24 songs: Woman ordered to pay $1.92 million to RIAA

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Stan Lee couldn’t have created a more hated super-villain than the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s the ultimate heel stable. Get this: a woman in Minneapolis, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, has been ordered to pay $1.92 million in damages for downloading and sharing 24 songs. That works out to about $80,000 per song. Clearly the RIAA deserves props. Mad props.

To the woman’s credit, she’s reacting much the way I would, if faced with such a bill: good luck getting that kind of money because I patently don’t have it. Says Ms. Thomas-Rasset:

I have no means of paying the fine. 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 only thing I can say is good luck trying to get it, because you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

Let’s play a game. Let’s say you wind up in the same situation as this woman, faced with an enormous bill for downloading a bunch of piece-of-garbage songs. Now, I don’t have that kind of money, obviously. Nor would I really be inclined to pay a lesser fine, somewhere in the low thousands of dollars. To paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson, I wouldn’t give that mob [the RIAA] a virus, let alone a single dollar. Where does that leave me, jail? What is the ultimate punishment a court could hand out here? (You’d think I’d contact the EFF or something to ask this question.)

And another thing!

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