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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 JediJeb on 11/5/2010 5:11:34 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
But where they get you isn't in the monetary damages, but in the punitive amount that they can tack on. Oftentimes, it's excessive, and could easily add millions of dollars to what the loser of a civil lawsuit will owe.


To me that right there crosses the line between civil and criminal judgments. If it is civil you should only be able to recover your losses, if it is criminal then you should be able to dole out punishment. In a sense, with this type of judgment the RIAA is being endorsed as an arm of the justice system since any punishment fine is being given to them.

In personal injury cases in civil court there can be awarded judgments above and beyond expenses for "pain and suffering", but I have always wondered if a defendant could prove the person suing used pain killers could they force a lowering of the "pain and suffering" award? It would only make sense that you could. If Ms Thomas could prove that the RIAA has benefited from the publicity of this case, could she also use that to offset the award amount? Advertising should not come free to the RIAA after all should it? Just some things to think about.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














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