Singer/songwriter RICHARD MARX has spoken out in defence of a Minnesota housewife who illegally downloaded his songs, insisting he's "ashamed" to be associated with the massive fine she has been dealt.
Jammie Thomas-Rasset has been told she owes the Recording Industry Association of America more than $1.9 million (£1.26 million) after illegally downloading 24 songs.
But Marx, whose songs feature on Thomas-Rasset's illegal hit list, insists the heavy fine makes a mockery of the system, created to catch pirates.
In a statement, the Hazard singer says, "As a longtime professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels.
"These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and, instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets.
"So now we have a judgment in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided, and, at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive.
"Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I’m ashamed to have my name associated with this issue."
Marx isn't the only pop star coming to the Minnesota mum's defence - Moby has also made his feelings known with a message on his website: "What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music?"
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.