Federal Court Rules Woman Must Pay As Much As $40,000 for 37 Songs She Downloaded At Age 14

We have continued to follow the outrageous expansion of copyright and trademark litigation (here and here and here), particularly the recording industry which is seeking crippling penalties for downloading song. Now, the industry has succeeded in nailing Whitney Harper who was between 14-16 years old when she downloaded 37 songs. The Court of Appeals increased the penalties against her — amounting to as much as $40,000.

While the parties agreed that she would be liable for $200 a song (under the “innocent” downloading figure), the industry said it would seek $750 if she challenged them on appeal.

Harper is now about to graduate from Texas Tech with a degree in business communications and the ruling may cause her to declare bankruptcy.

After intense lobbying from the industry, Congress has refused to do anything about these draconian penalties.

For the full story, click here.

63 thoughts on “Federal Court Rules Woman Must Pay As Much As $40,000 for 37 Songs She Downloaded At Age 14

  1. […] of damages the law calls for ends up disproportionate to the problem they are supposed to address. Jonathan Turley writes at Res Ipsa Loquitor about a woman ordered to pay $40,000 for 37 songs she do…. On the other hand, sometimes the damages the law calls for are too low to be any sort of effective […]

  2. Mike S:

    where are you? Are you having too much fun in “sunny” Florida to hang out a little?

    I hope all is well with you and the family.

    I need to get “swatted” down, my capitalistic tendencies are running wild without you around 🙂

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