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Supreme Court upholds $220,000 fine for music piracy

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The US Supreme Court refused Monday to take up the case of a woman ordered to pay a $220,000 fine for illegally downloading music off the internet.

The country’s top court upheld without comment the verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset in the long-running, high-profile digital piracy case.

Thomas-Rasset, a mother of four from Minnesota, has been fighting a court battle since 2006 over violating intellectual property laws in her use of the file-sharing program Kazaa.

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Three trials and multiple appeals later, she has been ordered to pay amounts as high as $1.92 million — or $80,000 for each of 24 illegally downloaded tracks. After the third trial, at which the jury awarded the music companies $1.5 million, the amount was reduced on appeal to $220,000.

That’s the amount in damages Thomas-Rasset was originally ordered to pay after her first conviction, but the judge who presided over that trial threw out the verdict calling it “wholly disproportionate” and “oppressive.”

In the mid-2000s, the Recording Industry Association of America and major music labels brought suit against thousands of people for illegally downloading and sharing music, with most agreeing to settlements of between $3,000 and $5,000.

Thomas-Rasset, however, has consistently refused to settle the case.

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Only one other defendant, Boston student Joel Tenenbaum, refused a settlement. Tenenbaum was ordered to pay $675,000, a fine the Supreme Court also refused to review in May 2012.

In December 2008, the RIAA said it will stop suing people who download music illegally and focus instead on getting Internet Service Providers to take action.

The move away from litigation represented a major shift in strategy for the music industry group, which had filed lawsuits against some 35,000 people for online music piracy since 2003.

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Last month, a coalition of the largest US Internet service providers and the music and film industries began rolling out an anti-piracy effort informally known as “six strikes,” which will use warnings and could result in slowed or suspended Internet connections for violators.

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[Frustrated student at computer via Shutterstock]

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A visibly disgusted Morning Joe rips into ‘stupid’ Trump for ‘cheering on’ Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria

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Reacting to the news about the slaughter of Kurds in Syria by Turkish forces that is the direct result of Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said the president's claim that things are going well show he is either "lying or stupid."

The Morning Joe host could barely get his words out as he harshly criticized the president for empowering ISIS -- who have joined in the fight along with elements of Al Qaeda -- after he claimed that he had defeated them.

Noting the president is expected to issue a statement on the turmoil, Scarborough ranted, "The president, who is lying or stupid, will give us some insight on that later on today when he says the Turks and the Kurds are fighting and we shouldn't get in the middle of it."

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‘I don’t want no hug’: Atatiana Jefferson’s father won’t forgive cop who killed daughter in her own home

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The father of a black woman gunned down by Texas police in her own home recognizes the sickening similarities between his family's tragedy and Botham Jean's family, but he is feeling less forgiving.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot to death while playing video games at home with her 8-year-old nephew when a neighbor called Fort Worth police for a welfare check after spotting her front door standing open, and her father is angry, reported KTVT-TV.

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Journalist explains the horrifying ‘scale of the disaster Trump has wrought’ in the Middle East — and worldwide

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On Monday, British journalist Edward Luce laid out the chilling likely consequences of President Donald Trump's abandonment of Kurdish allies in Syria — and how the decision threatens to destroy America's ability to steer world diplomacy:

Worth emphasising the scale of the disaster Trump has wrought in the week since his call with Erdogan. 1. Revived Isis. 2. Cemented Assad’s grip on Syria. 3. Handed Russia yet another geopolitical windfall. 4. Betrayed the Kurds. 5. Immeasurably harmed US power. Thread 1.

— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) October 14, 2019

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