RIAA wins: Filesharer ordered to pay $1.92 million

Richard Sennott/Minneapolis Star Tribune/Newscom
Accused filesharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset in court in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset has been found liable – again – for sharing 24 songs on the peer-to-peer network Kazaa, and this time the jury agreed to fine her $80,000 per song.

The award was nearly nine times the $9,250 per song a jury found Thomas-Rasset responsible for in her 2007 trial, which was ruled a mistrial last year.

It's as if they'd said "eleventy billion dollars" (scroll to 5:47).

"Good luck trying to get it from me... it's like squeezing blood from a turnip," Thomas-Rasset told reporters of the money after the trial. "I'm a mom, limited means, so I'm not going to worry about it now."

Will the RIAA try to collect? According to RIAA spokesperson Cara Duckworth, "Since day one we have been willing to settle this case... and we remain willing to do so." Thomas-Rasset and the RIAA couldn't reach a settlement in May, and so the case went to trial.

The RIAA's case against Thomas has likely gone as far as it has to send a message, ZDNet's Sam Diaz wrote. But the large fine may not have its desired effect. "Oddly, this gigantic verdict may do more to hurt than help the RIAA, because it offers a vivid demonstration of how out of synch the RIAA's damages theory is with decades of case law about the reasonableness requirement for copyright statutory damages," Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who has represented clients facing piracy lawsuits told Computerworld.

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson has been following the trial from the start.

As Stan Shroeder wrote on Mashable, "The RIAA is blowing the damages piracy has caused them completely out of proportion.... Hopefully, initiatives like the Pirate Party, which recently managed to enter the European Parliament, will change people’s perception of copyright altogether."

Monitor Editor John Yemma tackled piracy and file-sharing in this April piece: If file-sharing is piracy, what about aggregators?

One solution, though attractive, seems unlikely to catch on: An international day of sharing.

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