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Senator calls for end to excessive fines against file-traders

A little sanity please

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US Senator Norm Coleman has called for new legislation to reduce fines faced by file-traders that have been sued by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Coleman, applying a refreshing dose of sanity to the whole P2P affair, says that fines of between $750 and $150,000 per downloaded song are excessive. The high penalties could well force innocent people to settle with the pigopolist mob out of fear.

"I can tell you that $150,000 per song is not reasonable, and that's technically what you can put in front of somebody," Coleman said in a conference call with reporters, the AP reports. "That forces people to settle when they may want to fight, but they're thinking, 'Goodness, gracious, what am I going to face?'"

Coleman has been questioning the RIAA's tactics for some time and with good reason. The RIAA has flooded US courts with lawsuits that have, for example, 12-year-old girls facing millions of dollars in fines. The reckless approach applied by the music labels has also seen innocent people be hit with massive charges - $300 million in the case of 66-year old woman.

Coleman notes that the RIAA's use of the DMCA to obtain subpoenas and set penalty levels may be outdated.

"The range of penalties was put in when downloading wasn't even thought of," Coleman said, according to the AP.

Coleman hopes to push forth legislation that will lower the fines and also require a judge - and not a lowly clerk - to approve subpoenas, seeking file-traders' information.

The Republican out of Minnesota is calling for some much needed due process to be added to a situation that has spun out of control. ®

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