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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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You People Just Don't Get It
By mgilbert on 11/4/2010 12:40:15 PM , Rating: -1
When you download a song, and make it available for upload, others download it and make it available, and so on and so on. Pretty soon, your one available upload becomes available to millions. Of those millions, a percentage would have bought the song, had they not been able to get it "for free". That's why the fines are so high. Everyone from the artist to the record company loses out on income. These people deserve to be paid, and must be paid, for their work.

Obtaining music without paying for it is illegal and immoral, period. It doesn't matter how evil the RIAA and the record companies are. Two wrongs don't make a right, and the fact the you think these organizations are evil doesn't give you the right to steal from them, period.

This lady essentially made songs available to millions of people. If this isn't stopped, pretty soon there will be no financial incentive for artists to create new music, because they have to eat just like you do, and to do that, they have to be paid for their work.

Spin it any way you want. Whine all you want. Obtaining music without paying for it is wrong, period.

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By smartalco on 11/4/2010 1:56:54 PM , Rating: 3
You seem to be operating under the assumption that this was the only person on the entire planet who distributed these songs. Since they explicitly state that she downloaded them first, this can't possibly be the case.

Either way, the only way she cost the RIAA 1.5 million is in court fees.

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By ians55 on 11/4/2010 2:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
I just see it as a big greedy corporation makes a scapegoat out of ordinary person. I highly doubt that she would buy whole album because of one song, so that "lost income" is just an utter baloney. Just IMO.

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By moriz on 11/4/2010 2:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
can you definitively prove that millions would have downloaded from her? from her alone? unfortunately you can't. without definitive prove, the only thing she can be reasonably charged for is about $.99 per song. you are operating in the realm of "what might happen", which doesn't stand. if it does, we'll be castrating every child born of rapists because they MIGHT become rapists themselves.

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By XZerg on 11/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By isayisay on 11/4/2010 6:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it is people like YOU who don't get it. But then again... neither do the music industries, so guess you are in good company. Why don't you go join them threatening the life of some random housewife.

The music industry will continue to act like smucks of the worst kind because there is so much profit in it for them.

While downloading music for free is theft, don't think the music industry is free from crime (which they aren't being held to task on)...price fixing. Individual songs for $1 and CDs that have been priced $10 to $15 for 20 years. Given all the vast technological production and distribution improvements over the years, their fixed costs have dropped through the floor. Natural competition should have seen the price of music come down or value of what is being provided increase. Neither has happened.

But... my prediction is all of this hate from the RIAA is going to just be bypassed... as more and more people get smart phones and internet connected home/TV devices, people will shift to an on demand approach and will simply stop buying music... they'll listen to stream music via their phone, laptop, home PC, blu ray, etc.... buy a $5 to $10 service (rhapsody) and then be done with the RIAA boneheads.

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By snikt on 11/4/2010 5:27:57 PM , Rating: 1
So if a musician, any musician, willing shared his or her music, its still illegal?

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By Boze on 11/4/2010 7:22:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not if they own the copyright themselves.

Penn Jillette laid it out pretty good on his Penn Point when a viewer asked him his views about file sharing.

Penn doesn't actually "own" any of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! on Showtime, he merely writes (some of) it, performs in it, and advertises it, but the copyright lies with Showtime. As he pointed out in his Penn Point, he benefits as long as you watch the show, regardless of whether you watched it on your television because you subscribe to Showtime, or whether you found a copy of the show some other way.

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By JediJeb on 11/5/2010 5:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on if they own the rights to the music.

In my opinion the laws should be changed so that only artists can own rights to their work. If multiple artists share in creating the work then they all receive shares of the rights. Corporations should not be able to own or purchase copyrights, nor should any other person be able to purchase the rights to another's work. Just like Michael Jackson buying the rights to the Beatles songs, that should never be allowed. This would prevent crafty entities from swindling less savvy artists out of their works as has happened many times in the past.

If a record company wants to promote you then they should have to work out a licensing deal with artists for distribution rights, but the ownership still stays with the artists. Same goes for books, movies, TV shows, ect. One caveat would be that a corporation could also be an artist, such as a movie studio that hires a writer to produce a script, but if a script writer writes a script on his own, then the rights should be bound to him.

I think overall this would bring more benefits to the artists because then the record companies would have to cut better deals with them or they could simply take their work to another company. I think a good example of how this would work would be like how it happened with George Lucas and Star Wars. He kept the rights to his creation, but cut a deal with 20th Century Fox to back him in production and distribute it. Both made a fortune on that deal and still are making money with it. George Lucas owns all rights to anything having to do with Star Wars, as it should be, but how much ownership do most bands or singers have to the work they create? Or even most writers for that matter?

RE: You People Just Don't Get It
By Azure Sky on 11/7/2010 8:30:48 PM , Rating: 1
not if the RIAA or their componant companies can do anything about it, they have raided with their own police force music stores selling cd's and tapes made by local underground artists (uniq music that said artists own rights to) and called said music "pirated" because it was on burned disks and home recorded/copied tapes rather then pressed disk.....

no, im not kidding.....and our govt allowes them to get away with this illegal action(having their own police forces and raiding private homes and offices and taking "Evidance" as they see fit)

gotta love the US govt and legal system, utterly fucking useless....unless your a large company.

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