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The consul argues the defendant's due process rights were violated

Could the highest profile music piracy case to be brought against an individual in the U.S. be headed to The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)? That's the outcome lawyers for working mom Jammie Thomas-Rasset are hoping for.

The defendant's legal team has filed a petition for certiorari claiming that their client's right to due process has been violated.  The case has been kicked around the courts for some time.

Ms. Thomas-Rasset first lost in a June 2009 jury verdict, with the jury deciding on a $1.92M USD fine, arguing that lawyers for music labels like Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) BMG and their trade group the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sufficiently proved that the working mom had willfully-infringed on 24 songs.

After the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the verdict, the matter seemed settled, setting a rather draconian precedent.  But a judge cut the fine to a mere $54,000 USD.

Then it was deja vu all over again -- the case went to retrial, a jury found Ms. Thomas-Rasset guilty of another huge fine ($1.5M USD, this time), and then the judge yet again bumped the fine to $54,000 USD.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset
Jammie Thomas-Rasset (left) [Image Source: joonbug]

Most recently the RIAA, et al. appealed the reduction, and the fine was bumped back slightly to $222,000 USD, where it currently sits.  That appeal prompted Ms. Thomas-Rasset's lawyers to ask the SCOTUS to hear the case.

The defendant's lawyers cite State Farm v. Campbell, BMW v. Gore, and St. Louis I.M. & S. Railway Co. v. Williams as relevant cases.  These cases all involved the plaintiff seeking a large amount of punitive damages (for example Dr. Ira Gore sued BMW and initially won $4M USD in punitive damages after BMW sold him a repainted vehicle and claimed it was new).  In each case the SCOTUS ruled that there should be reasonable limits, based on the scope of the civil offense, to punitive damages.

The RIAA and big media backers are estimated to have spent over $3M USD on the case; Ms. Thomas-Rasset has received much of her legal services and fees paid for via donations.

Source: RIAA v. The People



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Some folks are clueless
By Beenthere on 12/13/2012 6:07:32 PM , Rating: -1
Jammie is one of them but there are many more. She's getting off with a slap on the wrist @ $220K. She should do prison time as is mandatory in Japan.

For those who don't get it, punishment is not suppose to be compensation for stealing copyright protected digital merchandise. Punishment is meant to be a deterrent and a painful learning experience that a perp won't soon forget. The Supreme court should decline to hear this fishing expedition as she has had her trial and her appeal heard and she lost. She certainly doesn't have the right to pirate.

Hopefully the world will follow Japan's mandated 2 year prison sentence and hefty fine for piracy. If you're dumb enough to pirate, you're too stupid to be out in public or at home pirating. There is a prison cell with your name on it.




RE: Some folks are clueless
By mbungle87 on 12/13/2012 7:20:32 PM , Rating: 3
Not sure if trolling or not, but are you suggesting we fill the prison system with more nonviolent offenders? It's not as if we already have the highest incarceration rate in the world, or as if the court system is already plagued with bullshit, penny-ante cases like this one. Oh, wait.

Prison isn't a deterrent for piracy. It just turns a nonviolent person into a violent criminal by the time they leave prison.


RE: Some folks are clueless
By Jeffk464 on 12/16/2012 11:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I can't imagine many people come out with a more positive view of society then before they went in.


RE: Some folks are clueless
By Skywalker123 on 12/13/2012 10:25:00 PM , Rating: 5
ignore beenthere, he's an idiot/troll nuff said

If there was a prison sentence for stupid people, beenthere would be serving life without parole


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