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Thomas fined $1.5M by jury  (Source: AP)
It's like Deja Vu all over again

The battle between Jammie Thomas and the Recording Industry Artists Association (RIAA) has reached epic proportions. The battle revolves around allegations that Thomas illegally shared music and downloaded pirated music using the peer-to-peer sharing platform Kazaa. 

Thomas was back in a courtroom fighting the jury award that would have seen her pay $1.92 million for illegally downloading 24 songs working out to $84,000 per song. The judge in the case reduced that fine to $54,000 in an appeal stating, "The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music."

The RIAA later offered to settle with Thomas for $25,000 to be paid to a music charity. Thomas and her attorney refused the offer, and the RIAA then rejected the judges reduced fine of $54,000. After the reduction was rejected, the case went back to court. The jury deliberated for two hours according to the 
Star Tribune and came back with bad news for Thomas. The jury awarded the RIAA a record fine of $1.5 million, which is about $400,000 less than the original judgment against Thomas.

A RIAA representative named Cara Duckworth said, "We are again thankful to the jury for its service in this matter and that they recognize the severity of the defendant's misconduct. Now, with three jury decisions behind us, along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset's willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions."

Neither Thomas nor her attorney was available for comment on the decision. Looking at the history of the case, it would be unsurprising for another appeal to follow along with another plea from the Thomas camp to reduce the fine.  Thomas' attorney Kiwi Camera said in closing arguments, "She may have engaged in the conduct. That doesn't mean they can take her head and stick it up on a pole."



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Heh
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 11/4/2010 10:29:26 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
The RIAA later offered to settle with Thomas for $25,000 to be paid to a music charity. Thomas and her attorney refused the offer


quote:
The jury deliberated for two hours according to the Star Tribune and came back with bad news for Thomas. The jury awarded the RIAA a record fine of $1.5 million


**Facepalm**




RE: Heh
By MrBlastman on 11/4/2010 10:40:01 AM , Rating: 4
She could have even set up her own music charity, like the "Jammie Thomas charity of musicians to fight the RIAA" and won, but no, she didn't and they popped her with a huge fine.

:(


RE: Heh
By sprockkets on 11/4/2010 6:31:16 PM , Rating: 5
You think that is bad?

From a poster reflex-croft at the ars forum:

quote:
Some points here for the angry mob:
- She was guilty of this and she knew it
- She was caught red handed
- She was offered a settlement of around $5000 if she agreed to cease the infringement
- She lied in court about her guilt
- She lied in court and attempted to claim her children infringed
- She lied in court and attempted to claim her boyfriend infringed
- She destroyed evidence when it was requested - After the first court case, she was offered a settlement of $25,000, the raised price was due to court costs to the RIAA
- After the second case the RIAA said they were still open to settlement, but she rejected it
- For a third time her verdict has been upheld, but its unlikely she will do the smart thing and settle
- She has the right to declare bankruptcy when all is said and done, and eliminte the entire judgement against her, effectively paying a penalty of seen years bad credit Even now I would bet the RIAA would settle for a tiny fraction of the judgement. The only person standing in the way of this happening is Jammie Thomas. She won't take responsibility for her actions. She does not have to be an 'indentured servant' or even in debt for very long. $25k is the equivilent of a new car. $5k is almost nothing, especially when someone pointed out that even a best case scenario for her had her at $4300 in fines. The only reason there are judgements this large are because of her direct actions.

There is an issue of personal responsibility here. It amazes me how few seem to understand that fact. She dug her grave, now she has to lie in it.


RE: Heh
By Flunk on 11/4/2010 10:48:35 AM , Rating: 5
The think the bigger question here is how they can substantiate that theft of an item that retails for $1.30 has caused the RIAA to lose out on $84,000.00 of income. That they are assuming that she distributed 64615 copies of each song, of which they can't prove. In fact the only thing they can prove is that she did have copies of those few songs.

I don't understand how such a gross miscarriage of justice can possibly continue. This entire thing is ridiculous beyond all reason.


RE: Heh
By MrTeal on 11/4/2010 11:16:15 AM , Rating: 5
I think the obvious lesson here is that if you plan to steal songs online, don't bother. Break into a Wal-Mart instead, steal all their music, and then torch the store. The punishment is likely to be smaller that way.


RE: Heh
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/4/2010 11:22:24 AM , Rating: 1
"I think the obvious lesson here is that if you plan to steal songs online, don't bother, unless you have a neighbor who you don't care for who has an open Wi-Fi connection. Or break, steal all their music, and then torch the store. The punishment is likely to be smaller that way."

There, fixed.


RE: Heh
By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/2010 11:38:23 AM , Rating: 5
The whole thing is just fucking disgusting. And I don't care what people rate me or say. Justice system? The justice system was supposed to PREVENT this type of thing.

I'm just so incensed after reading this article I can barely type. The whole world has gone crazy. This is NOT America anymore!

I want a national referendum on file sharing. This needs to be a national issue where the people's voice can be heard. Not in backroom dealings between the RIAA and big Government. This woman's entire life is destroyed, and for what? How many more will follow?


RE: Heh
By Einy0 on 11/5/2010 10:26:35 AM , Rating: 2
Thank You, Well said...


RE: Heh
By amanojaku on 11/4/2010 11:39:48 AM , Rating: 5
What are you talking about? What song on this list ISN'T worth $62,500???

