Considering the U.S. Department of Justice is made up of at least five ex-RIAA lawyers in top positions, shouldn’t actions they take on behalf of the government in current RIAA lawsuits be considered suspicious at best? For the second time, the Justice Department has unnecessarily intervened in a case between the record industry and a private citizen in a file sharing case and you can guess which side they’re on.
Earlier this year, we told you about a motion for intervention filed by the DOJ in the SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum case, which cites a case from 1919 as legal precedent to allow the RIAA to pursue 2,100 to 425,000 times the actual damages for an MP3 file. This little move came in handy earlier this summer when a jury awarded the RIAA $1.92 million in their case against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a woman accused of sharing 24 songs on Kazaa. Now, Pitchfork’s Tom Breihan and Amy Phillips report that the DOJ has intervened once again, filing a brief with U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis, urging him to uphold the jury’s verdict. Here’s part of the brief (via P4K):
The Copyright Act’s statutory damages provision serves both to compensate and deter. The inadequacy of actual damages and profits to compensate copyright owners is evident under the circumstances of this case. It is impossible for a copyright owner to calculate actual damages when an online media distribution system is used to distribute illegally its copyrighted sound recordings.
So, basically: $1.92 million is just a made-up number, but we can’t figure out the real number, so let’s just go with that one. Hasn’t the Justice Department learned anything about the dangers of allowing corporations the right to creative math?