Single mother to pay $1.92 million in music piracy case

(RAW STORY)   A US jury has ordered a 32-year-old woman to pay nearly two million dollars in damages for illegally downloading 24 songs over the Internet in a high-profile digital piracy case.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a single mother of four from the Minnesota town of Brainerd, was found liable of violating music copyrights for using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing network to download the songs.

The jury took just under five hours on Thursday to reach its verdict.

It ordered Thomas-Rasset to pay 1.92 million dollars — or 80,000 dollars per song — to six record companies: Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music, Arista Records, Interscope Records, Warner Bros. Records and UMG Recordings.

In his closing arguments on Thursday, attorney Timothy Reynolds said Thomas-Rasset had made copyrighted music available to “millions on the Internet” through Kazaa.

“She infringed my clients’ copyrights and then she tried to cover it up,” Reynolds said.

Thomas-Rasset said that her former husband or her children may have downloaded the music but her arguments apparently did not sway the jury.

Thomas-Rasset had been convicted previously, in October 2007, and ordered to pay 220,000 dollars in damages but the judge who presided over that trial threw out the verdict calling it “wholly disproportionate” and “oppressive.”

The case was filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has brought suit against thousands of people for illegally downloading and sharing music, with most agreeing to settlements of between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars.

Thomas-Rasset was the first among those being sued to refuse a settlement, however, and instead took the case to court. Her case is the only one among the thousands filed to have actually gone to trial.

In December, the RIAA said it will stop suing people who download music illegally and focus instead on getting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take action.

The move away from litigation represented a major shift in strategy for the music industry group, which had filed lawsuits against some 35,000 people for online music piracy since 2003.

More than six months later, however, no ISPs have publicly signed on to the program.

6 Responses to Single mother to pay $1.92 million in music piracy case

  • Interesting, of all the pirates who copy and sell songs over the Internet and distribute them in stores they go after a mother of four who used them for herself. RIAA, We are shaking in our boots you bunch of assholes.


  • I heard the RIAA gets up the ass by record company ‘Rim job, i scratch my back and
    i’ll scratch yours’

  • Oh am so fucken scared RIAA. Am shitting my paints ‘break down the door and take my computer’ Please don’t sue me!

  • Intellectual property rights for music is so highly over-rated; alright you’re an artist and I appreciate your work, but does that mean every time I hum a tune in my head you need to get paid. That’s as ludicrous as a plumber getting paid everytime someone takes a shit on a toilet he installed.

    Get over it, and do something more constructive in society if you wish to be honestly rewarded for your efforts. This country puts way to much emphasis on glamorizing and idolizing so called “stars” and their works, while minimizing, if even recognizing at all, the efforts of scientists and philanthropists who truly do offer their gifts for the benefit of humanity.

    Lastly it seems completely obscene to prosecute one individual so harshly when “millions” of other people that share information via peer to peer networking are not targeted. So if you prosecute let’s say one million peer to peer users and charge them each 2 million dollars as in this case, the industry would earn some 2 trillion dollars in lost revenues?

    How absurd is it to think that musical talent and inspiration is worth nearly twice as much as the US budget deficit this year. Perhaps the answer to our economic woes lies in the litigious pursuit of all ipod users!

  • RIAA probably get rammed up the ass /w JAR VASELINE every night by music industry.

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