US corporate thugs flex their muscles to bankrupt one woman

by | Oct 5, 2007 | Stress Blog | 7 comments

The BBC reports that a court in the US has ordered a woman to pay $222,000  in damages for illegally file-sharing music.

The jury ordered Jammie Thomas, 32, from Minnesota, to pay for offering to share 24 specific songs online – a cost of $9,250 per song.  Record companies said she had illegally shared a total of 1,702 songs.

Ms Thomas, who denied the charges, was the first person accused of illegal file-sharing who decided to fight the case in court. Each year, millions of households illegally share music files, and the music industry takes it as a serious threat to its revenue.

About 26,000 lawsuits have been filed against alleged file-sharers, but most defendants settle privately by paying damages amounting to a few thousand dollars.

However, contesting the charge and losing will cost Jammie Thomas almost a quarter of a million dollars.

Her lawyer, Brian Toder, told the Associated Press that Ms Thomas was reduced to tears by the verdict.  “This is a girl that lives from pay cheque to pay cheque, and now all of a sudden she could get a quarter of her pay cheque garnished for the rest of her life,” he said.

The US record industry said people would understand the verdict.  Richard Gabriel, a lawyer for the music companies, said the verdict was important.  “This does send a message, I hope, that downloading and distributing our recordings is not okay,” he told AP.  He said no decision had yet been made about what the record companies would do, if anything, to pursue collecting the money from Ms Thomas.

John Kennedy, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, which represents record labels, said they were “reluctant litigators”.  “We do everything possible to persuade people not to leave themselves exposed to litigation. We educate, we warn, we even try and settle before a case gets to court.” He said he hoped the fine would prove a deterrent to others.

“Our message is: we don’t want to litigate – don’t leave yourself exposed to litigation,” he added.

 I am not sure with whom I am most disgusted with.  With the RIAA for suing the poor woman, the lawyers who agree to represent the RIAA, the judge for fining the woman, the ACLU for not giving a fuck about this case (heck, this is not the government, its *only* the corporations!), the media for discussing this issue without even a hint of outrage like its something normal, the politicians for allowing this to happen, or the American people for looking at how one of them gets victimized without any reaction?

If fascism is really the union of corporatism and government power than fascism in the USA is doing just great, thank you.  Beating up on one sheep to terrorize the entire herd is a typically fascist method to make sure everybody ‘behaves’.

I can’t wait for Hillary to be elected (with than scumbag Wesley Clark as SecDef!) to see to what new heights US fascism  will reach…