We all know someone who has downloaded music illegally before. Come on, you know you've done it. A few months ago, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was convicted of willful copyright infringement for illegally sharing music on the Internet. Because of the "crime," she was required to pay a whopping $2 million, that's more than $8,000 per song. Yes, it was only 24 songs!
Well, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Michael Davis, has overturned the decision, slashing the fine to $54,000. While much less expensive than the original amount, it still comes out to an astounding $2,250 per song. That's a lot more than the iTunes price of $.99 per download! Davis went on to say that "the need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music."
The reason Jammie's story became so well-known is the fact the she was the first to take her case to court for this offense; she refused to settle with RIAA, and would not admit to committing the crime. Even though the amount owed depreciated substantially, she still may continue to fight until the fine is diminished completely. Since the music industry never intended to go to trial to begin with, she may actually have a chance to win this case.
Because this is a crime that happens so often all over the world, I believe the only punishment should be paying back the price of the song, had she downloaded it legally. On the other hand, because it happens so frequently, record labels want to send a message to pirates, the music industry has the power. Just because songs are easily accessible, it is still a crime to receive these songs for free. Although I agree with them, $54,000 for 24 songs is just too much. We'll just have to wait for the verdict, expected in the upcoming weeks.