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If You Can't Pay the Fine, Don't Do the Download

A jury verdict awarding the music industry $222,000 in damages from a single mother who illegally downloaded 24 songs has inspired a lot of silly commentary, including the Gizmodo headline ??diotic Jury Awards RIAA $222,000 for 24 Pirated Songs.?/a>

The Freedom to Tinker blog has a good post by Ed Felten on why the RIAA won this landmark case. I have no brief whatever for the RIAA and I think that suing your customers is perhaps the stupidest business strategy ever. But the law is what the law is, not what we may wish it were. And, as this case demonstrates, the law is heavily on the side of the record companies. So unless you have a defense a lot better than Jammie Thomas, the losing defendant in this case, you’d do well to settle if the RIAA comes calling.

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