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Music Copyright Lawsuits Continue: Houston Man Pays for Illegally Downloading Music on the Internet

By Danny Davids(13,494) Danny Davids

Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Danny Davids

Awhile back I wrote a blog entry on Jammie Thomas, the Minnesota mom who was taken to court by the recording industry and ordered to pay $222,000 for over 1,700 songs she downloaded for free from the Internet.  If you think that was a one-time occurrence, think again.

A Houston man accused of illegally downloading 31 songs has been ordered to pay $23,250 in damages to five record companies.  He is also permanantly forbidden from ever downloading music again.  A federal judge handed down the sentence on Tuesday.

According to court paperwork, Abner Anderson downloaded music and made available 588 digital files of copyrighted songs to share with others on Kazaa.com, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network.  The plaintiffs sought $750 in statutory damages for each of 31 songs.  What happened with the other 557 songs is not stated.   Anderson claims he took all the necessary measures to avoid copyright infringement, and his alleged infringement was neither negligent, willful or intentional.  He also argues that $750 per song is a bit exorbitant, since most of the songs can be downloaded for 99 cents through other online services.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which files music-pirating lawsuits on behalf of member record companies, declined to comment on the lawsuit.  (Of course they would.)  However, a spokeswoman for the group said the RIAA has filed about 28,000 lawsuits against individuals since 2003, with 9,400 of those resolved in out-of-court settlements.  The companies involved in the case were Atlantic Recording Corp., Capitol Records Inc., UMG Recordings Inc., Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Arista Records.

I have to question whether Mr. Anderson truly took "all the necessary measures" as he claims.  If the man knew songs were available for 99 cents through other online services, why didn't he pay the 99 cents?  And if he did his homework, he would know that not only do people who use Kazaa get in trouble for music up- and downloads, but the company itself is under attack by several entities throughout the world for supporting transfer of copyrighted audio and video.  So much for paying attention.

I also have to ask why Sony feels it's so vital to protect copyrighted music when it's their copyright being violated, but seems to have no qualms about violating the copyrights of others.  Back in 2006 the company lost a lawsuit filed by Tommy Granville, who claimed the company violated his copyright on a song recorded by the rap artist Lil' Flip.  And this isn't the only lawsuit filed against Sony claiming copyright violation.  Sounds like somebody better practice what they preach.

In any event, the music industry isn't letting up on this issue.  So be ready.  The RIAA might be coming to a city near you very soon!  And if they knock on your door, it won't be to present a check, but to receive one from you.  Plus fines and interest, of course.

This Blog Post has been read 245 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Wednesday, March 19, 2008
View other posts by Danny Davids

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