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Florida prisons sued for erasing $11M worth of prisoner music purchases (theverge.com)
175 points by Tomte 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 103 comments



Sadly, disowning the customer is very common in the new age of digital copyright enforcement.

For example, your itunes collection is specific to you. If you die, it's deleted and is not transfered to your heirs. Similarly, Amazon is removing any books you purchased from your kindles if the seller sold them illegally. Also, if you violate any of their terms of service, they often delete the entire collection as well.

IMO there should be a law requiring digital licenses of any content to be fungible similar to physical copies. You should be allowed to transfer them to another service, even if the service stops existing, or they believe you breached some contract.

This would make licenses even more fungible than bank money is today: right now if a bank goes bankrupt, you might not see any money in your accounts, even though it's your money and you are no investor or anything. It's because every bank is "minting" it's own currency. There are models which are different where you have a central bank handing out digital money to the banks.


This is why I do not feel any guilt in acquiring a DRM-free copy of media I purchased digitally (not talking about subscription-based lease like Spotify, etc).

If I bought a eBook or any kind of media without an expiration date, I want to be in full control. I will buy first from DRM-free stores like Bandcamp or GOG.


At least with music it's a solved problem. Pretty much any digital music you can buy today is DRM free already.


That’s pretty much true with DRM free music files though isn’t it? That’s one of the few bright lights in the whole digital media space. My MP3s aren’t tied to either Apple or Amazon.


The file is fungible and that's great, but the license isn't. It's still bound to Amazon/Apple etc. and you can't give it to someone else, without Apple's/Amazon's permission. With CDs/DVDs, Walmart or wherever you bought the CD from, has no say onto what you do with it afterwards. Whether you give it to someone else, sell it, etc.

Of course, if you have a perfectly fungible system, you could have websites where you are being lended a medium for a short time (e.g. one day) for really low amounts of money and of course this would be bad for content creators as it would dramatically lower the sales. However, that can be countered by other means e.g. minimum restriction on lending duration (e.g. one day) and fees that content creators get on ownership transfer and each lending interaction (e.g. 5% for the first 5 years after movie release, afterwards 1%).


All that (may) be true in theory. In practice, absolutely nothing keeps you from sharing MP3s with friends so long as it’s not with your 10,000 closest friends and I’m not sure how seriously the publishers even care about that any longer given the rise of streaming.


They were for ages. I’m not really sure how non-drm won out but I’m glad it did


It’s an interesting question and it’s a function of the dynamics of the time. Steve Jobs probably deserves a fair bit of credit.


> This would make licenses even more fungible than bank money is today: right now if a bank goes bankrupt, you might not see any money in your accounts, even though it's your money and you are no investor or anything. It's because every bank is "minting" it's own currency. There are models which are different where you have a central bank handing out digital money to the banks.

Not true. Banks aren't minting their own money, and your money is insured. https://www.fdic.gov/


They don't physically mint it, but they certainly create money out of nowhere to put into bank accounts that people can then go out and spend.


There's a lot of misleading stuff said about fractional reserve banking. People imply that banks are allowed to just create as much new money as they want out of nowhere, when it just means lending some of the money that they've received in deposits. Sure it does increase the money supply, but it's not "minting their own currency".


> Sure it does increase the money supply

Not only does it increase the money supply, but the extra money created belongs to the bank. It's pretty much equivalent to being able to print money (with the caveat that there are limit's on how much hey can "print").

We could have a system where that money was simply given to people, not given to banks who then loan it out to people. And IMO that would have a very positive effect om our economy.


It doesn't belong to the bank. They've borrowed it from the depositors, who can take it back at any time. It's only created in the sense that the person they've lent it to can spend it while the depositor still has it in their account.

Edit: to illustrate this, try this thought experiment. Borrow $10 from a friend. Lend $5 of that to another friend. Congratulations, you've just increased the money supply by $5. That's the exact same method used by banks, but you'd not claim that you're now $5 richer or that you've effectively printed $5.


Your thought experiment is, I believe, invalid.

The bank does not hand around five dollar bills. The bank simply changes a number, and in doing so changes the contents of an account, increasing it by five dollars. Five dollars that can now be spent.

I would argue that this five dollars has effectively been printed. It was magiced out of thin air. How is it not five dollars? I can spend it.

