Is This A Good Week For Pirates?

Entertainment Editor
11.08.10

Answer: aww hail nah. Sorry, Corgi Pirate. We’ll help you hide from the authorities.

Jammie Thomas, a single mother in Minnesota, has been ordered to pay $1.5 million in damages to Capitol Records for sharing 24 songs. That’s $62,500 per song. The previous maximum in another case had been established at $2,250. She shared the songs in a public folder on Kazaa four years ago and has been fighting in court ever since, refusing to settle out of court and pay the usual $3,000 to $5,000 settlement amount. Outside the court room she stated, “There’s no way they’re ever going to get that. I’m a mom, limited means, so I’m not going to worry about it now.”

The twenty-four songs she was sued for sharing included “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child (she can relate to that even more now); “Cryin'” by Aerosmith (now who’s cryin’? *bike horn*); three Gloria Estafan songs (the rhythm got her, as foretold); and “Now and Forever” by Richard Marx, proving at least one person still listens to Richard Marx. Things are looking up, Richard!

Meanwhile in Germany, a teenager was fined $41.40 (€30) for sharing two songs: “Angel” by Rammstein and “Roll Over Not” by Marius Müller-Westernhagen. The court ruled that since the songs were not new, nor shared for very long, that it was unlikely that they had been downloaded enough times to justify the music label’s claims that the defendant owed $414 (€300) per song. Since the music label couldn’t prove the teen had given away the songs that many times, the judge handed down a more realistic fee of $20.70 (€15) per song. This court decision took five years to make. I don’t have a joke here, but rereading that last sentence should be comedic enough.

The Internet Hate Machine kicked into overdrive this week when a magazine published a blogger’s copyrighted content without asking for permission or paying her, then belittled her in an email. Monica Gaudio found her copyrighted article on Medieval and Renaissance recipes for apple pies republished without her consent in Cooks Source magazine. She contacted them asking for three things: an apology on their Facebook page, an apology in their magazine, and a $130 donation (ten cents per word stolen) to the Columbia School of Journalism. The editor of Cooks Source, Judith Griggs, wrote back an email with gems like “But honestly Monica, the web is considered ‘public domain'” (it is not) and “the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally” and “We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces”. To paraphrase: yeah, we stole your article, but you should pay us because you suck and we made it better.

The nerd rage and fierce googling began, and people started noticing similarities between Cooks Source content and other copyrighted works like Simply Recipes, Behind the Curtain, and at least seven articles from The Food Network, who are now investigating the magazine. (Get your popcorn ready. This is going to be good.) People even flooded Cooks Source’s Facebook page to insult them, “liking” the page so they could post snarky comments, leading Griggs to brag about how many new “Facebook friends” they now have. I’m starting to think Judith Griggs is actually moot from 4chan in disguise, trolling everybody. Problem?

[news-links]

  • Minnesota woman fined $1.5 million ($62,500 per song) for illegally file sharing. (TimesOnline and CNET)
  • And here are the 24 songs she was sharing. (Wikipedia)
  • Another file sharer in Germany was charged less than $21 per song. (CrunchGear)
  • Cooks Source magazine steals blogger’s content, claims the internet is public domain. (Time)
  • Cooks Source found to have taken content from other sources as well. (EdRants, and here’s a master list of plagiarized content via googledocs)

[/news-links]

[news-morenews]

  • This is too perfect not to mention, even though it’s been awhile: a guy in a breathalyzer costume was arrested for driving drunk. *kisses fingertips* Magnifique. (BestWeekEver)
  • In an awesome example of fair use, a website is rewriting all of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road for bros. It truly is an all-American story of brew dogs and Buffalo Wild Wings. (OnTheBro’d)

[/news-morenews]

[news-stats]

  • Non-practicing entities (AKA patent trolls), who acquire patents just to sue people for infringements, have a 67% success rate at trial. Non-practicing entities also tend to win damage awards more than three times higher than those won by practicing entities. (Focus)
  • Over a period of three years, the RIAA spent about sixty-four million dollars in legal and investigative fees to recover less than $1.4 million from lawsuits. But they probably deterred somebody who would normally be stealing, right? (BoingBoing, relevant picture at left via Reddit)
  • Among the top ten black markets worldwide, web video piracy was #8 with a value of $60 billion and software piracy was #9 with a value of $53 billion. Music piracy didn’t crack the top ten. Those bootleg A-Ha cassettes just aren’t selling like they used to. (BannedinHollywood)

[/news-stats]

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