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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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lol.
By epyon96 on 11/4/2010 11:09:10 AM , Rating: 4
RIAA really wants to be vilified as the most hated organization in the 21st century.

They ruin people's lives. They ruin student's lives. All for the sake of protecting copyright?

Is it worth it? When is enough enough? At what point does the defense of copyright become so trivial in the bigger scheme of things?

She did not profit from it. She is doing something that is done by everyone else in that age bracket. She is getting punished for a crime very few in the public believes is a crime. Whatever message that RIAA wants to send is already lost long ago. They effectively killed her life.





RE: lol.
By djcameron on 11/4/2010 11:17:31 AM , Rating: 3
But if they don't do this, then revenues might decline. If revenue declines, then how are Lohan, Beiber, and Hilton supposed to afford rehab? For that matter, if the entertainers don't get paid big money, how is Charlie Sheen supposed to afford his $55,000/month child support payment? That poor child, he might have to settle for a used Ferrari for his 16th birthday!


RE: lol.
By geddarkstorm on 11/4/2010 3:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
They might have to trade in their Gulfstream IV private jet for a... a... Gulfstream III *voice wavers* it's madness!


RE: lol.
By bruce24 on 11/4/2010 11:50:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They ruin people's lives. They ruin student's lives. All for the sake of protecting copyright?


quote:
She did not profit from it. She is doing something that is done by everyone else in that age bracket. She is getting punished for a crime very few in the public believes is a crime. Whatever message that RIAA wants to send is already lost long ago. They effectively killed her life.


The RIAA wants people to stop illegally downloading music and to do this they are going after people they can prove have been serving up music. When they find people, they present them with two options, settle for $5K or less or go to court. This woman denied doing any wrong, went to court and lied and has been found guilty multiple times.

The RIAA don't seem to really care about the money the courts award, they just want to make the point that it is a crime and that if caught there are consequences.


RE: lol.
By cosme on 11/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: lol.
By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/2010 12:05:44 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Nice to see a rational reply finally. This woman stole something.


Nice to see people are still confused about this issue. Nobody has been tried of or accused of theft with file sharing. She didn't steal. It's called IP Infringement.

quote:
Why do so many people think that illegally downloading copyrighted information is no big deal?


Define big deal? Dude someone could rape your kid and get less of a punishment for it. Come on, be rational.


RE: lol.
By cosme on 11/5/2010 10:06:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Define big deal? Dude someone could rape your kid and get less of a punishment for it. Come on, be rational.


Well, that's just sad, isn't it?

This woman had a chance to get off with a slap on the wrist for breaking the law. She chose not to take it. That's not rational, why should the RIAA then have to be rational with her?

IP infringement, illegal downloading of copyrighted content, whatever semantics you want to argue - it is a very big deal with more and more people working in industries that mainly produce intellectual property in digital format. We're setting up a precedent that if it's on the internet, anyone can take it, legal or not. We are reducing the incentive for skilled professionals to create quality content. That just isn't rational.

If you like something enough to want to use it, you should pay the person who created it. It's not rational to expect an economy to work otherwise.


RE: lol.
By Reclaimer77 on 11/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: lol.
By Firebat5 on 11/6/2010 11:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry I just can't resist this one.

"It's called IP Infringement."

Yes you are correct. "intellectual PROPERTY infringement." Now, if its "property," then someone owns it by definition. If someone takes what you own without permission (in this case she didn't obtain permission), it is stealing. Plain and simple. If you don't like this, change the legal definition of intellectual property to exclude whatever you think it is that should not be considered someone's property. But right now in this country, this woman did steal something, and then distribute it.


RE: lol.
By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/2010 12:09:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The RIAA don't seem to really care about the money the courts award, they just want to make the point that it is a crime and that if caught there are consequences.


You make the RIAA out to sound like it's the justice system itself.

The courts don't exist so you can use them to "make points" via destroying peoples lives to make examples out of them. Laws, if broken, should have exact and detailed penalties to them. The courts are flying by the seat of their pants and allowing the RIAA to dictate any terms it sees fit.

Two wrongs don't make a right. I'm not saying what she did was right, but if you don't think this is a bloody abortion of justice then you're just warped.


RE: lol.
By bruce24 on 11/5/2010 10:02:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The courts don't exist so you can use them to "make points" via destroying peoples lives to make examples out of them.

They want to protect their business, that is their point, and one function of the courts is to protect businesses.

quote:
Two wrongs don't make a right. I'm not saying what she did was right, but if you don't think this is a bloody abortion of justice then you're just warped.

You seem to be stuck on the amount the jury awarded and want to use that to negate the original wrong. I have to wonder how many people would be upset if the jury came back and awarded the RIAA $5000....the high end of what the RIAA reportedly asked for in the first place.


RE: lol.
By Jalek on 11/5/2010 12:13:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They want to protect their business

That being attorneys working for a portion of whatever they can collect on copyright holders' behalf.

At this point, they probably need the lottery win level judgment to pay the costs for the gang of lawyers approach.


RE: lol.
By Reclaimer77 on 11/5/2010 12:13:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You seem to be stuck on the amount the jury awarded and want to use that to negate the original wrong. I have to wonder how many people would be upset if the jury came back and awarded the RIAA $5000....the high end of what the RIAA reportedly asked for in the first place.


So sophomoric. I have to wonder why you think this is even an argument.

Our whole justice system and how it's viewed socially is based around the penalties being somewhat proportional to the crime itself. This isn't the Middle East, we do NOT destroy peoples lives for petty crimes. Of course people think over a MILLION dollars for sitting on your computer and downloading 12 songs is absurd! If someone was fined a million dollars for jaywalking, would you be ok with that too?

Not to mention the entire method the RIAA is using to determine the "damages" is ridiculous beyond belief! Remember innocent until proven guilty?


RE: lol.
By bruce24 on 11/5/2010 10:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
sitting on your computer and downloading 12 songs is absurd!


It seems you don't even understand the case, they took her to court for sharing songs through kazaa...distributing copyrighted songs.

quote:
Not to mention the entire method the RIAA is using to determine the "damages" is ridiculous beyond belief! Remember innocent until proven guilty?


The RIAA didn't award the damages, a jury did. The RIAA originally asked for between $3K and $5K before even going to court. As far as the size of the award, the jury after finding her guilty could have gone as low as $750 per song, but it seems they didn't like be lied to.

" Under the Copyright Act, each plaintiff is entitled to a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 per act of infringement (that is, per sound recording downloaded or distributed without license), as you consider just. If, however, you find that the defendant’s conduct was willful, then each plaintiff is entitled to a sum of up to $150,000 per act of infringement (that is, per sound recording
downloaded or distributed without license), as you consider just."


RE: lol.
By nafhan on 11/4/2010 12:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
I get your argument about the RIAA, this is their business; I expect them to protect it. However, I don't understand how any jury, ever, would feel like 1.5 million dollars is a reasonable punishment for this crime. That's the insane, unreasonable part.


"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton














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