I believe your thought experiment should be worded thus:

Have a friend write "ten dollars" on a piece of paper (bank account), and give it to you. Everyone will accept this as ten dollars. Write "five dollars" on another piece of paper (bank account), and give it to another friend. Everyone will accept this as five dollars. All the other pieces of paper (bank accounts) that existed beforehand still exist. You now also have two new pieces of paper, which will be accepted as fifteen dollars. Fifteen dollars, magiced out of nowhere. This is how the banks do it; they just write on the bank account how much money is in it.


Fractional reserve banking still works with dollar bills (and did for hundreds of years). It even works with gold. Customer 1 deposits ten dollar bills. Bank records it in their ledger. Bank then lends five of those bills to customer 2. Now there's an extra $5 in the money supply, because the deposit in cutomer 1's account counts as money, and the $5 lent to customer 2 also counts as money. Nobody is any richer, as customer 2 owes the $5 to the bank, and the bank owes the $5 to customer 1, but there's an extra $5 in circulation. No printing required.


Actually the bank is richer by $5 * the difference in interest rate they charge customer 1 vs customer 2.


Fractional reserve banking is actually the opposite. Borrow 5 bucks from a friend (central bank) and lend 10 bucks to your clients.

Your example does not increase yhe money supply.

The ratio is closer to 11%.


No, banks can't lend more than they borrow (and most of the money they borrow is deposits from customers and loans from other banks, not the central bank). They can lend part of the money they take in deposits, but they must hold a fraction of it in reserve – hence fractional-reserve banking. The minimum reserve is set in law.


We all had 50$.

Me: 50$ Friend 1: 50$ Friend 2: 50$

Total: 150$

I borrow 10$ from Friend 1:

Me: 60$ Friend 1: 40$ Friend 2: 50$

Total: 150$

Friend 2 borrow 5$ from me:

Me: 55$ ( I owe 10$) Friend 1: 40$ Friend 2: 55$

Total: 150$

I didn't increased the money supply.

> It's only created in the sense that the person they've lent it to can spend it while the depositor still has it in their account.

That's the thing, the depositor can still use that money. Friend 1 can't spend 50$ right now, only 40$, while the depositor in a bank, can still spend 50$.


It increases the money supply because instant access deposits are counted as money. My thought experiment isn't strictly correct, as the money lent by our friend isn't going to meet the criteria for instant access deposits, but the principle is the same. The "magic" thing about banks is that when you lend them money, it still counts as money that you have.

The workings in your example if I am a bank:

Me: $50, customer 1: $50, customer 2: $50. Total $150.

Customer 1 deposits $5 with me and I lend it to customer 2.

Me: $50 (my reserves are unchanged), customer 1: $50 (because for the purposes of money supply, the deposit still counts as their money). Customer 2: $55. Total $155.

The counter intuitive bit is the fact that money supply treats deposits as money.


People imply that banks are allowed to just create as much new money as they want out of nowhere, when it just means lending some of the money that they've received in deposits

I disagree. They are not simply lending out money that other people deposited. They created new money, out of nowhere. There is a limit on how much of this they can do, but they are not simply lending out money that other people deposited. The bank of England is pretty clear that this money is magiced up out of nowhere; that it is money that did not exist before.

"Therefore, if you borrow £100 from the bank, and it credits your account with the amount, ‘new money’ has been created. It didn’t exist until it was credited to your account."

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/how-is-money-c...


It's magiced out of nowhere because even though they need to take a deposit before they lend it, the original deposit remains as a line in the customer's account after it's been lent. It works because people don't normally all try to withdraw their money at the same time.


I don't disagree with that; I disagreed with the assertion that they weren't magicing it out of nowhere, but I see that you do actually state that it is magiced out of nowhere.


> Not true. Banks aren't minting their own money, and your money is insured.

Totally true (aka fractional reserve banking) and is one of the main reasons (a portion of) your deposits are insured.


Didn't the iTunes Store stop using DRM (m4p) for music files a long time ago?


The files themselves aren't encrypted any more but the licence they use still restricts you more than a physical CD would.


I'm curious how something like transferring to another service would work. The other service has a cost to endure per item, too (CDN costs, etc). It would seem unreasonable not to compensate the new "host". Do we have a fee to transfer from, say, Amazon Videos to iTunes of 10-15% of the market rate for the content?

EDIT: yeesh, downvotes galore for something I figured only made economical sense ..


The CDN and storage costs are close enough to $0 that I think they could fairly safely be ignored in light of the river of money flowing to those licensing content.


Developing, support, and other costs are not $0. I'm all for portability, but I'm also for compensation to keep it working smoothly..


