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Intellectual Property Law

: Threat Level

Jury in RIAA Trial Slaps $2 Million Fine on Jammie Thomas

By David Kravets


thomas_testimonyA federal jury on Thursday found Jammie Thomas-Rasset liable in the nation’s only Recording Industry Association of America file-sharing case to go to trial, dinging her $1.92 million for infringing 24 songs.

Thomas-Rasset (then just Jammie Thomas) went to trial two years ago, and was ordered to pay $222,000 by a different jury for the same songs. The judge in the first case declared a mistrial. Thomas-Rasset opted for a new trial instead of settling like the 30,000-plus others the RIAA has sued or threatened to sue for copyright infringement.

Thomas-Rasset, fined $80,000 a track, told our sister publication, Ars Technica, she wouldn’t pay.

Clearly, the Minneapolis jury didn’t buy her latest version of events. This time, she testified that her children might have used her computer to file share on Kazaa. The previous trial, she testified a file-sharing hack or crack hijacked her WiFi connection, even though she didn’t have a WiFi router.

Under the Copyright Act, juries can award damages of up to $150,000 per pilfered track. About $3,500 was the average payment in the thousands of RIAA cases that settled out of court.

In December, the record labels announced they were winding down their 5-year-old litigation campaign and instead began lobbying ISPs to disconnect music file sharers. But the RIAA, the labels’ litigation arm, said it was continuing with the hundreds of cases already in the legal pipeline.

Here’s Thomas-Rasset’s $1.92 million playlist.

Courtroom sketch: Jammie Thomas testifying in her previous civil trial, while U.S. District Judge Michael Davis watches from the bench. (Wired News/ Cate Whittemore)

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Full post as published by Threat Level on June 18, 2009 (boomark / email).

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