Illegal file-sharing costly at $80,000 per song


The Universal Music Group and other music labels won a $1.92 million judgment against a Minnesota woman who illegally shared 80 songs with other users over Kazaa, the popular online file-sharing service.

That's right: The federal jury decided that the piracy was worth $80,000 per song. The defendant's response? "The only thing I can say is good luck trying to get it, because you can't get blood out of a turnip." Her lawyer has said that they are planning to either appeal or settle the judgment for a more reasonable sum.

What makes the case so unusual is that it actually went to trial. The Recording Industry Association of America has brought more than 35,000 legal actions against people it believes have infringed on its copyrights, but those cases are almost always settled quickly.

This lady tried to argue that it wasn't her who had downloaded the songs and apparently the jury wasn't buying it. Perhaps they were extra tough in the penalty phase because they thought she was a liar.

The lesson for everyone at home here is clear: Do not ever, ever, ever download files illegally with a service like Kazaa, and make sure that your kids don't either.

True: You probably won't get caught, but it's just not worth the risk. Spend the $1 and download the songs on iTunes, or just find them on YouTube if you're determined not to give $1 to the industry.