Industry Association of America (RIAA) has spent a lot of time and effort
trying to nab file sharers in an effort to deter piracy and put more money back
into their own pockets. Ironically, the cost of legal fees to go after those
who pirate music seems to outweigh what it wins in these cases. Just last
month, DailyTech estimated that the RIAA has
$3 million in legal fees to sue file sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset, and now, she may only
have to pay the RIAA $54,000 in the end.
RIAA is fighting back by appealing the judge's decision to slash the damages award according to Ars Technica. It
believes that the court failed to classify Thomas-Rasset's filesharing as a
"distribution" under 106(3) of the Copyright Act, and that a small
price tag of $54,000 would not prevent others from committing the same act.
The case is being appealed in the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri.
The RIAA's first
jury trial with Jammie Thomas-Rasset occurred in 2007, after
Thomas-Rasset had shared over 1,700 files on Kazaa 2005. Only 24 of the files
were named, including music tracks by AFI, Green Day and Aerosmith. She damages
originally came to $222,000, but the case was declared a mistrial since the
judge told the jury that "making available" was the same as copyright
In 2009, Thomas-Rasset was back in court for
another round before the jury. This time, the amount she was ordered to pay
rose to $1.92 million, which is $80,000 per song. Shocked and frustrated, all
Thomas-Rasset could say was, "Good luck trying to get it, because you
can't get blood out of a turnip."
In 2010, the total was cut from 1.92 million to $1.5
million, which is $62,500 per song. Then, the total was cut yet again last
month when U.S. District Judge Michael Davis slashed
the award from $1.92 million to $54,000, saying that the previous
award was "appalling" and disproportionate to the offense. At the
same time, he said the new award was still substantial enough to prevent
Thomas-Rasset and others from illegally sharing music and other files over the
quote: I think this is purposely done for the publicity.