July 14th, 2009 by Bob Bly
JR used to think so … but she doesn’t anymore.
In June 2009, a federal jury ruled that JR, a 23-year-old woman, violated copyright law for illegally sharing 24 copyright-protected songs she downloaded on the Internet.
The fine: $80,000 per song, for a total of $1.92 million.
Now, I’m an old school guy who takes copyright protection of intellectual property very seriously — a position the younger generation does not share.
But the punishment should be proportionate to the crime, and somewhat related to damages and intent — for instance, was it an innocent mistake, or did JR attempt to profit from the illegal file sharing?
In JR’s case, no one was hurt, and I think a small fine is in order.
That’s different than the case of the guy who posted a bootleg of the new Wolverine movie online before its theatrical release.
Producers claimed it could potentially cost them millions in lost revenues.
He could argue that it actually creates interest in the movie, but the problem is, whether to post the movie online is the studio’s decision — not his.
I see illegal use of copyrighted material online all the time.
One of my readers had cartoons posted on her blog. I asked if she obtained permission. She said NO and seemed never to have thought to do so.
What’s YOUR viewpoint on illegal copying, posting, and sharing of copyrighted material — text, images, audio, video — without permission of the owner?
A–It doesn’t matter. Distribution of their material will ultimately help their marketing.
B–It’s wrong, but not really a big deal. So what?
C–It’s a serious violation that imperils the ability of all creators of intellectual property — authors, recording artists, film studios — to realize a fair return on investment from their work
What do you think?
Source: The Record, 7/7/09.
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