This is the latest chapter in the continuing saga of The Travails Of Kiwi Camara and his unending efforts to defeat the forces of the record industry and make recorded music available to all, at no cost – record companies and recording artists be damned.
When we last left Mr. Camara, he was defending Ms. Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who had lost three (yes, 3) trials wherein she had been found guilty of the unauthorized downloading and dissemination of copyrighted music. After the first trial, she had been ordered to pay damages of $1.92 million. After two appeals, she was ordered to pay $1.5 million (see The Cost of Free Music and 24X?).
In this week’s episode, we find Mr. Camara defending Ms. Whitney Harper, who was found guilty of the unauthorized downloading and dissemination of 37 songs and ordered to pay $200 per song (for the mathematically challenged, that comes to $7,400). The damages could have been assessed at the statutory minimum of $750 per song, but the trial judge found that Ms. Harper was an “innocent infringer” and, therefore, fixed the damages at the lesser amount.
Not satisfied with this example of judicial generosity, Mr. Camara appealed. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s finding of “innocent infringement” and entered a damages award of $750 per song – a total of $27,750.
Undaunted, Mr. Camara filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. They denied it. This does not bode well for the latest appeal Mr. Camara has filed on behalf of Ms. Thomas-Rasset.
THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED: Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and pay a small judgment, rather than appeal and wind up paying a big one or, as Johnny Cash sang, “Ya gotta know when to hold `em, know when to fold `em.”