Talk:Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset

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added some info[edit]

Hi, I added in info about the replacement of Thomas's hard drive and the jury instrution. With what I knew, the page sounded too pro-Jammie. 23:34, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

her site needs a better ticker, so that this page could be kept accurate[edit]

Gathered funds are so far around 1/10th of the demanded amount, not bad so far, but her page lags considerably behind the actual figure donated, hence can't really add a figure to this wikipage yet. Would also be nice to add something more about the groundswell this case has triggered, but it probably wont rise to prominence until it re-enters the mainstream news in about 6 months. 03:14, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Pathetically Transparent Exploitation of Defendant's Ethnic Status[edit]

With respect to "Capitol v. Thomas," the court case, how is it even remotely relevant to the subject that Jammie Thomas is a native American? Is the "point" really that RIAA or Capitol singled out Thomas because of her ethnicity?

The only plausible answer is to pimp Thomas's native American status for sympathy value and characterize her as the poor running Indian victim being hunted down and exploited by Big evil white devil RIAA for sport.

That this reference can stand, unedited by responsible editors is so lame, so embarrassing, and so indicative of the Achilles heel in what is otherwise a valuable project and service: even idiots with a social or political axe to grind have computers.

Until the purge-bot can root out and eliminate pathetic opinion elements from factual entries, all things Wikipedia must be read with a really big grain of salt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

  • To the above user, it is always a good idea to assume good faith in a fellow Wikipedian, and not use Wikipedia as a medium for soapboxing. While having not authored/edited the article itself, I believe the ethnicity of the defendant was added for the same reason that her job, D.O.B. and gender, for instance, were included; to provide a background to the case. Nowhere in the article is the ethnicity of Thomas referred to again, so I believe it is just a detail, and not a scheme to undermine the neutrality of the article. Of course, if you create an account, you can initiate a discussion of the article on the talk page and follow the debate through your watchlist and express your views further. It is just important to note to remain civil to fellow contributors, which will encourage open discussion! I hope that helped. Feel free to comment further below or on my talk page - Pedro7AC4 (talk) 12:52, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Pedro7AC4. Thomas-Rasset's ethnicity is included in secondary source reports on the case, so it is relevant as background information to be included here. There has also been reports in secondary sources regarding the enforceability of a judgment against her due to her being a member of a tribal sovereign, which adds to the relevance.
Hartboy (talk) 21:23, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

only 17 songs listed[edit]

it says 24 songs but only 17 songs are actually listed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Count again. There's 17 artists, but some have more than one song listed, for a total of 24 songs.
Hartboy (talk) 19:52, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Is this all justified?[edit]

I don't need any major label. I don't need "Music Managers". I don't need media distribution on specialized hardware. This is not about protecting the rights of the artists. Most of the artists don't get their fair share of the profit from the major labels anyway. This is about establishing continuity for something we do not need anymore just to artificially keep up the salary of people who think that they should get millions of dollars for absolutely worthless work (someone might call it evolution, 10 years ago it made sense to sell a compact disc to distribute 700 MB of data and have some companies doing this, right now this seems idiotic). It is absolutely normal in economy that business-areas come and go because of the change of peoples needs. What the major labels do is not a need anymore. I want to pay my songs directly to the artist. The artist should get 100% of what I pay for. And the distribution channel for upcoming artists is the Internet! Isn't this normal in 2010? It was normal even in 2007.

Thomas downloaded old songs which she would not have been able to buy DRM free and directly from the artist. These songs just are not worth thousands of dollar. They are worth what people are willing to pay for them. Obviously for these songs there are people who do not want to pay anything at all. And because music is a type of information Arrow's Information Paradox is applicable. Nobody knows if he likes a song before he has downloaded and heard it. And if you download something, it is normal (and it was in year 2007) for everyone whose machine is a node in a network to cache the just retrieved information and give it to other nodes requesting it.

So what the fuck is this trial about? We should not allow this kind of show trial to happen. Maybe we should pay her fine via flattr or something like that. (talk) 07:39, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Please remember that Wikipedia is not a soapbox or a forum. The talk page is just for commenting on how to improve the article, not to express personal opinions. See WP:NOT or WP:TP for more information. - Pedro7AC4 (talk) 12:35, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Richard Marx statement on case[edit]

In the interest of avoiding an edit war, I'd like to seek consensus on a recent edit, now twice-reverted by editor Objective3000. In a series of edits on 2014-06-30, editor Mjb added the following section (with the edit summary, "Richard Marx quote. Feel free to add an RIAA quote for balance."):

Artist reaction

Richard Marx, one of the artists with a song at issue in the case, reacted to the outcome of the second trial by issuing a strongly worded statement decrying the ruling. He characterized it as a "misguided...farcical" and "abusive" show of force against music fans by "greedy" major labels,[1] and said, "...I'm ashamed to have my name associated with this issue."[1]


This was almost-immediately reverted by Objective3000 with the edit summary, "Revert. The article completely misconstrues the case stating that she was fined for merely downloading and listening as opposed to distributing."

As the article is used only to source the Richard Marx quote, I saw no issues with the inclusion of this content, regardless any questions regarding the quality or accuracy of Rolling Stone's reporting. I thus undid Objective3000's revert, only to have it rerere'd shortly thereafter with an identical edit summary (to the initial revert).

