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US Filesharer Ordered To Pay $2 Million Damages To RIAA

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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Our Comments

$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.

Related Links

Huge fine in US file-sharing case (opens in new tab)

(BBC News)

Single-mother digital pirate Jammie Thomas-Rasset must pay $80,000 per song (opens in new tab)

(Times Online)

Woman fined millions for music file-sharing in US (opens in new tab)


Woman faces $1.9 million file-sharing fine (opens in new tab)

(PC Pro)

US record industry wins $1.92m from file sharer (opens in new tab)

(The Register)

Jury in RIAA Trial Slaps $2 Million Fine on Jammie Thomas (opens in new tab)

(Wired News)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.