$220,000 award upheld in RIAA v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset lawsuit

By on September 12, 2012, 5:00 PM

Yes, Jammie Thomas-Rasset is still embroiled in a legal battle against the Record Industry Association of America -- and yes, the infamous P2P file-sharer from Minnesota is still on the losing side. It appears the most recent verdict totaling $220,000 in statutory damages is going to stick, although the seemingly unflappable Thomas-Rasset may choose to once again fight the decision.

An almost unending saga riddled with rulings and appeals, the curious case of the RIAA v. Thomas-Rasset first began in 2007. The mother of of four was accused of sharing 24 copyrighted songs on Kazaa. When the dust settled, Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $222,000 in damages, or about $9,100 per song. However, that ruling was thrown out due to a "manifest error of law" in which the presiding judge had mistakenly informed jury members that "making available" such files was in fact illegal, even if proof of those files being uploaded was absent. 

In an unfortunate twist of fate for Thomas-Rasset though, the subsequent retrial didn't go as she had hoped. Instead of the original award of $222,000 though, the second verdict reached new heights with an astounding $1.9 million in damages, or about $80,000 per song. Eventually though (and fortunately for Thomas-Rasset), that judgment was thrown out in favor of a $54,000 award -- an amount which the district court believed to be the maximum allowed under civil due process.

Unsatisfied with the ruling however, the RIAA motioned for an appeal. As a result, a higher court reinstated her original fine of $220,000, concluding the previous court had erred in believing that $54,000 was an appropriate ceiling set by the Due Process Clause. The court wrote, "We also conclude that statutory damages of at least $222,000 were constitutional, and that the district court erred in holding that the Due Process Clause allowed statutory damages of only $54,000."




User Comments: 16

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2 people like this | WithoutAnyMilk WithoutAnyMilk said:

There's a special place in hell for these RIAA thugs.

Guest said:

A $220,000 judgment? Does anyone else see the manifest insanity in entering a judgment of this size against a private individual for the so-called "crime" of downloading a few songs? This mind-boggling insanity reached new heights when, for a time, the fine was a staggering $1.9 million dollars. How in the world does the RIAA think that this is a justifiable, rational "penalty"? There isn't even any proof that anyone actually downloaded them. Absolutely ludicrous.

Guest said:

There's a special place in Hell for pirates that steal from millions of workers. We are not slaves. We are not second class citizens. We have rights too. Pay or don't use.

1 person liked this | Rasta211 said:

$220,000 for "stealing, distributing" songs? I wonder if drug dealers face these kinds of fines?

Are these fines designed to stop piracy? I'm curious if fines like these would stop drinking and driving. But I guess protecting songs is more important.

Guest said:

Downloading is so common it should be considered a norm instead of a crime. or a cultural thing.

2 people like this | Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

There's a special place in Hell for pirates that steal from millions of workers. We are not slaves. We are not second class citizens. We have rights too. Pay or don't use.

OK..I wont use. You see, I am an apathetic consumer. I'm much worse than a so called "pirate". At least with a pirate, they use your product and may choose to buy it, They may go as far as give you word of mouth advertising. Me, on the other hand, will simply not acknowledge your product, not click on your ads, nor tell my friends about it. I will just let your product sit on a shelf, gather cobwebs, and rot in warehouse hell.

Jibberish18 said:

There's a special place in Hell for pirates that steal from millions of workers. We are not slaves. We are not second class citizens. We have rights too. Pay or don't use.

Let's not be ridiculous here yes? Why don't you think rationally. I'll bet that if you were in his case you would NOT be saying the same thing. You mean to tell me you don't see the absurdity in this case?

avioza said:

An excessively heavy fine for a family to bear. Temper your justice with reason no? The lesson will still be learned.

Guest said:

Ridicoulous....

24 songs would have made them 220k if she hadn't uploaded them? No....

She's guilty even though she didn't upload them herself and was a victim of hacking? NO

RIAA is buying this vedict to make an example, it's a shame it's working.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Besides there is no such thing as making an example out of someone. If you want piracy to stop you will have to fine everyone, even then I don't think it will stop people from pirating. Fining people will only make their desire to save money even that much greater. Out of all the things people are capable of, the power of persuasion is a lost art. Instead of persuading someone to do something, people think the power of force is a better way.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

I can see RIAA's next target.. all those criminals who ever made a ' MIXED TAPE' and played it at a party or gave it to a gf/bf .. doom to all!

Jibberish18 said:

Also, need I remind everyone here that making a example out of someone is NOT ethical and should not be used under the law. Lets find something that 1 Million + people have done and since we haven't caught anyone else, we'll just make an example out of this one and ruin his or her life. Great.

Tygerstrike said:

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to defend this person and literally none of you have any idea what the process was. You all think this person just downloaded a song or 10 and ended up in court. This person was given many C & D orders. They chose to ignore them. If they had stopped their actions when they recieved the first C&D they wouldnt be in this mess. If youre just commenting because you think its unfair, understand that by the time it went to trial, that person was given the opportunity to stop, chose not to stop, continued doing whatever was ask to stop. Then prosecuted. And even when they went to trial, they would have been given plea agreements. Plead out pay a fine and dont do it again ever. So before everyone starts throwing sympathy at this person, understand that they were given many many many chances to stop. This is just the end of the line. Theres much more that happend before it ever went to trial.

Guest said:

Unless you are using a very obscure definition, the appropriate word is "famous" not "infamous". It doesn't matter which side you agree with, Jammie does not have an extremely bad reputation. You may think she deserves one, but that does not make it so.

And if you are using the more obscure "deprived of certain rights as a citizen, as a consequence of conviction of certain offenses" - then, while accurate, you are using the word in such a way as to mislead people into thinking she has a bad reputation, while covering your butt by trying to say you didn't mean it that way

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Let's not be ridiculous here yes? Why don't you think rationally. I'll bet that if you were in his case you would NOT be saying the same thing. You mean to tell me you don't see the absurdity in this case?

Also, need I remind everyone here that making a example out of someone is NOT ethical and should not be used under the law. Lets find something that 1 Million + people have done and since we haven't caught anyone else, we'll just make an example out of this one and ruin his or her life. Great.

Two things: First, I you read it many times, and by adjusting your inner concepts of syntax and logic, it may be possible to make sense of this post. However, the average person would run away, full speed, from a college level course on ethics, as it would be incomprehensible to most, and wouldn't feature Justin Beiber on the cover of the textbook.

Second, I heartily applaud your choice of screen name, although personally, I would have gone with "Gibberish_ONE" (Which would remove all the underlining in the Firefox spell checker).

This also follows a circuitous path to logical enlightment. The rationale being, if I am able to process the logic, it therefore follows quite logically, it must be gibberish.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Now what this great nation needs, is a return to the values that made us great in the first place. The puritan values that enabled our forefathers to survive the harsh New England winters, and allowed them to triumph over the nasty infestation of witches at Salem!

First: let's burn the RIAA execs at the stake, along with their sycophant / parasite lawyers.

Then, we take the nasty, virulent strain of heretical music down loaders into the town square, put them in the stocks, and brand a "D" into their foreheads, along with burning out their eardrums with a soldering iron.

And lastly, we give a smallpox infected blanket to to the "musicians" who have inflicted this satanically inspired filth that passes for music upon us.

I long to return to the simpler days when men were men with waist length hair, and "Tiny Tim" was everybody's go to soprano.

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