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Why Is EZ Pass Suing Its Own Customers?

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8 Responses

  1. Paul Gowder says:

    6. The revenues from tolls go to the right place (to the state that is providing a public good), the revenues from CDs go to the wrong place (largely to record companies who are screwing artists just as they’re screwing customers). Toll authorities are public in a way that record companies aren’t. Toll authorities don’t engage in payola. etc. etc.

    7. The penalties of copyright enforcement are grossly disproportionate to the injuries inflicted on the plaintiff (those three thousand dollar settlements offered, followed by large legal fees) compared to toll evasion fines (much smaller, much less brutal legal process).

    8. The connection between toll evasion and revenue loss to the seller is obvious. The similar connection with copyright infringement is not. This, of course, is the heart of the “suing their own customers” argument — many people download single songs and then end up buying the album, etc., and the data on actual revenue impact is highly, highly disputed.

  2. TJ says:

    How about this one:

    a. Toll enforcement is reasonably predictable, or at least perceived to be. If you evade a toll, you have a reasonable probability of being caught, and paying a reasonable fine. All up, paying a toll is probably the cost-benefit justified thing for a consumer to do.

    b. Copyright enforcement is completely unpredictable. If you infringe a copyright: (1) your chance of being caught is infintismal, but (2) the penalties are extremely harsh. All up, however, infringing the copyright is probably the cost-benefit justified thing for a consumer to do. Not to encourage copyright infringement, but that is what it is.

    Lots of lawsuits bring lots of publicity. In the case of tolls, the overall message of the publicity is that you will be caught. In the case of copyright infringement, the message of the publicity is that you won’t be.

  3. student says:

    Thinking in a certain logical fashion, there’s just no way that a fifty-pound sack of horse manure could be outweighed by an ounce of history….

    But, before the statute of 8 Anne there were about two centuries of English experience during which the Stationer’s Company copyright was inextricably intertwined with state censorship and the Court of the Sterred Chamber (Camera stellata, if you prefer).

    True, only about a century of that experience took place in the colonies—as Jamestown wasn’t established till 1607, and Plymouth not until 1620.

    But, following the statute of 8 Anne, copyright has still had an uneasy relationship with a free press. In recent decades, especially in “new media”, we’ve repeatedly seen copright abused as an instrument of censorship.

  4. Flash Gordon says:

    If it respect for tolls that is desired I have a suggestion. Why not restore the honesty in government that used to exist with respect to toll roads?

    That is, all revenue from tolls be strictly dedicated to paying for the cost of building and operating the road. When the road is paid for, abolish the toll. That is what happened in Colorado many years ago when a toll road was built between Denver and Boulder. The toll existed for years, but the day came when the bonds that financed the road were paid off, and the toll booths were torn down.

    How many decades ago was the New York Thruway completely paid for? Several. But the tolls remain and will so remain forever, with the revenue used for all sorts of stupid programs having nothing to do with the highway.

    Consider the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In spite of the toll revenue it is the worst maintained highway in the nation.

    Respect for tolls? It’s a dream and the governments involved have only themselves to blame.

  5. “Why Is EZ Pass Suing Its Own Customers?”

    well, if they’re not paying – isn’t it a stretch to call them customers?

  6. ray says:

    you think its reasonable until they try suing you for $3000 for a couple $0.50 toll violations. I have an E-ZPASS and use the tolls twice a day. Apparently the EZPass system is not linked together at all, so if you have a Maryland account and get a toll violation in Virginia it will not show up under ‘violations’ when you login to your account, and the E-ZPASS system does not notify you when auto-rebill fails for things like credit card expiration date being reached.

  7. Perhaps because people don’t expect EZ Pass and its users to display visible signs of respectful reciprocity towards each other? The relationship is baldly, simply, gloriously commercial in the narrowest sense. Copyright, on the other hand, comes freighted with all sorts of other ethical expectations about how authors and audiences relate to each other.

  8. Bruce Boyden says:

    So if only the record labels were more baldly commercial, there wouldn’t be a problem? ;-)