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Second Degree Murder and Six Other Crimes Cheaper than Pirating Music

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I'm outraged that the Obama administration is supporting the RIAA on the case against Jammie Thomas, a single mother of four who has to pay them $1.92 million for downloading songs. That's more expensive than murder and six other crimes:

• Child abduction: Fine of $25,000 and up to three years in prison, which can be accounted as $50,233 per year (that was the median household income in 2007, probably down because of the economic crisis). Total: $175,699.


• Steal the CDs: A total of $275,000, $52,500 fine for the CDs.

• Steal a lawnmower from your neighbour: A total of $375,000.

• Burn someone's house while playing The Doors: Another $375,000.

• Stalk a Gizmodo editor (yes, you know who you are): A Class 4 felony that will result in just $175,000.


• Start a dogfighting ring: $50,000.

• Murder someone on the second degree, a Class 1 felony: $778,495, which accounts for a $25,000 fine and four to 15 years in prison.

Heck, you can do all these crimes, and the total amount will be only $2.2 million. Of course, you can't really quantify years spent in prison using dollars, but I don't care. The case of Jammie—and many like hers—is still absolutely outrageous.

Ms. Thomas got fined $1.92 million for downloading 1700 songs songs. For some reason, a popular jury thought that was fair. That's ok. There are mentally disturbed people everywhere. But I don't care if it's 1700 or 17000 songs, nobody can be punished like this for downloading songs. It may follow a draconian law to the last comma and period, but that doesn't make the verdict just. The law is what is at fault here, with a punishment that is not proportional to the magnitude of the "crime." This goes against the most basic sense of justice.


I know that el Señor Presidente has more serious issues to worry about that this case, but something needs to be done about it. Something drastic. Unfortunately, nothing will happen, given the "class" of people now at the Department of Justice:


What a crying shame. [Gapers Block]