October 4, 2007

Duluth Verdict: Guilty [7:49 pm]

RIAA trial verdict is in: jury finds Thomas liable for infringement

After just four hours of deliberation and two days of testimony, a jury found that Jammie Thomas was liable for infringing the record labels’ copyrights on all 24 the 24 recordings at issue in the case of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas. The jury awarded $9,250 in statutory damages per song, after finding that the infringement was “willful,” out of a possible total of $150,000 per song. The grand total? $222,000 in damages.

Downloader’s Blues, indeed!

See also Defendant owes $222,000 for illegal downloading; Record companies win music sharing trial

Another point: Judge in Atlantic v. Howell, Pro Se case, Vacates Prior Order Upholding “Making Available” Theory; Schedules Oral Argument October 18th

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OT: Schadenfreude Not As Much Fun When It’s Your Own Government [12:46 pm]

I mean, who’s really surprised by this? Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Hell, *I’m* ashamed!!

Later: One minor redeeming thought (well, two) — at least I’m not from Idaho and I’m not a Republican - Text of Sen. Larry Craig’s Statement

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A Sign of the End Times? [11:55 am]

Or just an indicator of how poorly statistics reflect reality? Or how easily they can be manipulated? (I hope!) Britney’s ‘Gimme More’ a digital hitpdf

Britney Spears bombed at the MTV Video Music Awards. Then her ex-husband, K-Fed, was ruled the better parent. But on Tuesday, Spears had a reason to smile: her new single has moved into the Top 10 on the U.S pop chart, suggesting that perhaps the public has not yet tired of the singer — at least when it comes to her music.

“Gimme More” landed in the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart, having sold 179,000 downloads in its first week of release. That helped the song rocket up Billboard’s Hot 100 this week, jumping 65 slots to land at No. 3 on the overall pop chart, which includes digital downloads, CD sales and radio airplay.

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EU OKs Consolidation Move [11:51 am]

Sony-BMG music merger gets formal clearance from the EUpdf

The European Commission gave Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann unconditional clearance Wednesday to combine their music units, concluding that the deal, originally approved in 2004, was not monopolistic.

The European Union’s executive arm approved the deal a second time after a court ripped up the original over antitrust concerns and told regulators to reexamine it.

The commission concluded that the deal, which formed the world’s second-largest record label, “would not create or strengthen a dominant or collectively dominant position in the music markets” of Europe.

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