Last November, a jury ordered Jammie Thomas-Rasset to pay the RIAA $1.5 million for downloading 24 songs -- $62,500 per track. The dispute reached a short-lived conclusion a month ago after judge Michael Davis slashed the award to $54,000, calling the original fee "appalling" and "oppressive." Discontent with the federal court's decision verdict, the RIAA has filed an appeal today in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis.
This should come as no surprise, considering the RIAA told Ars Technica that it disagreed with the decision at the time and admitted it was considering further litigation. Likewise, Thomas-Rasset's lawyer, Kiwi Camara, acknowledged that the recording industry would likely appeal, noting that he was ready to file a cross-appeal when the time came.
It seems the RIAA isn't even after money at this point. Not only has Thomas-Rasset refused to pay, but she surely doesn't have a $54,000 buried in her backyard -- much less a million bucks or more. Instead, this case is largely about setting a precedent for future suits in addition to serving as a potential reminder and deterrent for would-be pirates.
In fact, the RIAA is prepared to drag the dispute into yet another trial. Its appeal is focused on rebuking the court's failure to classify Thomas-Rasset's actions as "distribution" under 106(3) of the Copyright Act, which would vacate the jury's initial verdict and land the parties back in court. The filing also challenges the court's citation of due process (last month, Davis noted that $54,000 is the maximum award consistent with due process).
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