What say the community? Is the content quoted above fair game for this article? – FeRD_NYC (talk) 13:59, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

The reffed article completely misstates the legal case. Of course the fine would be ridiculous for downloading. But, that wasn't what the fine was for. It was for sharing (i.e. uploading). The reffed article confuses the issue and misleads the reader of the WP article. Further, the Background section should be changed as it suggests the outcome was based on downloading. Objective3000 (talk) 17:00, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi guys. I'm the person who added the quote. However, I don't think we really need it.
Now for the long version. It's not entirely clear precisely which action(s) by Thomas-Rasset led to the finding of liability. None of us can say with certainty that the damages award was strictly for downloading, as Marx seems to believe, nor strictly "for sharing (i.e. uploading)," as Objective3000 believes.
First, no court has determined the exact degree of responsibility for infringement by the parties on each side of the infringing transfer of a file. Ostensibly both sender and receiver share responsibility, but copyright owners tend to only go after the uploaders. This is just good strategy, in light of public opinion being less favorable to uploaders; it's not because the downloading is legal or tolerated. In this case, though, which was the first of its kind, they made a point to sue someone who they could show had both uploaded and downloaded.
Second, throughout the case—from the original complaint, through oral arguments, all the way to the second trial's jury instructions—the plaintiffs quite understandably projected a zero-tolerance policy toward anything having to do with file-sharing, and pursued what I would call a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" strategy. Some may call it "hedging their bets." Indeed, as you can see in the initial complaint, they sued her for everything they could, and then some. Specifically, they said she used "an online media distribution system to download..., to the public, and/or to make...available for distribution to others." (Emphasis and ellipses mine.)
In the first trial, although they had no evidence from her hard drive due to her tampering, they did show evidence of all three actions. Their agent had downloaded the files from a shared folder on a computer at her IP address, so she was apparently making the files available, if not also distributing them to "the public", despite no evidence anyone else ever downloaded them. The files were also in a format not yet available legally and had ripping crew metadata in them, so she had not ripped them herself nor obtained them by lawful means; i.e., they were very likely downloaded or otherwise distributed to her without license.
So, it is quite wrong to say that this case was not about downloading.
Now, it so happens that there is generally no "making available" right; by the letter of the law, actual copies must be transferred for infringement of the distribution right to occur. If you had read the article, you would know that the whole reason for a second trial was because the jury instructions in the first trial had erroneously said that she was to be found liable if she "made available" the files.
So in the second trial, her liability for infringing the copyright owners' exclusive right of distribution depended only on whether she had either downloaded or uploaded; either action would be infringement, and the jury didn't have to specify which. Although making-available was supposedly off the table, the plaintiffs shrewdly conflated uploading and making-available; the second jury was never given a definition of distribution, and much ado was made of the files being in a shared folder.
In this Wikipedia article, I made sure to specifically mention the ambiguity of the jury instructions partly because it was an issue in the first trial, and partly in order to deal with this exact situation. People are often saying she was "sued for downloading" or "fined for sharing" or whatever, when in fact the court documents show that what action she was found liable for was purposefully left vague; maybe she downloaded, maybe she uploaded...we only know that the jury decided she did at least one of those things, maybe both. (And I am assuming, perhaps foolishly, that the jury wasn't also reacting to the defendant's lies and tampering.)
I can see the judge's point of view on this; it doesn't really matter whether it was uploading, downloading, or both; as long as at least one of those things is found, it was copyright infringement.
Anyway, the Richard Marx quote was just something I ran across and thought was interesting and relevant enough to mention. I added it without much thought. I didn't consider that Marx seems to be basing his reaction on the notion that the judgment was strictly for downloading, and that maybe he would react differently if he knew it was for uploading alone, or for both uploading and downloading. So although Objective3000, when saying it's only about uploading, is essentially making the same mistake as Marx saying it's all about downloading, I agree with his reasoning for removing the quote.
Maybe there would be some room for it if we had a section on notable reactions. We could point out that they always characterize the case as being only about sharing or only about downloading, whereas she she was sued for three distinct behaviors, and all we know is she was found liable for at least one of them. But...meh. It's not really that important. —mjb (talk) 07:54, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
The original complaint used the word downloading. But, the eventual suit was for making available to the public for downloading. Yes, downloading and uploading are both copyright infringement, and lawyers throw everything they can into a suit. BUT, the level of damage is vastly different. The fine clearly would be absurd for downloading alone as it would be orders of magnitude above the damages. The fine was based on making available, which means uploading to others, which can dramatically increase the damage to the IP holders. The problem with the quote was that it suggested that the fine was solely for downloading a few songs, which would, indeed, make the fine preposterous and deserving of the comment, had it been true.Objective3000 (talk) 14:45, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
The complaint is the suit. You can see most of the filings at [1] and [2]. They support my point of view moreso than yours.
The jury was given very clear instructions. I strongly suggest you read this document, especially instructions 12, 18, 19, 20, and 21, as it supports the points I am making. The jury came to a verdict which you can see is a questionnaire that does not get specific about the nature of the infringement nor how the damage amounts were decided upon. In the damages retrial, the jury's verdict was likewise free of detail.
The uploading could have been a factor in the damage award, and probably was to some degree, but we can't rely on that or assume that the downloading wasn't taken very seriously. Anyone with knowledge or experience of downloading copyrighted material online was excluded from the jury, so I doubt they were thinking in terms of downloading being less of a problem uploading, especially after hearing plaintiffs' point of view during the trial.
So as you can see by reading those documents, we simply don't know how the jury came to the damage award ("fine" isn't really the right word); it is only speculation when you insist that it is "clearly" as high as it was because of the uploading. It can't be proven one way or the other. Also, you assume the uploading or making-available caused an increase in damage to the copyright holders. In fact, it is the inability to prove actual damage that motivated and justified the plaintiffs seeking of statutory damages, which are intended to be used when actual damages can't be proven. They are also intended to be a deterrent, hence their possible range of $750 to $150,000 per work. —mjb (talk) 01:36, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
"The reffed article stated "Last week a judge ruled Minnesota mom Jammie Thomas-Rasset owes the RIAA a $1.92 million fine for illegally downloading 24 songs." Objective3000 (talk) 10:27, 4 August 2014 (UTC)