So what the prison should do is take a hit for their mess up and compensate the new service so everyone can keep their music.


In this case, yes, I was generalizing the future in general.


In theory the content provider has already been paid so the main cost would be a simple database import IMHO.

Though if I were the company who just lost such a juicy contract I'd tell them to go pound sand when they asked for a database dump.


I'm referring to more than just this case. In the future, if I purchased from Amazon a movie, and I transferred it to iTunes, how did iTunes get paid? They didn't.


Could they not just accept it as a cost of doing business? If I can transfer my library to iTunes, I'm more likely to spend money with them in the future.


Isn't life in prison hell allready, by beeing locked in?

Why make it more miserable on purpose and forbid people to use a own mp3 player? (aside from exploiting money)

And why not allow a smartphone or laptop with internet access in general? (and only make exceptions for cartell leaders etc. to not let them continue their buisness inside)

How can you hope to reintegrate people back to society, if you allmost totally disconnect them from normal people and give them only other disconnected criminals to interact with?


The goal isn't to reintegrate, it's to get revenge and make victims and communities feel better about themselves for it.

If they go back into the system after release, then they clearly deserve more punishment.

There is zero tolerance or compassion in such a system so these people are ripe for all kinds of abuse. Rape, for example, is just something to laugh about in that context.


Truth to be told, most people who end up in prison for violence/gang/drugdealing stuff are just not worth much pity. Cold hearted criminals just love to abuse the trust of the average people, this has been seen like a million times already. Alternatively we can label them as animals not responsible for their actions.


That’s a straw man if I’ve ever see one.

Regardless of their actions or how people view them, they’re still human beings with rights the should be protected like anyone else’s.


Further more, this lack of concern is probably what encourages them back into the life of crime. What else do you do when society is hell-bent on shunning you?


Exactly. Shunning encourages antisocial behaviour.

If we actually want to break the cycle, we need to seriously reduce adverse childhood experiences.


"drugdealing" "just not worth much pity"

Sure thing. Those cold hearted pushers who make people addicted to the killerdrug marijuhana for example, do not deserve the smallest pitty. Put them all in a dark hole where no sun shines, serves them right.


> And why not allow a smartphone or laptop with internet access in general?

One big reason is because inmate access to communication with the outside world always results in numerous complaints of harassment, usually from inmates' (ex) significant others.

Internet access makes it too easy for inmates to conduct this remote abuse while hiding evidence that they did so.


> Internet access makes it too easy for inmates to conduct this remote abuse while hiding evidence that they did so.

Setup a web proxy that only allows outbound port 80 and 443, MITMs all port 443 traffic, only GET and HEAD (no PUT/POST/CONNECT), and only to a select list of pre-approved domains (e.g. wikipedia.org, news/educational/government websites, etc), and which records all traffic. Risk of harassment from such a setup seems pretty low, and the inmates might learn something useful.


> only to a select list of pre-approved domains > and which records all traffic

If a prisoner is researching their own appeal, or communicating with a lawyer about such, wouldn't these restrictions hamper their access to a fair and competent representation?


They could build a special email system that allows inmates to send/receive encrypted emails with their lawyer only. The TLS MITM could be turned off for that site only.


Cartel owner: Can I borrow your laptop?


A cartel head is going to be in a prison without such ammenities, and surely doesn’t need to be in general population with people who sold some street level drugs or burglarized someone. El Chapomfor example is going to lovely ADX Florence, where he will have a poured concrete bed, a toilet-sink unit, an open shower with a 1 minute timer, a slit window with a view of nothing, and only 5 hours a week outside his cell. During those five hours he’ll be in a concrete hole in the ground that’s 10 steps from end to end, and only a view of the sky.

If he is very good he might get a small black and white television with limited access.


Yes you can said the snitch...

Obviously there can be surveillance for dangerous people.


Strip SSL, wait until the cartel uses OTP.


What is the meaning of OTP in this context? One time pad crypto?


Yeah.


definitely worked pretty well so far


You mean in those cases where the cartell leader basically owned the prison? Yeah well, in those cases they do not even need telephone or internet, they just tell their subordinates.


It seems like every private sector prison services company is abusing prisoners for profit. Whether it's outrageously expensive phone calls, this nonsense, or the worst quality food they could find, it's disappointing to see the profit motive crush human dignity.

Prisions should serve to reform inmates, not slowly antagonize them every day.


> Demler’s complaint involves Florida’s digital music player program, which let inmates buy a specially designed media player for $99 or $119, then buy individual songs or audiobooks for $1.70 apiece.

