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Jammie Thomas seeks reduction of $1.9m RIAA damages

updated 11:50 pm EDT, Mon July 6, 2009

Thomas fights RIAA damages

Following an unsuccessful legal battle against the RIAA, Jammie Thomas-Rasset has asked a federal court for a new trial or a reduction of the $1.92 million in damages she was recently ordered to pay, according to CNET News. The defense lawyers have argued that the recent judgment is disproportionate to the crime, with approximately $80,000 placed on each of the 24 copyrighted songs she is accused of illegally sharing.

"Such a judgment is grossly excessive and, therefore, subject to remittitur as a matter of federal common law," the defendant's attorneys argue. "Moreover, such a judgment is inconsistent with the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution."

The first trial resulted in damages totaling $222,000, although the decision was later thrown out. Jurors for the second trial added another $1.7 million, driving Thomas to publicly refuse to pay the damages. The RIAA allegedly offered to settle the first suit for $25,000. After learning of the appeal, the RIAA claimed Thomas was to blame for "needlessly prolonging" the case and refusing to accept responsibility.

Despite the public refusal, Thomas reportedly is willing to pay an adjusted settlement of just $18,000. "No one could have expected $1.92 million for 24 songs. That alone justifies remittitur; at a minimum, Mrs. Thomas should not be subjected to a penalty that no reasonable person could have expected would flow from the noncommercial music sharing of which she stands convicted," the filing reads.

The attorneys argue the statutory-damage framework in the Copyright Act does not sufficiently separate personal-use infringement from commercial violations intended to generate profits. Thomas now waits for the court to review the retrial requests, although the attorneys still have time to file for an appeal.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    f*** the riaa

    don't buy recorded music; pirate it instead.

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Better yet...

    only obtain Royalty Free music or just create your own with Garage Band.

    Ditto your sentiments regarding RIAA.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sorry Dudes,

    Why not just buy music you like, and not share it illegally?

    No offense, but you who suggest pirating never, ever suggest that it is completely wrong for you to do it. It is stealing, and you can never ever give a justification for it.

    Either iTunes or Amazon, there are choices.

  1. sammaffei

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't do the crime...

    ...if you can't do the time.

    Boo, hoo.

  1. andrewbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no it isn't, sheep

    Stealing imaginary property is not stealing, no matter how much you may want to believe so.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    you have to draw a line

    To those who support the RIAA, just know that they also want you to pay them when you are having a party and your music goes over your fence and someone else hears the music.

    You would be liable for spreading music, just like this lady and subject to a fine, fee,etc.

    This is not about pirating, companies do this by the millions in China and there is little that RIAA can do to stop it. So they lash out at little kids, old ladies, and college kids cause its much easier.

    No benefits to anyone, just easier.

    Just a thought.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969



    is this justifiable in a democracy? About 80% of internet users have downloaded illegal stuff, the people clearly don't support the RIAA and the current copyright laws.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Musician's perspective

    Most musicians despise RIAA with passion, much like everyone else. However, many of us rely on a label for a living. With the exception of a few very well-off artists/acts, who dictate terms, vast majority are really struggling. The amount of royalty that an artist gets paid after an iTunes sale (for example) is dismal, and label has received a lion's share of the $0.99 retail price. There isn't much artists can do about this relationship. However, while the suggestion to go and download illegally all that music in order to 'stick it to the label' may hurt the label a bit, it will hurt the musicians much more.

    The reality is that the amount of piracy that exists to day is more-or-less the single most significant reason why today's music is so crappy. Labels don't want to take risks producing music that has greater artistic quality; they want to make sure they get the best bang for the buck, so they produce music that has BROADEST appeal (least common denominator), and is basically polished c***. It's a vicious circle; people don't want to pay for music that isn't any good anymore; labels no longer want to invest in good music if half of it will be pirated. So, how do you break the cycle?

  1. arrannen

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I think everyone agrees that she is guilty of sharing the music. However if I go out and steal a CD from Musictown, I spend some time in jail possibly and get a $500 fine. If I download 1 song from the internet I am liable for $700,000 dollars?

    the truth is that the RIAA and labels are quaking in their boots because people are not wanting to buy CD's anymore when they can get just the music they want from the likes of Itunes store.

    Now days, a musician can go out and buy $2000 worth of computer equipment and have an entire recording studio in their basement. Upload that song to the P2P networks and within 2 hours 10,000 people are listening to your song. the RIAA cant come close to claiming that wide a distribution with their old model CD's. The RIAA would have you think that no one who pirates music will ever buy the songs. but then of course, this is only the part of the studies that favor the RIAA. British groups have found just the opposite. MOST people will buy music if they think it will completely support the musician and NOT the fat cats in the middle.

    I buy my music from likes of David Bowie as he has made a point of NOT dealing with the RIAA and their like.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The music industry is over pricing there material. I do not see enough value in any music CD to pay 15 - 25 bucks. The most I will pay for a CD is 10.00 and I rather be paying 7 bucks a CD. At 7 bucks i would be picking a CD up every few days the way I do with movies. Its all about value, there is so much music content out there, its impossible for any normal person to own all the music they like at the prices they charge.

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