Monday, February 21, 2011

RIAA & US Dept of Justice file briefs in Capitol v Thomas

In Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset, the RIAA and the US Department of Justice have filed briefs opposing defendant's motion to reduce the jury's award of $1,500,000 -- or $62,500 per mp3 single downloaded.

RIAA's opposition brief
Department of Justice's opposition brief

[Ed. note. It should be noted that the RIAA's primary copyright litigation lawyers are now high ranking members of the US Department of Justice. -R.B.]

Commentary & discussion:

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14 comments:

Matthew said...

The DoJ brief talks about damages being based on "public harm" or the potential thereof since actual damages are often impossible to quantify. How is the appropriateness of damages with respect to addressing that public harm assessed since actual public harm (lost jobs, higher consumer prices, lost tax revenue, etc...) is equally impossible to quantify?

I guess this question leads back to the larger question of when do damages awarded with the intent to deter become unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

Since the RIAA owns the US Justice (US Justice isn't that an oxymoron in these cases)Department, it comes as no surprise that they would file opposition briefs.

TomasG

Anonymous said...

"Since the RIAA owns the US Justice (US Justice isn't that an oxymoron in these cases)Department"

Really? Which part of the Federal Programs Branch, specifically, does the RIAA own? And more specifically, please point to any point in Adam Kirschner's resume that links him to a content owner's consortium.

"it comes as no surprise that they would file opposition briefs"

You're absolutely right. It should come as no surprise that the department in charge of defending the constitutionality of the statute of the United States would file a brief in opposition to a constitutional challenge to a statute of the United States.

Bob

Ray Beckerman said...

I'm guessing Anonymous Bob is one of the RIAA trolls.

Hey Anonymous Bob, why don't you say who you are, coward?

Anonymous said...

[quote]Ray Beckerman said...
I'm guessing Anonymous Bob is one of the RIAA trolls.[/quote]

No Doubt.

TomasG

Anonymous said...

"I'm guessing Anonymous Bob is one of the RIAA trolls."

And like all of your other guesses & predictions that one can discover by perusing your site, you would be wrong.

But if you are somehow deluded enough to equate explaining the everyday duty of the Department of Justice with being a troll, then no amount of explanation to the contrary will suffice. I forgot, around here, unless one agrees with the hivemind, one automatically becomes an RIAA shill. As if the RIAA has nothing better to do than read your blog. That's almost too laughable.

Ray Beckerman said...

And now Anonymous Anonymous chimes in; wonder if it's the same coward as Anonymous Bob.

Anonymous said...

"wonder if it's the same coward as Anonymous Bob."

Indeed it is. And yet you still haven't answered either question that I posed to TomasG.

Which part of the Federal Programs Branch does the RIAA own?

And what problem do you have with the Department of Justice doing their job by defending the constitutionality of a US statute in court?

Anonymous said...

[quote]"wonder if it's the same coward as Anonymous Bob."

Indeed it is. And yet you still haven't answered either question that I posed to TomasG.

Which part of the Federal Programs Branch does the RIAA own?

And what problem do you have with the Department of Justice doing their job by defending the constitutionality of a US statute in court?[/quote]

Never heard of a "Federal Programs Branch" of the Federal Government. Don't see that mentioned anywhere in the Constitution as a branch of the Federal Government.

Must be just a coincidence that there are 6, maybe it's 7 now, of the top lawyers that used to work for the RIAA on staff at the Justice Department.

Oh, as far as the the justice department defending the constitution and the laws of the land as is their duty, it seems that the incompetent Mr. Holder only defends those parts of the Constitution and laws of this country that he chooses.

I fully realize that it's not good to feed the trolls, so please go troll elsewhere where people might just care about what you have to say.

Sorry Ray, just couldn't help myself.

TomasG

steve said...

"I guess this question leads back to the larger question of when do damages awarded with the intent to deter become unreasonable? "

The supreme court has answered that question for you. See BMW v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996).

This case has been generally interpreted to mean that any damage award greater than 10x actual damages violates the constitutional requirements for notice.

So, in Ms. Thomas's case, her damages should be capped at roughly $10 per song, since the actual cost of one audio mp3 file is $0.99.

Ray Beckerman said...

As I see it the maximum actual damages would equal wholesale price minus saved expenses, or the lost profit.

By my computations that's roughly 70 cents minus 35 cents, or 35 cents lost profit.

Then if you multiply 35 cents by the statistical probability of the download being tantamount to a lost sale, you would come to about 5 cents per mp3 single.

So by my calculations that's 50 cents per mp3 single.

Anonymous said...

- Never heard of a "Federal Programs Branch" of the Federal Government.

The Federal Programs Branch of the Department of Justice, as per its easily found website, handles the "defense against constitutional challenges to federal statutes, suits to overturn government policies and programs, and attacks on the legality of government decisions." If the claim is that the RIAA cabal is somehow in charge of the Department of Justice, then I ask a simple question: Point to somebody within the Federal Programs Branch who is under improper influence. Until then, perhaps you should refrain from commenting on matters that you clearly know nothing about.

-"Must be just a coincidence that there are 6, maybe it's 7 now, of the top lawyers that used to work for the RIAA on staff at the Justice Department."

What does that have to do with the Department fulfilling its obligation to defend a statute against a constitutional attack?

-"it seems that the incompetent Mr. Holder only defends those parts of the Constitution and laws of this country that he chooses."

Holder isn't on this brief, so whatever personal grudge you may have against him contributes nothing to your argument.

-"so please go troll elsewhere where people might just care about what you have to say."

And thank you for reinforcing that only hivemind opinions are considered the correct ones here.

Bob

Anonymous said...

"This case has been generally interpreted to mean that any damage award greater than 10x actual damages violates the constitutional requirements for notice."

That would be important if that case applied to the facts, which it doesn't. Second, statutory damages by that very argument would be per se constitutional because they provide immediate notice to any putative defendant of both the minimum and maximum potential liabilities faced in the event of an adverse judgment.

Bob

Anonymous said...

"As I see it the maximum actual damages would equal wholesale price minus saved expenses, or the lost profit."

And given that a copyright plaintiff doesn't have to prove actual damages renders your calculations absolutely meaningless.

Bob