Print 24 comment(s) - last by Samus.. on Aug 26 at 3:34 AM

Jammie Thomas-Rasset  (Source:
The RIAA believes that the court failed to classify Thomas-Rasset's filesharing as a "distribution" under 106(3) of the Copyright Act

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has spent a lot of time and effort trying to nab file sharers in an effort to deter piracy and put more money back into their own pockets. Ironically, the cost of legal fees to go after those who pirate music seems to outweigh what it wins in these cases. Just last month, DailyTech estimated that the RIAA has paid over $3 million in legal fees to sue file sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset, and now, she may only have to pay the RIAA $54,000 in the end. 

Now, the RIAA is fighting back by appealing the judge's decision to slash the damages award according to Ars Technica. It believes that the court failed to classify Thomas-Rasset's filesharing as a "distribution" under 106(3) of the Copyright Act, and that a small price tag of $54,000 would not prevent others from committing the same act. 

The case is being appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri.

The RIAA's first jury trial with Jammie Thomas-Rasset occurred in 2007, after Thomas-Rasset had shared over 1,700 files on Kazaa 2005. Only 24 of the files were named, including music tracks by AFI, Green Day and Aerosmith. She damages originally came to $222,000, but the case was declared a mistrial since the judge told the jury that "making available" was the same as copyright infringement. 

In 2009, Thomas-Rasset was back in court for another round before the jury. This time, the amount she was ordered to pay rose to $1.92 million, which is $80,000 per song. Shocked and frustrated, all Thomas-Rasset could say was, "Good luck trying to get it, because you can't get blood out of a turnip."

In 2010, the total was cut from 1.92 million to $1.5 million, which is $62,500 per song. Then, the total was cut yet again last month when U.S. District Judge Michael Davis slashed the award from $1.92 million to $54,000, saying that the previous award was "appalling" and disproportionate to the offense. At the same time, he said the new award was still substantial enough to prevent Thomas-Rasset and others from illegally sharing music and other files over the Internet.

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By spamreader1 on 8/23/2011 10:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
The RIAA is probably not going to see very much of the 54k they were awarded they really think trying again to get more makes any sense? (wait, they're lawyers are getting bankrolled by someone else not the defendant)

RE: so...
By spamreader1 on 8/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: so...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/2011 10:08:30 AM , Rating: 5
They aren't trying to get money out of her, they are trying to destroy her life and make an "example" of her. Something our judicial system is supposed to be against and protect us from.

The only example I see is one more example of their dickishness.

RE: so...
By Flunk on 8/23/2011 10:15:50 AM , Rating: 5
What they need is their next trial thrown out of court for harassment.

RE: so...
By AntiM on 8/23/2011 10:32:48 AM , Rating: 3
This whole fiasco has been about the publicity, not about the money. The RIAA got exactly what they were after, whether or not they receive one penny of the awarded damages, they have achieved their goal of making an example of her with lots of media attention. Appealing the judgment serves the same purpose.
Whenever you hear of a grandmother that doesn't even own a computer getting sued by the RIAA, I think this is purposely done for the publicity.

RE: so...
By TSS on 8/23/2011 11:33:59 AM , Rating: 2
Ofcourse it's about the publicity. The RIAA are doing as much as they can to show everybody their untoutchable and they will damn well ruin you if they please.

It's even worse then the mafia since if you don't pay up the police will come get *you*.

IMO, just shoot the heads of the RIAA and the companies that created it, and tell the new heads that'll happen if they ever try something like this again. If it does happen again switch to blowing up entire buildings. It's the only way out. As they themselves clearly show, nobody can sue the RIAA and win. You'll pay, no matter what you'll pay.

The legal system really needs to be reformed or otherwise people will switch to personal justice. Which isn't too far off IMO.

RE: so...
By drycrust3 on 8/23/2011 4:58:12 PM , Rating: 3
I think this is purposely done for the publicity.

The sad thing is that now this lady can never ever be able to live a normal life. One way or another she is now a slave to an impossibly huge debt, because on top of whatever fine she has to pay are her legal costs and their legal costs. If she had committed murder then after 10 - 20 years she'd walk out of jail free, but these people just seem to want to make sure she is a slave to them for the rest of her life. As a non-American I get the feeling that in seeking justice an injustice has been done.

RE: so...
By Samus on 8/23/2011 6:23:51 PM , Rating: 3
I feel so God damn sorry for her.

RE: so...
By Breakfast Susej on 8/23/2011 10:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
People take up collections to help people out of a spot all the time.

Someone should start a trust and solicit donations to raise the $54k in blood money to pay off the MAFIAA and get this woman's life back.

Assuming they don't get their BS 1.5 million award reinstated.

RE: so...
By PrinceGaz on 8/24/2011 2:41:35 PM , Rating: 2
She should write a book (or get someone to write it on her behalf) about the whole ordeal and that should more than cover the $54k and leave her with enough left over to make it all worthwhile.

