artists make more money on tour then from album sales? Because they have more control over the cash flow, rather than profits being funneled the label.

    It seems that if the artists’ really wanted a fair shake, they’d go after the people who cut the checks rather than their fans.

  68. Libelous1 says:

    Oldhat: Copyright law is founded upon the presumption that preventing unauthorized copying will create more opportunities to benefit financially, thereby create more incentive to create such works. Whether you agree with that proposition or not, that is the basis for the law. For that matter, that is largely the basis of any intellectual property protection: copyright, patent, and trademark. Economically successful countries have strong intellectual property laws. Countries hoping to gain economic success are in the process of adopting and enforcing similar laws. You are kidding yourself if you think every artist will just start working for free, at the same level that they are currently working. Greed is a near universal human trait, which certainly provides the basic foundation for RIAA’s positions, but also provides precisely the same foundation for people such as Sarah — and apparently you — who support the idea that people should not be required to pay for someone else’s labor (a position that I suspect applies only when somebody else’s labor, rather than your own, is being taken for free).

  69. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    I’d rather mail a check directly to the artist so he/she can cash the whole damn thing and keep everything to him/herself. The RIAA is nothing but a ripoff agency designed to do nothing but extort from both consumers AND artists. Well this consumer refuses to get extorted from anyone for any reason. God I wish I was the president of Switzerland…..then I could freeze RIAA assets until they stop harassing their consumers.

  70. oldhat says:

    @Libelous1: IP law is not the reason some countries are more successful than others. In fact, the only way to for poor countries to succeed is to break the IP of the rich.

    Successful people drink booze. Are you saying drinking booze makes them successful?

    No, EVERY artist will not work for free, nor will they take a cut in income. Good riddance. If they can’t find a way to evolve their game according to the new world, then get a new job.

    And not everyone wants/hopes/needs to be rich. If everyone gave that idea up, life would be much better. Aka, the root of all evil, greed. Stop being greedy, stupid, save the world.

  71. ptrix says:

    The best way to win against the RIAA, is to force them to try to PROVE A NEGATIVE.

    So instead of having them try to prove that you DID download the song, you turn it around to put them in a position where they’ll have to prove that your downloaded backup is somehow in violation of your right to have a backup, and at the same time, try to get them to prove that you didn’t have a “licence” for the original in the first place.

    Of course, if the only acceptable “licence” is in the form of the original disc, and that disc was destroyed somehow, leaving you with only the backup duplicate (which you are entitled to possess, for just such a reason), than how can they prove that you are in any violation?

    Oh, and where does it say that the backup copy must ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS originate from the original source? What if instead of ripping the disc, i got the backup from online instead? it would still count as my legally permissable backup copy, would it not? What are they going to do about it?

    The key to f–king over those people is to use their own tactics against them, and i don’t think there is any way that a prepared defendant can’t lose. The RIAA depend on fear to get their targets to cave in without forcing a fight, and too many people do just that, and that’s a bloody shame.

  72. ptrix says:

    The best way to win against the RIAA, is to force them to try to PROVE A NEGATIVE, and ADMIT TO NOTHING.

    So instead of having them try to prove that you DID download the song, you turn it around to put them in a position where they’ll have to prove that your downloaded backup is somehow in violation of your right to have a backup, and at the same time, try to get them to prove that you didn’t have a “licence” for the original in the first place.

    Of course, if the only acceptable “licence” is in the form of the original disc, and that disc was destroyed somehow, leaving you with only the backup duplicate (which you are entitled to possess, for just such a reason), than how can they prove that you are in any violation?

    Oh, and where does it say that the backup copy must ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS originate from the original source? What if instead of ripping the disc, i got the backup from online instead? it would still count as my legally permissable backup copy, would it not? What are they going to do about it?

    The key to f–king over those people is to use their own tactics against them, and i don’t think there is any way that a prepared defendant can’t lose. The RIAA depend on fear to get their targets to cave in without forcing a fight, and too many people do just that, and that’s a bloody shame.

  73. wring says:

    Has anybody actually taken jail time over paying the fine for this? I probably would if I ever got caught (not like I download illegal songs, mind you ;))