A school teacher in France has just received a lesson of his own — don’t piss off music copyright owners. The man was the latest to get his legal ass kicked over online file trading when he was fined 10,200 euros for doling out hundreds of albums on the Internet, according to the BBC.
That’s over $16,000 Canadian, so this was a pretty hefty fine. The money will go directly to the copyright companies (the guys who pay out money to artists) who were actually seeking more than twice that amount. Teach, they said, was one of the biggest offenders authorities could find, so they were aiming to use his punishment to set an example.
The man actually was a bit of an MP3 nut — apparently he transferred over 30 gigs of music, which works out to about 615 albums, or 10,000 songs. Along with the fine, his computer was confiscated and he was ordered to take out and pay for newspaper ads letting others know about the verdict and punishment.
Seem over the top? Not so much — in France there’s a maximum fine of 30,000 euros for file trading, which can go hand-in-hand with a possible three-year jail stint. If this makes you scream “Sacre bleu!” you’re not the only one — there’s currently a petition in the country calling for a halt of these “absurd lawsuits.”
About 70 musicians, academics and politicians have signed the statement, which reads: “Like at least eight million other French people, we have also downloaded music online and are thus part of a growing number of ‘criminals.’”
Since France’s music and politics aren’t popular in the bulk of Canada, the only signees you’re likely to recognize are punky multi-culturalist musician and political activist Manu Chao, composer Pierre Bertrand, and Yann Tiersen, the guy responsible for the music in the movie Amelie.
Meanwhile, in other file-sharing news, Napster is once again trying to entice surfers back to its newly legal service. The headphoned cat that kicked off illegal downloading mania in the ’90s announced today a new program that they hope will compete with iTunes massive popularity.
Dubbed Napster To Go, the new service will make subscribers pay a flat rate, allowing them to download unlimited music onto their own portable MP3 player (and their PC of course). As long as the user plugs their player into a computer each month (so it can connect with Napster and confirm the subscription is paid for) the music files are playable. When the subscription runs out, however, the files will no longer work.
Some heavy promotion for Napster To Go will start with a Superbowl ad on Sunday.