2009/12/02

24 Songs Worth $80,000 Each? Bainwol, Smainwol!

I'm writing this post today because I truly believe that you haven't had enough facepalm moments in your life yet.

I follow Cracked.com on twitter and jumped to the link immediately when I saw the tweet about 7 Inventors You Didn't Know You Wanted to Punch In the Face. I expected to see a list of gadgets or technology that end up being annoyances or death traps. But starting with #7 it seems the first winner was really just a jerk with some legal tricks. But since the jerk in question was Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the RIAA, a group I've written about before and follow with some modicum of enmity, I took careful notice.

The article gives a bit of detail and some links about the history of the RIAA's legal campaign against individuals file sharing, the history of one of it's most important cases and Mitch's role in it. In regards to Cracked's article, it occurs to me momentarily that this does not make him an "inventor" but just a "suit". Still, the suggestion that someone (maybe me) would like to punch him in the face still stands.

Mitch Bainwol RIAA

Mitch Bainwol RIAA
Originally uploaded by SAITOR

I won't regurgitate the whole article here. I only suggest reading it and also catching up with the relevant Wikipedia page on the case referenced. In summary, before Mitch stepped up the plate, the RIAA's legal tactics against ISPs were barely making a dent in the so-called problem, so they took their fight down to the individual. What heinous criminal did they bring charges against? An organized crime boss? A street vendor selling pirated CDs? A Russian hacker?

No. They brought suit against a mother of four in her late twenties named Jammie Thomas, a Native American descendant from the great state of Minnesota. A classic David-and-Goliath story unfolds from there, of course, with retrials still lingering as recently as July 2009. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, the jury last sided with the plaintiff (wait,... what?!) finding her liable for damages totaling ... <drum roll here>

$80,000 Per Song?! That Adds Up to $1.92 Million?!!

Though the record companies alleged that the total number of shared files was 1,702 songs, they mercifully sought relief for only 24 of these. None of these numbers can be proven very well via evidence, but that's still nearly 2 million dollars that as of right now she legally owes. There are still motions, counter-motions and so forth flying around right now and the evidence seems mighty flimsy from my vantage point.

The point I want to especially highlight from the Cracked.com article was this witty snippet that I appreciated.

...she was found guilty of sharing the most embarrassing 24 song playlist imaginable with countless Internet users.

Isn't that just awesome? The actual list of all 24 songs is outlined for all of history in bold-faced type on Wikipedia. Just savor what Jammie must feel to know that the whole world gets a peak at her private music tastes. There's a smattering of classic rock, 90's era chick-rock alternative and some gooey pop. The artists included are Aerosmith, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Green Day, Janet Jackson, No Doubt, Richard Marx and Vanessa Williams among others.

It's pretty safe for the Cracked writers to point their fingers and laugh at the list, especially when they are clearly taking her side. It includes many songs that are good, but many of us wouldn't admit to liking publicly. And at the same time, I can't help feel some pity and solidarity with this mom that the RIAA has chosen to pick on. So in support of her and in empathy for her situation, I've created the following playlist with all 24 songs! So here they are, Jammie's Playlist, in no particular order. I dare you to listen to it and not sing along at some point.

More Information

Found via Twitter / Cracked.com.

Update

I found this today (2010/09/26) on Reddit.

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