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Music

Judge Lowers Jammie Thomas' Damages to $54,000 390

An anonymous reader writes "Judge Michael Davis has slashed the amount Jammie Thomas-Rassett is said to owe Big Music from almost $2,000,000 to $54,000. 'The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.' The full decision (PDF) is also available."
Government

"Right To Repair" Bill Advances In Massachusetts 478

Wannabe Code Monkey sends along an article from the Patriot Ledger about an effort in Massachusetts to pass a "Right to Repair" bill. "Since the advent of congressionally mandated computers in vehicles more than 15 years ago (for emissions), cars have evolved into complex machines that are no longer just mechanical. Computers now monitor and control most systems in the car from brakes to tire pressure and all the electronics and engine fluids... [and] car manufacturers continue to hold back on some of the information that your mechanic needs in order to properly repair your car and reset your codes and warning lights... Massachusetts is now poised to solve this problem and car-driving consumers should pay attention this fall when the Massachusetts Legislature takes up landmark legislation that would force manufacturers to respect the right of consumers to access their own repair information. The legislation, known as Right to Repair, is seen by car manufacturers as a threat to the lucrative service business in their dealerships and they are massing their lobbyists on Beacon Hill in an effort to defeat it."
Privacy

Middle-School Strip Search Ruled Unconstitutional 528

yuna49 writes "The US Supreme Court today ruled 8-1 that the strip search of a 13-year-old girl by officials in an Arizona middle school was unconstitutional. However, by a vote of 7-2, the Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable. A suit for damages against the school district itself is still going forward. We discussed this case at length back in March when the Court decided to hear the case on appeal."
The Internet

Harvard Study Says Weak Copyright Benefits Society 326

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist summarizes an important new study on file sharing from economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf. The Harvard Business School working paper finds that given the increase in artistic production along with the greater public access conclude that 'weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society.' The authors point out that file sharing may not result in reduced incentives to create if the willingness to pay for 'complements' such as concerts or author speaking tours increases."

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