I guess that the bigger is the inmate population the easier is to make more money.

> But in 2018, the FDOC switched to a new company called JPay, which didn’t honor the earlier purchases. The agency required inmates to trade in their music players for new multimedia tablets, or to pay $25 and have the players shipped to someone outside prison.

That is a perfect business. You have literally captivated customers.

I think that USA do not see inmates as human beings. That is the only way to explain what happens there. But, they are human and abusing them is as much as a crime as abusing anyone else.


The 13th amendment to the constitution (emphasis mine): “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States”

I think it’s important to frame any discussion of criminal justice reform in the US in the fact that our modern legal system is built on laws and loopholes, beginning with the 13th amendment, that exist solely to criminalize and reenslave huge portions of the population.

I highly recommend the documentary “13th” on Netflix for more info.


Yeah, the US has specifically been criticized for this by the UN International Labor Organization. They definitely frown upon the US prison farms and allowing private organizations to utilize prisoners for below-market-rate work. If you want to see a great way of undercutting US blue collar worker salaries, it's hard to compete with "free and mandatory."


Oh but it's not "mandatory" if they restrict privileges for everyone and then offer them back for labor. Or jack up prices for monopoly goods and services and then offer jobs, which is illegal in "compared towns" outside of prison.


> I think that USA do not see inmates as human beings. That is the only way to explain what happens there. But, they are human and abusing them is as much as a crime as abusing anyone else.

Most people in the US don't. Which, combined with its history of racism, goes a long way towards explaining the school-to-prison pipeline.


Law enforcement and prison unions have a financial interest to support mass incarceration. They lobby against drug legalization and have a history of systematic violence. I wonder which way union members vote.


> history of racism

US is one of the least racist - up to and including freeing slaves.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15...


The article is about something else -- whether people admit racism to a survey. Americans know that racism is "politically incorrect".

How many countries had millions of slaves (15% of the population) to free?

Also interesting that you say "up to and including freeing slaves", which excluded the racially founded prison industrial complex that was created to replac e slavery after the 13th Amendment.

Not saying US is the worst, am saying not to ignore USA's ugly history and present, especially USA claims to be the world leader in freedom and human rights.


I certainly agree with you that, on the whole, the US is a far more tolerant country than many of us give it credit for. However, the US was pretty late to the game to abolishing slavery; and it only did so after being dragged kicking and screaming [0]. The south then did everything in its power to resurrect de-facto slavery. And that is just the anti-black racism.

[0] Even the North didn't support abolishing slavery until after the Civil war started, at which point the argument was largely 'we just fought and won a war over this, lets at least get something out of it".


Slavery, Chinese exclusion act, Japanese internment, Jim crow laws, are just some examples of the times public policy was explicitly racist. A bunch more things are implicitly racist, with the war on drugs being one of them (interestingly one of Nixon's aides said that the war on drugs was essentially made to criminalize black people and hippies).


i think you need to read up on your history, especially regarding when and why the prison system was founded.

also, that link is regarding a survey asking people if they think they are racist, it’s hardly objective


> I think that USA do not see inmates as human beings.

I think the US doesn't see most of its citizens as human beings, let alone its inmates. That is indeed the root of this and many problems.


[flagged]


It would be besides the point, except it's not. Politicians, super rich people, and companies that disregard/disrespect the law rarely end up with long prison sentences (or any meaningful punishment). If punishment was applied uniformly, maybe you'd have more people respecting the law?


>Politicians, super rich people, and companies that disregard/disrespect the law rarely end up with long prison sentences (or any meaningful punishment).

That's something we've got to fix. But just because that happens, it doesn't mean we don't have to be hard on "not elite" criminals.

>If punishment was applied uniformly, maybe you'd have more people respecting the law?

I don't believe so. You think crack dealers, murderers or rapists do their thing because Mr. Richguy didn't go to prison for stealing a few millions? I don't see how those two things are related at all.

Maybe the case of some anarchist terrorists who wanted to sow discord through crime, but that's a tiny minority.


Yeah, that's not true though. It depends on what your objectives are. Throwing away people who aren't well suited currently to living in society into a bin with a whole bunch of other such people, exploiting them, abusing them then releasing them back into society is a surefire plan for the 76% recidivism rates in the US. [1]

If you wrote an algorithm, then some tests, and your tests showed it failed 76% of the time, do you really think you'd look at that and think: "great, it's working, so let's do more of that?" If so, I doubt you'd be long for the world of paid employment. Yet that's exactly what you're advocating here. Assuming, that is, your goal is to reduce crime.

