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Jammie Thomas-Rasset's P2P bill drops from $2m to $54k

updated 05:55 pm EST, Fri January 22, 2010

Judge says RIAA demands unrealistic

Judge Michael Davis in a decision today shrunk the $1.92 million penalty against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for her alleged music copyright infringement. The change stops short of exonerating Thomas-Rasset but asks a much lower $54,000 in total for the 24 shared songs, or $2,250 per song. In the ruling, Judge Davis also accused the music labels that began the case of asking for a disproportionate sum of money; the requested amount has to "bear some relation" to what was actually lost, he said.

"The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music," he wrote in the decision, adding that the original penalty would "shock the conscience of the court."

The plaintiffs can still contest the results within the next week but would have to begin a new trial to settle the question of damages. Lawyers for the labels, which include Sony, Warner and Universal as well as sub-labels like Arista, Capitol and Interscope, have yet to respond to the change.

Publicly, the RIAA and its member companies have ceased the legal campaign that targeted Thomas-Rasset and numerous other alleged infringers, opting instead to pursue a warning system to alert Internet users whose connections are carrying such material. However, the remaining lawsuits that weren't settled out of court have often continued on or else seen no lessening in the amount of damages requested, which can sometimes include tens of thousands of dollars for each song.

The ruling could have significant implications for the treatment of music distribution in the US as it sets a financial limit on the impact of illegal media sharing.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    It should be...

    It should be $0.00

    - A

  1. emig647

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2009


    54k is much more reasonable...

    I'm very much against the methods that the RIAA does... but 2million was absolutely insanity. If I got hit with a 2 million dollar verdict, I wouldn't pay a penny back. There is no way I'd be able to pay that back in a life time and still live comfortably. I can handle 54k though. I wouldn't like it, but I'd at least be able to pay it back.

  1. ggirton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    ten dollars a song

    seems exorbitant, and depending on the song, the music industry execs should also be liable. If the song really sucks, then the execs should have to kick in some of their loot too. Seems only fair.

  1. malax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006


    Over-cautious wording

    She was convicted, so the word "alleged" should be removed from the opening sentence.

    "Judge Michael Davis in a decision today shrunk the $1.92 million penalty against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for her alleged music copyright infringement."

    Innocent until proven guilty. Once proven guilty, it's not "alleged" any more. Just a pet peeve of mine regarding press reports in general.

  1. pat1

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010


    comment title

    It seems terribly ineffective to target a small number of people who steal and distribute intellectual property without paying ANY $ for them. Surely there is a more effective approach for going after larger numbers of offenders to pay for this. I just love the way we all sooth and fool ourselves in an attempt to feel ok about stealing a musicians work by saying "everyone does it", "the record companies are idiots" or other excuses. Folks should just man up (or woman up) and admit that the thousands of songs on their hard drives were stolen and the artist never got a fair penny for them and that they don't care about them (artists).

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