In what appears to be a striking decision in a high-profile internet piracy case, a woman in Minnesota has been ordered to pay around $2 million in damages to the Recording Industry Association in America (RIAA) after she was found guilty of infringing copyright laws by downloading tracks illicitly.
In the only file-sharing case that went to trial in the US, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a mother of four from Minnesota, was accused of wilfully infringing copyrights on 24 tracks, which she downloaded using Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing network.
Thomas-Rasset had been convicted back in 2007 and was ordered to pay $220,000 in damages, but the judge who presided over that case ordered for retrial after he misled the jury.
Big music brands and RIAA have sued several users for downloading and sharing songs illicitly, with a majority of those agreeing to out of court settlements of between $3,000 and $5,000.
But, Thomas-Rassett denied for any such settlement after being sued by the RIAA, and took the matter to court, and eventually she has been penalised with a whopping $80,000 per song.
Commenting upon the ruling, Thomas-Rasset in a statement outside the courtroom said, “There's no way they're ever going to get that. I'm a mom, limited means, so I'm not going to worry about it now”.
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$80,000 per song is slightly over the top and not likely to act as a deterrent. The problem is that it will take too long for the judicial system to extract the money from the filesharer even if s/he is guilty. In the meantime, the RIAA has to pay its legal team and these lads don't come cheap.