Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Jurors Wanted To Fine Music Downloader $3.6-Million For Downloading 24 Songs


I'll admit that if I was on that jury, I would have voted to acquit simply as form of jury nullification over bad copyright laws (not because I would have doubted that she actually downloaded music).

With that said, I think its actually a pity that the defendant here WASN'T fined the $3.6-million instead of the $222,000 that she was given. If she HAD been hit with a $3.6-million fine for copying 24 songs, it would have set up the perfect opportunity to mount a direct constitutional challenge to the punishments contained in our draconian copyright laws.

Cruel and unusual punishment anyone? I suspect that many courts might be willing to entertain such an argument - even those who would otherwise be inclined to protect harsh copyright monopolies.


Indeed, and I would say that even the lesser fine that was actually levied would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment. Where is the libertarian William Kuntsler when we need him?
Certainly. $220,000 is the price of a fairly nice house in the suburbs and the lot it sits on. To pay that sort of a judgment therefore likely means losing your home.

Given that violent felons aren't rendered homeless and left begging on street corners but rather get free room and board, albeit without getting to have the key to their new home with the barred door and windows, this certainly does seem "cruel and unusual".

Perhaps an eighth amendment argument will come up on appeal?

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