RE: so...
By Samus on 8/26/2011 3:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
You can bet whatever settle ment she has had/will have, the wont be allowed to make a profit in relation to the case or its substance. The legal hitmen always ink that crap in just to pour salt on the wound.

RE: so...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/2011 3:26:33 PM , Rating: 1
I wish we could sue the RIAA for all the damn tax money they waste in excessive and pointless litigation year after year when they tie up the courts in this bullshit. I wonder if anyone has a ball park figure on how much that actually is. I bet it would make our heads spin.

RE: so...
By Uncle on 8/23/2011 1:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
Thats the problem,all these execs hobnob together, they don't see the real world, ah screw it, this is a pointless subject. Just do what you have to do to to make up for the inequities of the system. If what you do seems fair in your mind and you don't hurt anyone by your actions, go for it. I use these execs as an example, they don't try to find a balance, their out to suck you dry until you have nothing else to give. They derive pleasure out of how far they can destroy you, a notch in their belt you might say. Well, they have given me the example I need by their selfish actions and pointed me in a direction that I consider fair. Ever since they changed the copyright act in 1978, they lifted the guilt off of my shoulders. That was the year they destroyed what was considered fair for everyone.

RE: so...
By steven975 on 8/23/2011 2:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
What is appealing is that it is these types of people with which our President chooses to associate himself with.

Their ultimate goal is to take her to the edge and have her make the jump.

RE: so...
By steven975 on 8/23/2011 2:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, appalling!

dam u chrome spell-check

RE: so...
By kattanna on 8/23/2011 10:32:27 AM , Rating: 3
wasnt it this year that the recording industry themselves got taken to court and they were only having to pay mere hundreds per song?

maybe this new trial will bring her damages in line with what the RIAA themselves think THEY should have to pay

RIAA if you think $54,000 is not a deterrant
By tastyratz on 8/23/2011 10:03:53 AM , Rating: 5
Then I want your salary.

The only thing appalling is the level of arrogance the business model teeters on.

By amanojaku on 8/23/2011 11:11:11 AM , Rating: 4
You can have their salaries. I'll settle for their heads. This punishment does not fit the crime, even considering distribution. If you can prove it was distributed then you can go after the recipients and sue them. In small claims court, for $1 per song. I'd get less of a punishment than Jamie if I sold bootlegged tapes of the music, and kept a list of receipts.

By Natch on 8/23/2011 1:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
Someone should get them some cheese, to go with their whine. ;)

The next verdict
By palladium on 8/24/2011 5:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
...and the next verdict - $54.

RE: The next verdict
By mmatis on 8/24/2011 11:29:12 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, the message would be better sent with a $1 verdict. This country's "Legal" system has done such on more than one occasion in the past. Of course, the recipients of those awards were NOT as politically connected as the swill in the RIAA...

By mkrech on 8/23/2011 1:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
It amazes me how myopic an industry can be when group think brewed up by an industry organization (that happens to benefit from the industries dysfunction)steers an entire industry into the ditch.

The music industry became so large that it began to view its customers more as crops to be harvested. The concept of producing a product that consumers want and will pay for became lost in the new paradigm of capturing as much revenue from the customers as possible. This was reinforced by the RIAA and now the RIAA has found purpose for itself by moderating the conflict between the industry and its customers while stoking the same conflict.

The entertainment industry (TV, movies, music, games, etc) should seriously consider how it wants to be viewed by its customers. It is not in the industries best interest to be so reviled that customers feel no remorse for stealing their products.

You can be assured that there are players in the industry that recognize these issues. Apple is by no means the most loved company, but it doesn't take much for customers to change their habits for even a marginally better paradigm.

In a nutshell, media companies that follow old industry paradigms will overtaken by new paradigm companies (Apple, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, etc) and the RIAA will fade into irrelevance.

Modern Justice?
By mindless1 on 8/24/2011 1:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
This is starting to make the Salem witch trials look /humane/.

Even though (presumably) guilty, going through these trials was in itself enough of a deterrent that not one penny of award should be needed.

We need rapid change in copyright laws so the punishment fits the offense. This lady cannot be made liable for any more than her share of a loss that remains unproven, divided by the # of participants in the infringement which continues to grow even today.

It is troubling that so many people will become victims to antiquated laws.

Small price tag?
By Motoman on 8/23/2011 4:08:29 PM , Rating: 1 there anyone around who feels that $54,000 is a "small" amount of money? Anybody here think that isn't a sufficient amount of money to dissuade others from filesharing?

To me, a hundred bucks would be a "small" amount of money that maybe I'd risk, if I was wont to do so. One thousand dollars - that's a lot of money, and I'm not risking it. 54 times that? May as well be a million dollars to me - not happening.

Thanks RIAA for reminding us what horrific a$$holes you really are. We'd almost forgotten about this case. The next time you're wondering why your sales are down, just peruse this article again. Your declining sales have nothing to do with piracy...

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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