Aerosmith "Cryin'"
Bryan Adams "Somebody"
Def Leppard "Pour Some Sugar on Me"
Destiny’s Child "Bills, Bills, Bills"
Gloria Estefan "Here We Are"; "Coming Out of the Dark"; "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You"
Goo Goo Dolls "Iris"
Green Day "Basket Case"
Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"; "November Rain"
Janet Jackson "Let's Wait Awhile"
Journey "Faithfully"; "Don't Stop Believin'"
Linkin Park "One Step Closer"
No Doubt "Bathwater"; "Hella Good"; "Different People"
Reba McEntire "One Honest Heart"
Richard Marx "Now and Forever"
Sarah McLachlan "Possession"; "Building a Mystery"
Sheryl Crow "Run Baby Run"
Vanessa Williams "Save the Best for Last"

Outside of GnR and a couple of other songs on the list the RIAA should consider itself lucky anyone listens to them at all. Brian Adams? Vanessa Williams? Hell, if I was on the jury I would have been held in contempt of court for laughing at the prosecution (prostitution?)


RE: Heh
By FITCamaro on 11/4/2010 12:28:29 PM , Rating: 2
"Pour Some Sugar on Me" has resulted in countless women taking their clothes off and thus is worth the fine all by itself. ;)


RE: Heh
By Boze on 11/4/2010 7:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe when you were young and cameros were cool, FIT. Its a different ball game out there nowadays... playa.


RE: Heh
By Solandri on 11/4/2010 1:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
You have to keep in mind the RIAA is double-dipping (or multiple-dipping). The $80k+ per song award is just for this one person. Conceivably the RIAA could sue everyone who downloaded these songs and collect $80k+ per song from each of them. If you tally the award properly that way, then it's obviously grossly disproportionate.

Either the penalty per song has to be proportionate to the crime of not paying ~$1 for a song she downloaded for personal use, or the award has to be viewed as a penalty against some sort of copyright infringement ringmaster and indemnifies everyone else who downloaded the song from being sued. You cannot sue one person for damages caused by thousands of downloaders, win, then go about suing those thousands for the exact same crime.


RE: Heh
By GruntboyX on 11/4/2010 10:56:17 AM , Rating: 5
She may have some nice Lawyers representing her, but 25,000 dollars and 1.5 Million are probably the same amount to her. Either way it will cripple and break her. It is probably why they keep appealing to get the fine reduced. Especially since the RIAA offered thousands of people the opportunity to settle for 2k on a website.


RE: Heh
By Lazarus Dark on 11/6/2010 9:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
thank you. guilt wouldn't matter in the least for most people. How many people have 5 grand laying around? Not me. Most people I know would have to file bankrupcy considering they are probably already 10 grand in the whole on credit.

Even if they offered a payment plan, it could take most people 5 years to pay off.


RE: Heh
By kattanna on 11/4/2010 11:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
I find it kinda funny. did she honestly think that the RIAA was finally going to back down or something?

does she not realize how she has become the poster child for the RIAA?

she clearly violated piracy laws and no jury was going to be able to over look that.

is the fine excessive? you bet. but they are doing it to try to send a message to others knowing full well they will never get that kind of money from this lady.

its ALL about sending a message to others.


RE: Heh
By ppardee on 11/4/2010 3:09:53 PM , Rating: 3
Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"

It is AGAINST THE LAW to send a message this way. Plain and simple. This is like fining someone 3.4 BILLION dollars for stealing a new car. No one would ever consider that not excessive. $25,000 is reasonable, $1.5/$1.9 million are not.


RE: Heh
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 11/4/2010 6:18:47 PM , Rating: 4
That only applies to the government imposing them on you. In a civil trial between two non-governmental parties there are no such restrictions.


RE: Heh
By lyeoh on 11/5/2010 7:49:05 AM , Rating: 1
That's why it's strange when people keep saying "small government will be so much better!".

No big diff between a big corrupt government bound by the US Constitution and a small corrupt government in league with big corrupt corporations. In fact the latter might be worse since the corps are not bound by the Constitution or the FOIA etc.

Too many people seem to be obsessed over quantity of government. Should be about quality not quantity.


RE: Heh
By Etern205 on 11/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Heh
By jonmcc33 on 11/4/2010 11:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. The problem is that the songs are only worth $0.99 each. So to ask for $1.5 million out of that?


RE: Heh
By marvdmartian on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Heh
By JediJeb on 11/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Heh
By Holly on 11/7/2010 4:44:37 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how much songs she was able to distribute... let's say every song would go for $2... that is 750,000 songs to share... Let's say average song is 4MB... that is over 3TB upload traffic... Damn does this lady own fiber network internet connection?


RE: Heh
By nafhan on 11/4/2010 12:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
I want to know where they get these juries! I don't think anyone I've ever met would find 1.5mil to be anywhere in the realm of reasonable.


RE: Heh
By Suomynona on 11/4/2010 3:24:15 PM , Rating: 1
Seriously, and haven't any of the jurors ever heard of jury nullification? How is there not a single person on the jury that finds a $1.5 million dollar fine to be ridiculous? All it takes is one!


RE: Heh
By melgross on 11/4/2010 4:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
Not in a civil case.


RE: Heh
By morphologia on 11/4/2010 2:58:15 PM , Rating: 2
I want to know who was on the jury. Lars Ulrich? Bono? Justin Timberlake?


RE: Heh
By Denkou on 11/4/2010 4:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
Part of the settlement agreement would have been for her to abdicate the previous judge's ruling that the damages awarded from the second trial were excessive. This would have set precedent for the RIAA lawyers to use in future cases for damages awarded. I don't know the lady's financial situation but she's isn't paying for her lawyers and was probably advised against taking the settlement for legal reasons.


RE: Heh
By chris00 on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs














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