The federal government’s stance on illegal uploads/downloads is an expensive one. In a case that was filed back in 2007 and has gone through three full trials, the Obama Administration has just filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold a $222,000 fine against Jammie Thomas for uploading a mere 24 songs to the internet for download. Thomas’ lawyers filed to have the case heard by the Supreme Court, citing that the fine was excessive and unconstitutional, but the Obama Administration is urging the Court to not to hear the case at all, which basically would be an approval of the $222,000 fine.
The government argued that the case has nothing to do with constitutionality and everything to do with copyright. “In particular, the exclusive rights conferred by a copyright are intended to motivate the creative activity of authors… by the provision of a special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired,” the ruling states.
Filed by Capitol Records and other major labels, the suit paints Thomas as a rebellious and unapologetic villian. “Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s copyright infringement was willful in the extreme. Three separate juries have concluded that her blatant and unapologetic violation of Respondents’ rights warranted a substantial award under the Copyright Act’s statutory damages provision,” said a statement released by the RIAA on behalf of the labels. In reality, Thomas is a single mom and this suit will certainly bankrupt her.
Truly, illegal downloading needs to stop but this singling out seems arbitrary and heavy-handed — wil this ruling really lead to progress? Or just hurt one unsuspecting woman who happened to get caught? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @PigsandPlans.