Friday, October 5, 2007

Online Pirate Faces the Music

A women found guilty of sharing 24 songs, out of 1,700 she had on offer through her Kazaa account, will have to pay $222,000 in damages for copyright infringement to a group of record labels, reports the Los Angeles Times.

That's a jury verdict of $9,250 per song. Under the copyright act, the Minnesota woman, Jammie Thomas, could have been forced to pay as much as $150,000 per infringement. The record labels involved were Arista Records, Capitol Records, Interscope Records, Sony BMG, UMG, and Warner Bros. Records. The RIAA issued a statement hailing the decision. The industry has brought 26,000 lawsuits over the past four years. 10,000 of those cases have settled, typically at less than $5,000 each.

I think the industry's victory will have some deterrent effect, but not enough to sink all the pirate ships a' sail. Ultimately - sooner rather than later - all online music will probably be unprotected MP3's, and price points will probably have to come down as well, for individual songs or for monthly subscriptions.

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