Joel Fought Back — after going to court over 30 downloaded MP3s, verdict is $675,000 fine

What punishment do you think would fit the crime of pirating 30 MP3s? If you said “over $600,000,” you probably work for the RIAA.

After a valiant and creative defense from Charles Nesson and his law students, Joel Tenenbaum lost the legal battle that has captured the Internet’s attention for days under the nickname Joel Fights Back, in reference to the fact that Joel chose to go to court rather than settle under pressure like the majority of the targets of the RIAA. The final verdict of his case came in a few minutes ago.

$22500 per MP3 is completely unreasonable. To put it in perspective, Air France paid $24000 to each of the families of the victims of the crash of Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. This makes a single MP3 worth slightly less than a human life.

I won’t recount the whole story here. The link above as well as these blogs do a better job of explaining it all than I ever could. I just want to share my thoughts on the subject.

I pirate music. All of my friends pirate music. Any of us could have been in Joel’s place. Indeed, the MP3s he shared were shared by millions of other people. He was just a drop in the ocean. This is where the injustice bothers me most; it’s just luck that he’s on that stand, rather than me or one of my close friends, or pretty much anyone my age. Hell, I’d bet that every single student I see on campus when school starts again is guilty of the same crime Joel is. How can any of us say he deserves such a verdict?

This isn’t justice, and it makes me ashamed of my country’s justice system.

UPDATE: is accepting donations. I have donated $30 to helping Joel out with this financial burden, and (hopefully)with future legal defense. While I don’t like the idea of paying money that could end up in the hands of the RIAA, I sympathize so strongly with their cause that this was the least I could do.

About probabilityZero

I'm a rather boring, geeky college student. Most of my time is spent at a computer, reading a book, or sitting in (mostly uninteresting) classes. My hobbies include reading, blogging, creating and running websites, creating amateur video games, arguing incessantly on discussion forums, and buying books on because I'm too lazy to go to the library.
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One Response to Joel Fought Back — after going to court over 30 downloaded MP3s, verdict is $675,000 fine

  1. Rio says:

    Obviously this has nothing to do with the actual price of the mp3. They’re ruthlessly using her as an example, but I say they should just give up. Nothing is going to work short of adapting.

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