2 September 2003

Defraud Californians of $9 billion, pay $1 million - such are the values of our time

Lawrence Lessig offers up an interesting parallel between the recent FERC settlement with energy companies for their illegal "energy market manipulation" in California and the draconian lawsuits pursued by the RIAA.
Letís put this in some perspective.

Jesse Jordan (the RPI student who ran a search engine and was sued by the RIAA) was, the RIAA claims, liable for $15,000,000 in damages. When you add up the damages claimed against all four of these students (who again had built search engines ), the RIAA was asking, on some estimates, for $100 billion dollars. Thatís because, under our law as interpreted by the RIAA, downloading one song makes you liable for $150,000. Or, on the RIAAís view of the law, cheaper to defraud Californianís of $9 billion than download 10 songs from a p2p server.

What an illustration of the power corporate giants hold over the interests of justice...