updated 07:00 pm EDT, Mon August 22, 2011
RIAA tries again to raise Thomas fine
RIAA labels' attorneys on Monday appealed a decision to lower the fines against Jammie Thomas-Rasset over allegedly pirating songs. The music group claimed that Judge Michael Davis "erred" in determining that just making a song available through a peer-to-peer network didn't count as active distribution, letting him lower the total fine from as much as $1.92 million down to $54,000. Lawyers also disagreed with the notion that the original penalty violated due process rules.
Thomas-Rasset has often stood as a figurehead for the RIAA. In defeating her, it hoped it would deter not just piracy but others from trying to contest cases. At the height of its lawsuit-based campaign to try and slow piracy, it often counted on the unwillingness to enter into a costly court battle to get a settlement, often of a few thousand dollars, just by sending a notice warning of a possible lawsuit.
Critics have argued that the fines the RIAA wants, which originally went up to $62,000 per song, are far in disproportion to the actual damage done to the industry. If just a few thousand were caught and fined, music labels would have collected billions of dollars when the number of those that would have actually bought the music were considerably lower. The defendant in the years-old case was also one of lightest alleged infringers and was accused of pirating just 24 songs where many more traded hundreds or thousands of songs and were never reported.
Thomas-Rasset herself has vowed not to pay any fine if possible, although that's not expected to hold given possible evidence of lying.