Downloading copyright material without the permission of rightsholders is often portrayed as a heinous crime and treated as such by many judges across the United States. But what is an appropriate punishment for this apparently increasingly wicked act? Multi-million dollar fines? Jail? For one sixteen year-old girl using file-sharing software KaZaA, it was a savage beating, delivered by the leather belt of her father, Judge William Adams. And it was all caught on camera.
These days it’s a rare week if news of some insane overreaction to illegal file-sharing isn’t being reported in the media.
We’ve seen some of the worst examples – the multi-million dollar fines, the jail sentences, PROTECTIP, SOPA, right through to the ordinary guy in the street being blackmailed by copyright trolls for a few thousands dollars.
None of these ‘punishments’ can proceed without the supposedly most upstanding members of our community that we call judges signing off on them. Judges rule on these cases, they decide on the levels of fines, they sign off on the ‘John Doe’ lawsuits.
Equally, some of them have even ruled against cruel and unusual punishments for file-sharers but not so Texas Judge William Adams, who prefers to administer punishment himself, in his own home, savagely – with a leather belt.
Below we have embedded a video shot in 2004, apparently just uploaded to YouTube by Adams’ then 16-year-old daughter Hillary Adams, the target of the cruel punishment.
“Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time,” the video’s description begins.
“She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father’s backwards views.”
Hillary had been using the KaZaA file-sharing software to obtain music and games, a point mentioned by her mother towards the end of the video.
Gawker spoke with Hillary’s friend J. Andre Bardin who confirmed the man in the video is Judge Adams.
“That’s his voice, that’s his mannerisms, and that is his house,” Bardin said.
Hillary, who is now 23, says she decided to release the video because her father is up for re-election next week and she doesn’t want that to happen. A Facebook page called “Don’t Re-Elect Judge William Adams” can be found here.
A Reddit thread, dissecting Judge Adams’ life and rulings in the way only they know how, can be found here.
Of course, it would be completely unfair and wrong to suggest that this sort of disgusting behavior is common among judges. Many of them are upstanding citizens whose judgment is highly valued in a civilized society and this guy would have probably behaved the same way if he had pursued another profession.
Warning: Some will find the video extremely upsetting.
Mirror here (Liveleak)