Back in October, the RIAA's first trial to ever make it to court regarding music piracy ended in a victory for the record companies. Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay the hefty sum of $220,000 in fines after being found guilty of illegally downloading 24 copyrighted songs. Thomas appealed the verdict, saying that the damages were far in excess of any actual damages that the music labels might have incurred, and were therefore unconstitutional.
However, the Department of Justice has dismissed Thomas arguments saying that the damages awarded fell under the guidelines in the Copyright Act and that they are not only intended to compensate copyright owners but also to deter further infringement.
The decision will come as a disappointment for the thousands of individuals against whom the RIAA has filed similar suits as it evidences the Department of Justice is siding with the RIAA when it comes to the issue of whether making a file available for download on a P2P network constitutes distribution.