Monday, July 25, 2011

RIAA Burned by Reduction in Damages Against File-Sharer

United States Courthouse, MinneapolisImage via WikipediaIn his 43-page Memorandum of Law & Order last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota Michael Davis in Capitol Records, Inc. et al v. Jammie Thomas-Rassett (Case No. 06-cv-01497) slashed a $1.5 million jury verdict against a woman who illegally shared copyrighted songs on KaZaA  to $54,000, the Jurist Website reported.

Judge Davis granted Jammie Thomas-Rassett's Motion to Amend or Alter the Judgment in her epic struggle against the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") which has involved three trials dating back to 2007 over 24 songs that the 34-year-old Minnesota native shared in violation of the The Copyright Act (see "TUOL" posts on 1/26/10 & 1/29/10). Calling the $1.5 million damages award "appalling" and noting that Thomas-Rassett was a "first-time willful consumer infringer of limited means who committed illegal song file-sharing for her own personal use," Judge Davis reduced the damages to $54,000, or $2,250 for each of the 24 songs, equal to three times the statutory minimum.

The $1.5 million verdict awarded in November 2010, violated Thomas-Rassett's due process rights, Judge Davis held. In an earlier trial, a judge assessed RIAA's damages from copyright infringement at $80,000 a song.

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