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."
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