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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: 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?

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