The flap about Jammie Thomas is far from over. Beyond the problem of the inflated judgement awarded by the jury, the upcoming appeal trial will undoubtedly focus on the amount of damages, per work, which is indicative of an entire album, not single songs. Ms. Thomas was hit with individual charges when, in a couple of cases, there were two songs from the same album. also, the legal minds who go after nuance state in several conspicuous places (just do a search!) that the case was truly not proven.

Another problem, for the entity that people have learned to hate, is that several of the artists that the RIAA is (ostensibly) protecting from people such as Ms. Thomas, are speaking out, bringing the less than ideal conditions under which the entity operates. One of these artists is Richard Thomas, notable songwriter and singer whose career began in the ’80s.

from Ars Technica

As a longtime professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels. These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets.

So now we have a “judgment” in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas-Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I’m ashamed to have my name associated with this issue.

This certainly stands in opposition to the other stories I have read, where other musicians have clearly seemed on the side of the RIAA, and its stand against piracy.

Perhaps the difference is protection from piracy versus the above mentioned ‘reaming’. I have heard Gene Simmons, of KISS, speak to the reasons for the lack of new material from that group. His explanation for no new releases is that no one is paying for music these days, and downloading it illegally. I doubt, however, he finds that Jammie Thomas should carry the sins of many others on her back, simply because the RIAA wishes to teach an object lesson.




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