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Man sued for downloading 5 songs, faces MINIMUM $750 fine per song
Another good reason to abandon our insane copyright system - or at least call for dramatic reform - before we're all behind bars for sharing our arts, our culture, and our knowledge.
In its running legal battle against unauthorized downloaders, five recording companies have sued an Augusta man in federal court claiming he illegally pirated and shared copyrighted music.
Scott Hinds, 23, is a defendant in one of a number of lawsuits by Recording Industry of America affiliates seeking to halt illegal sharing of copyrighted songs -- a once-widespread practice some maintain was "fair use," encouraged by certain computer software.
As artists attempt to regain control of their music -- and reap [obscene] profits from sales -- recording industry spokeswoman Amanda Hunter said 18,000 individuals have been sued in similar lawsuits since September 2003, but Hinds is one of only six defendants in Maine.
Hinds said he is not yet represented by a lawyer.
Monday, he wondered: "Why choose me?"
To make an example of you!
They can't possibly get everybody to stop sharing unless they terrorize some hapless victim first!
"Every single person has done this," he said, saying he doesn't listen to music online presently.
The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, alleges Hinds illegally downloaded:
1. "Automobile" by NWA, Priority Records, LLC;
2. "All Over You" by LIve, UMG Recordings Inc.;
3. "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, Elektra Entertainment Group;
4. "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones, Capitol Records Inc.; and
5. "What Would You Say" by Dave Matthews Band, BMG Music.
The allegation is that Hinds used an "online media distribution system" to download tunes, then distributed the copyrighted material to others.
The lawsuit doesn't identify the download service Hinds allegedly used, nor does it identify individual users who allegedly obtained the copyrighted music from Hinds.
Why complicate things with other defendants?
Fry his ass and the other plebians will fall in line.
According to the association, "online investigators searched for copyrighted recordings made available by individuals on peer-to-peer networks."
They then filed a lawsuit against Internet service providers prompting them to identify individuals who allegedly shared music files.
Hinds faces a minimum civil penalty of $750 per song. There can be criminal penalties as well.
If guilty, Hinds would hardly be the first person found downloading music on the Internet; the Internet has been chockablock with sites offering free music almost since there have been browsers and bandwidth.
The most well-known site -- Napster, founded in 1999 by 18-year-old college dropout Shawn Fanning -- signed up 25 million users in its first year.
AWESOME - now that's SHARING!
In 2000, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Napster, charging "tributary copyright infringement" -- an allegation that Napster was not violating copyright itself, but was contributing to and facilitating other people's infringement.
The premise of the civil lawsuit against Hinds is a December 2005 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court's 2004 opinion in MGM Studios, Inc., v. Grokster Ltd.
In the latter case, the court found "that a distributed file-sharing system is engaged in contributory copyright infringement when its principal object is the dissemination of copyrighted material.
"The foundation of this holding is a belief that people who post or download music files are primary infringers."
Sure - as long as music producers get to make the rules, because he who makes the rules ALWAYS wins the game!
And don't get me wrong - this is not an attack on artists.
It's an attack against the monied interests that exploit them and US - BOTH.
Things are only going to get increasingly more draconian if Americans allow our government to continue down this path of belligerent commodification of every single thing - tangible or intangible - that is used or exchanged between human beings.
THIS my dear friends is NOT freedom - it's tyranny.