Let's re-frame the conversation. If 76% of high school students failed to graduate, would you point at that and say the kids are scum, failures, it's their fault they couldn't hack it? Clearly the system works. Here's a pick-axe and a hard hat, good luck with your future in the coal mines. Or would you say hmm, clearly there's room for improvement in the way we teach people or the things we teach? Let's figure out how to fix this.

Now if you just want an institutionalized way to abuse people, it definitely fits the bill.

[1] https://www.ussc.gov/research/research-reports/recidivism-am...


[flagged]


It's interesting, I often wonder where people who share your mindset get their philosophies and worldview, as if the world were black and white, good and evil, fair and meritocratic. I thought we knew better than that now?

The reality is that other systems in the world have much, much lower recidivism rates (20% in Norway, where they actually treat people humanely [1] the trope goes). The incarceration rates in the US are off the charts [2] and the recidivism rates are too. So either the people born in the US are overwhelmingly more likely to "just be scum who belong in prison for some reason" or there's more at play here, institutionally speaking. And furthermore, what happened in 1980 [3] that made huge portions of the population (3X more) suddenly "become scum"?

You absolutely can change peoples behavior. People don't want to be bad people. Some don't know how, and the evidence shows if you show them a better way, they grow and respond. Giving people room to live up to your expectations works, whether in your day job in management or in prisoner rehabilitation. The data bears that out. Yeah, definitely not everyone, but it's fair to say that we can do better.

On a joking note, I do wish you luck in your testing career ;)

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/why-norways-prison-system-is...

[2] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/10/incarceration

[3] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._incarceration_r...


>So either the people born in the US are overwhelmingly more likely to "just be scum who belong in prison for some reason"

There's a lot of people who literally believe this, and most of their reasoning boils down to "Norway is all white". Have you ever heard "America is different, X can't work here because America is so diverse"?


Thing is, I totally randomly met a British criminologist while visiting Svalbard a few years ago and I spent a while talking to him. He generally agrees that homogeneity reduces problems in a society. If everyone's the same, everyone kind of gets along. There is merit to that argument for better or worse, although I believe we can also move past that in time.

Regarding incarceration rates specifically, the next 3 leading jailers behind the US (Russia, the Ukraine and Poland) are unbelievably homogeneous. I believe Poland is almost 97% white [1]. They're my people, so I think I can safely say, they consider a mild tan to represent diversity. There are homogenous countries that lock people up, and there are homogenous countries that don't. There are also diverse countries that lock people up, and diverse countries that don't.

I was trying to be very careful in not comparing Norway's incarceration rate (which is, itself, 1/10th of the US) but rather their substantially lower recidivism rate which I think one can more easily treat as an apples-to-apples comparison, meaning that there is room to improve on the process.

[1] https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2005-10-16-051015...


Have you ever met these people? How do you know they can’t function in society?



> it doesn't mean we don't have to be hard on "not elite" criminals.

Does being hard mean scamming them? Because that's what we're talking about here, not about applying longer sentences or other harsh punishments.


It’s often not even the prisoners who are scammed - the people paying for these things are disproportionately the wives, girlfriends and children left behind.


Not only is GP correct in that there are plenty of people that unduly evade prison, there's also plenty of people in there that don't belong there at all (innocents, but also folks that could have gotten off with community service or house arrest or ...).

In short, the US prison population is sufficiently skewed away from justice that holding incarceration against someone is disingenuous.


I'd say that the biggest cases of disrespect for the law, by far, are committed by those who hijack the concept itself in an attempt to force their morality on everyone else - eg the perpetrators of drug criminalization.

Law only works when the transgressors are few. When the law is at odds with society, society adopts to being at odds with the law. If one truly believes in the rule of law, then it behooves them to reject nonsensical applications of it that undermine its credibility.


What percent of the prison population do you think has no respect for the law?

Some of them have disrespect for some laws, which can be entirely reasonable and not make them lesser at all.

Some of them were desperate.

Very few fall into the bucket you described.


[flagged]


If you've ever crossed the street unlawfully, in certain states you've committed a misdemeanor. Usually handled via a fine, if you can't pay the fine, you may end up in prison. Or if you're an 84 year old man in New York during a crackdown, I suppose [1]. So people who jaywalk are the scum of the earth now? Fascinating.

