UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge spanks the editorial board of UCLA's Daily Bruin just like Trojan Football has spanked Bruin Football their last 6 meetings (Aww, the Poor Babies).
I suspect the basic problem is that you're still just deeply narcissistic. Nobody's ever told you no. Not your parents. Not your schools. Nobody. You've been taught to expect a slap on the wrist at most and, indeed, think you're entitled to getting off easy. So when somebody finally does hold you accountable, your delicate little psyches can't handle it.
Well, it's time to grow up.
He is responding to a Daily Bruin
editorial attacking the RIAA
's lawsuits, which have, for the first time, snagged seven Bruins: Punishments Dont Fit the Crime of File Sharing
Long time readers of this blog know that I have no real problem with the RIAA's lawsuits (though it would be nice if we could ensure they were enforcing equitably, for example, suing in zip code 90049 as elsewhere [correction: changed zip code to neighborhood I actually mean to refer to]). Unless you go with some government-mandated licensing scheme (something I oppose in favor of voluntary licensing schemes), lawsuits are going to have to play an element in maintaining the system. Without lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits, enforcement would crumble.
Moreover, deterrence is going to require that the penalties be serious and will likely greatly outweigh the actual losses. In other words, If you're infringing 100 albums, in order to deter, the civil penalty is going to have to be greater than $1,000 - $2,000, which is what the albums would have cost had you simply bought them.
Nevertheless, the students, despite their narcissism, have a point. The current statutory penalties are far in excess of what deterrence would council. When the minimum statutory damages for typical filesharing cases are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, that doesn't really seem particularly reasonable to me. I believe that deterrence can be served by a lesser amount.
Furthermore, while I oppose copyright infringement via filesharing services and council against it, the students do have a point about the music industry doing more to fight it with incentives for legitimate purchases than merely punishing filesharing. Originally, the movie studios priced videotapes at $70-$100+. They didn't believe there was a market for consumers to buy videotapes. Had they continued that pricing policy, they would have encouraged the creation of a thriving black market in infringing videotapes. Such a market may be regretted, but would have been the expected outcome. Similarly, the RIAA is partially at fault for making the original Napster so attractive because there were no real legitimate avenues to meet customer's wants. I'm not saying they're entirely at fault, but anyone could have predicted that without legitimate avenues to download music, more people would use illegitimate avenues. This is not rationalization, not justification, merely acknowledging the facts.
Does the RIAA have a legal right to rely solely on deterrance through punishment? Sure. Is this the smartest move they can make? No.