| Tuesday May 24th 2016

Music downloading penalties are harsher than arson, theft, or starting a dogfighting ring

Let’s take a look at the $1.92m fine Jammie Thomas faces for downloading 1700 songs and compare it to the penalties for other crimes in US intellectual property lawAmerica (valuing jail time at $50,233, the median US household income in 2007):

  • 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.

For a long time money crime has been more important than crime against another person. No surprise there.


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