RIAA Gets $1.9 Million in File-Sharing Case

Jammie Thomas-Rasset was sentenced by a federal jury to pay the Recording Industry Association of America nearly $2 million for 24 counts of copyright infringement, according to multiple online news outlets.

This was the second trial for Thomas-Rasset, after the judge presiding over her first trial issued a mistrial following a $220,000 verdict by the jury.

Thomas-Rasset allegedly illegally downloaded songs from Green Day, Sheryl Crow and others from the peer-to-peer network Kazaa.

Copyright law allows juries to fine a guilty party between $750 and $150,000 per count, ultimately settling on $80,000 owed for each song.

Thomas-Rasset allegedly distributed 1,702 songs on the file sharing network, although the RIAA chose to focus on only 24.

Some constitutional scholars predict this case could be appealed to the Supreme Court, noting that the compensation amount greatly outweighs the injustice done — a clear example of cruel and unusual punishment.

The RIAA is notorious for going after file-sharers. There have been at least 35,000 other lawsuits, all settled out of court for an average $50,000. The RIAA has said they are still willing to persue a settlement with Thomas-Rasset.

During the trial, her defense attorney tried to cast doubt on Thomas-Rasset’s involvement in the file sharing, and illustrated her as a music lover who has already put thousands of dollars in the RIAA’s pocket through legal purchases.

“Defendant is a single mother, residing in greater Minnesota who did not download anything from Kazaa or any other peer to peer network. Ironically, defendant is one of plaintiffs’ best customers having bought hundreds of dollars worth of their CD’s, yet she has shared the same fate as thousands of other individuals who have been sued by various recording company plaintiffs,” the defense said.

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