The Spectre of Math

December 9, 2009

7 songs for $625000

Filed under: Politics,Technology — jlebl @ 8:38 pm

See here. A modern day Les Miserables in real life. 20 years for stealing a piece of bread. In this case, 10-20 times the average yearly salary for “stealing” 7 songs. Note that the cost of the songs is given current prices $1-$2 per song. Imagine that you shoplift $14 dollars worth of beef jerky in a 7-11. Do you think that you will be charged up to $150000 per each bag of jerky you willfully steal (that’s apparently the penalty for each willful copyright infringement)?

There is something terribly wrong here. Note that O.J. Simpson apparently finally paid only around half a mil for killing someone (though the settlement was for more). And that was a rich person. I’m sure a wrongful death lawsuit against some poor schmuck would be far less. That means that “stealing” 7 songs is apparently worse than killing your wife.

Again, what is the obsession about protecting the recording industry? Why don’t we protect the beef jerky industry in the same way. Actually stealing beef-jerky is worse. The store loses completely. If you copy a song, then there is only a certain probability that you would buy it if you hadn’t copy it. I would say that chance is pretty low. So the recording industry is losing less money than the price of 7 songs.

Then there is this deterrent bullshit. OK, but why is this such a huge problem? Aren’t our priorities all screwed up? I mean, I can think of far more important things we should be deterring people from doing. Entertainment industry is a luxury industry. I mean WTF? Not to mention that there is not even any evidence that any deterrent effect exists.

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