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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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Corporate Bullying
By chris00 on 11/5/2010 9:22:55 AM , Rating: 2
This is such a gross peversion of so-called justice that I just had to add a comment. I don't even know how this system can even be referred to as a "justice" system. This is corporate bullying at it's worst in collusion with courts to impose outrageously disproportionate punishment for a very minor infraction.

I think we also need to start to differentiate between something that is illegal and something that is "morally wrong". Sure, she broke "the law". But what is the law? Often this is no more than a set of rules designed and lobbied for by corporations for their own greedy profit, and has very little to do with actual justice. The current financial crisis was brought about by "lawful" yet utterly immoral acts.

The fact is that when virtually eveyone who owns a computer has downloaded some music illegally at some point in their lives then it becomes quite clear that society as a whole does not see this as particularly morally wrong, at least not to any great extent. Infact it is probably only the fact that it is actually illegal that causes people to believe that there is something immoral about it in the first place.

When this is justice, we live in a very dangerous world. A world where corporate bullies rule at the expense of the lives of ordinary people.




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