If you're a green card holder and leave the card at home, and run into a law enforcement officer, that's a $100 fine or 1 month in jail. Luckily I've got my photocopy here, ah wait, that's insufficient. Good point -- scum of the earth, I'll see myself to jail.

You can go to jail for possessing a lobster less than 3.25" long even if you found it washed up on shore, you absolute monster [3]. Have you, yourself, ever held a short lobster? Remember! Not knowing isn't an excuse either!

Nobody even knows how many federal laws there are [4]. We've tried to count them and failed a number of times. Stalin's head of secret police once said "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime" -- well, if the set of crimes in the US is un-countable, I bet you that works equally well here.

I've never met you, but I guarantee, you've accrued enough potential legal liability to spend the rest of your miserable life in prison, and yet you're out wandering around, calling others scum (in a different thread) and showing off that you've never been to prison. So what's difference? Luck I guess.

[1] https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2014/01/21/84-year-old-jaywalker...

[2] https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/do-i-really-need-car...

[3] https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/no/dmf-lobster-...

[4] https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304319804576389...


Well said. Law can find a way to trouble you if someone in power decides you should be targeted. It is as simple as that.

And being treated like a sub-human in a prison you got thrown into, for what you consider to be an unjust decision is bound to make you resent the law and increase your chances of ending up there again. How is he not seeing that?


For more on this topic, see Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate.

https://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp...


> Ah, so I get to pick which laws I obey and which laws I don't?

You're still a criminal, but depending on how you picked the laws you're probably not subhuman.

> Not an excuse.

It's not a legal defense (usually), but it's a defense against being antithetical to society itself.


You already pick which laws you obey and which you do not.


"Free-will"!? That's that, there commie-speak! /s


>Ah, so I get to pick which laws I obey and which laws I don't?

What is the context for this response?

>Not an excuse.

Not an excuse for what? Treating criminals like human beings?


> That is the only way to explain what happens there.

There's another explanation:

Hanlon's razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."


But there isn't really any "stupid" here, it's just plain greed. All these prison companies that charge outrageous prices (I mean $1.70 per song?? A $119 mp3 player when you can get one on Amazon for $20??) to poor people simply because they can. Don't even get me started on phone call rates, but check out https://www.prisonphonejustice.org if you care for more evidence.

I'm not a religious person, but sometimes I truly wish hell exists so that these prison profiteers, who have sold their soul to the devil, at least get what they deserve in the afterlife.


Do the people who signed the agreement actually understand DRM? Did they understand the ripple effects?

Or did they just sign because . . .


Whilst I would agree with Hanlon's razor possibly being applicable here, there is another (unwritten) rule (can we call it the HN Law?) that says that as soon as you invalidate the value of someone's life, no matter the context, you automatically ascribe approval of any potential abuses against them.


I think if you didn't see inmates as human beings you wouldn't allow music players at all.


You needn't recognize one's humanity to exploit their capital...


I think that USA do not see inmates as human beings. That is the only way to explain what happens there. But, they are human and abusing them is as much as a crime as abusing anyone else.

While I agree, I think this is more corporations do not give af about their customers. How many music services have done this? I don't have a count, but I've heard of a few.


Tucked as an aside at the end of a paragraph:

   (They could also pay to ship a CD containing the music)
How much was that? Strangely lots of other prices are mentioned, but not that price. My guess is that it was low and possibly reasonable. Not that it really excuses the prisoners getting sort of f'ed over, just that it would kind of cut into the article's main thrust.


No inmate service is ever low- or reasonably-priced.

It costs inmates $1/minute just to make a domestic phone call.

Even the digital items purchased are almost 2x retail price.

May not seem like much to you, but also mind that prison wages are measured in cents and subject to taxation.


What are the prisoners supposed to do with a CD they're not allowed to have in prison?


I think you're kind of missing the point of my comment.

The article's point is that they lost $11 million in songs. My point was that it appears they could have retained that music for probably a small fee, with that CD being sent to someone outside of prison, or maybe sent to them after they left prison (the details aren't in the article, unfortunately).

I'm annoyed that the article glossed over this.


That still leaves the prisoners having to purchase music again if they want to listen to it in prison, despite that being the only reason for the original transaction in the first place.


Presumably they want them in prison though, so it doesn't really address that part of the problem.



What a corrupt nation this is that such practices could come to exist.


The headline was confusing to me...all inmates spent $11M collectively, there isn’t a single inmate who spent $11M on songs.


That's why the headline says "inmates".




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