Corporate America’s Two Sets of Laws

Today, the music recording companies obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $1.9 million today against a woman who illegally downloaded 24 songs.  That’s $80,000 for each $.99 song she jacked.

The statute under which the fine was assessed actually allowed for up to $150,000 for each violation.  That is, if you illegally download one 99 cent song you can be subject to a fine 150,000 times larger than any actual damages you may have caused.

When Exxon caused $507 million in actual damages to Alaska as a result of the Valdez oil spill, a jury tacked on $5 billion in punitive damages; that is a penalty of 10 times the actual damages caused by the spill.  No need to worry if your corporation, however.  The Supreme Court rode to Exxon’s rescue and trimmed the punitive damages to $507 million; limiting the punitive damages to a 1-to-1 ratio with actual damages.

Even worse, corporate America, enabled largely by rightwingers, has pushed hard and made significant gains in capping the amounts of actual damages that can be recovered in cases in which corporations are likely to be defendants or for which insurers may have to provide coverage.  That is, even tough a jury might find a person’s actual damages are $1 million, if your state has a cap on that particular claim, say $500,000 on a wrongful death suit you brought for the death of your kid, you don’t get your actual damages, but the reduced amount.

So we have two systems, one in which corporations can reign down financial ruin on individuals for the most minor wrongs and a second for cases in which corporation’s are likely to be defendants or insurer’s are subject to paying coverage..  In the latter, you’d be lucky to recover your actual damages and you’ll be told to go get fucked if you thought a corporation should be subject to a penalty that might actually cause it to change the despicanble behavior it engaged in causing you injury.

2 Responses to “Corporate America’s Two Sets of Laws”

  1. JohnHolmes says:

    This Music Industry BS is out of control. The people have been jacked by the Music Industry, not the other way around. Let’s use the Beatles as an example. I bought their vinyl, some singles, then 8 Tracks, cassettes, … CD’s, Collections, greatest Hits, now Video Disks and MP3’s … so over the years people have bought the same music … the same songs …over and over in a different formats because we have to … while the Industry makes more money. .. we probably agree a bit here ..

    Shouldn’t we sue the F’ing music industry??

    As for all these greedy Corporations .. well maybe some are, others are honest people who end up getting raped by greedy Lawyers, often for accidents or small unforeseen issues. What have you got to say about all the Democrat backed Greedy Lawyers Macswain? Lawyers produce nothing, this overpopulation of Lawyers is a drag on the economy.

  2. muffler says:

    I think we should stop buying music all together. I have all the music I need from my CD days and I have a radio. Let the industry be punished by a boycott. The end is near for them anyway. They will never see the 1.9 million dollars and they will not even be able to pay for their shiny offices. The music business is a joke.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook