The case, which was investigated by the Attorney General’s office and Hazlehurst Police Department, eventually saw King plead guilty to the sale of the five DVDs and one CD. But despite his apparent cooperation, King received the harshest sentence for a copyright infringement offense that we’ve ever seen.
Judge Lamar Pickard in Copiah County Circuit Court ordered King to serve a total of 15 years in jail to be followed by three years supervised release.
Look, profiting from illegally-copied movies and music may be piracy, but 15 years is absurd. You’d get less time for burglary. Here’s the response from the RIAA:
This sentencing demonstrates that theft of intellectual property is treated as a serious crime in Mississippi and highlights the fact that the individuals engaging in these activities are frequently serial criminals for whom IP theft is simply the most convenient and profitable way they could steal from others.
We extend our thanks and appreciation to Attorney General Hood for his leadership in IP enforcement and to the dedicated law enforcement officers and prosecutors who worked on the case.
It’s interesting to see the RIAA say that movie and music pirates are “frequently serial criminals,” since it also acknowledged that file-sharers/pirates are also the biggest fans of its artists, and spend more money on movies and music, in general. Also felons, apparently.
Read “RIAA Celebrates 15 Year Jail Sentence For Movie and Music Pirate” on TorrentFreak (thanks, Danny!).
The revolution will not be televised, but if you have a cable subscription, you can log in to WatchRevolutions.com and use their authenticator to watch the revolution. Just provide your username and password, and you will have access to the revolution live, plus alternate angles, commentary, and the ability to share your login with up two more IP addresses.
Read THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. at McSweeney’s.
Everyone agrees that a consumer plaintiff who prevails in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuit is entitled to get his or her attorney fees and costs paid by the debt collector defendant. But in Marx v. General Revenue Corporation, the question is whether, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a debt collector can collect costs from an unsuccessful plaintiff. In other words, does the FDCPA apply, or do the rules of civil procedure?
This is a Really Big Deal, because if debt collectors can collect costs from unsuccessful plaintiffs, it will make it riskier to sue debt collectors. Quite apart from the law, the whole point of the FDCPA is to provide a formidable check on debt collection abuses. Damages in these cases are small, so if they cannot recover attorney fees and costs — or if they risk having to pay substantial costs — they will not sue.
If you want people to be able to stop debt collection abuses, then you cannot increase the risk. Doing so will render the FDCPA far less effective as a check on debt collection abuses. If you think consumers and consumer lawyers are running amok, then I suppose you favor the debt collector’s position.
Read Argument preview: Court considers litigation expenses in debt-collection disputes on SCOTUSblog. (Thanks, Graham!)
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Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it would finally start taking a good, hard look at the debt collection industry. It’s about time. Few industries need the attention more.
The CFPB also released 3 resources (all in PDF format):
Read Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to oversee debt collectors from the CFPB.
PayPal is the latest to join a growing list of companies (including eBay) who want to keep consumers out of courts and class actions. You can opt out of mandatory binding arbitration, at least, but you’ll be stuck with the class action ban either way. Opting out is not easy. Here’s what you have to do:
You can choose to reject this Agreement to Arbitrate (“opt out”) by mailing us a written opt-out notice (“Opt-Out Notice”). For new PayPal users, the Opt-Out Notice must be postmarked no later than 30 Days after the date you accept the User Agreement for the first time. If you are already a current PayPal user and previously accepted the User Agreement prior to the introduction of this Agreement to Arbitrate, the Opt-Out Notice must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2012. You must mail the Opt-Out Notice to PayPal, Inc., Attn: Litigation Department, 2211 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95131.
Among the for-profit colleges targeted by a Senate committee led by Senator Tom Harkin are Minnesota schools Capella University, Walden University, and Rasmussen College. While the committee won’t investigate every for-profit school MPR reports that Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business are engaged in similar practices.
[The] allegations paint a picture of schools that target students eligible for subsidized loans and grants, but who have low prospects for academic success. They also raise questions about whether students at those schools — and the taxpayers who subsidize them — are getting their money’s worth.
Read For-profit Globe University’s recruitment, revenue tactics questioned [via Bob Collins]
“The amount of defaulted loans — $76 billion — is greater than the yearly tuition bill for all students at public two- and four-year colleges and universities.”
Read Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loans on the NYT [via NextDraft]
Yesterday, Paul Ryan and his campaign put themselves firmly in the bullshit category, at least when it comes to bankruptcy statistics. Ryan said:
In 1980 under Jimmy Carter, 330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy. Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy.
Read Paul Ryan’s Bullshit About Bankruptcy Data at Credit Slips.
From Das Krapital’s Moe Tkacik:
The student loan shark bubble will, after all, ultimately prove far worse for business than the subprime mortgage bubble. But it also demonstrates that the shadowy ruling elite’s overwhelming contempt towards its citizenry runs deeper and dates back farther than full time chroniclers of American decline ever believed.
Read The student loan crisis that can’t be gotten rid of on Reuters. [Aaron!]