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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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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.


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