Downloading illegal music cost Jammie Thomas $1.5 million | Update
It looks like it’s getting tougher and tougher to get your music fix these days, with the shutdown of LimeWire (under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software), and now poor ol’ Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who just got slammed with an absurd $1.5 million in damages to Capitol Records.
The Recording Industry Association of America,the trade group that represents the four major music labels, including Capital Records, applauded the verdict.
The decision, handed down in a Minnesota federal court on Wednesday, cut more than $400,000 from the $1.92 million that Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay the companies by a separate jury in June 2009. The first jury to hear the case in 2007 had ordered Thomas-Rasset to pay $222,000 to the firms.
So where exactly does it start, the unfortunate Minnesota woman who got busted for downloading a whopping 24 MP3’s four years ago has lost a bout in court with the mighty Capitol Records which basically orders her to pay $62,500 for each song she ‘illegally downloaded’ in April 2006.
At that rate, why would record companies even sell songs on iTunes? They could just release them onto a torrent (pretending it’s a leak of course) and then sue everyone who downloads them.
Earlier on, the first jury found her liable for copyright infringement in 2007 and ordered her to pay $222,000, the judge in the case later ruled that he ‘erred’ in instructing the jury and called for a retrial.
In the second trial, which took place in 2009, a jury found Thomas-Rasset liable for $1.92 million.
So let’s look at this realistically (real life), if she shoplifted 24 CDs from Walmart that would have a cost of between $300 and $350, depending on the price of the CDs.
Let’s say it works out to about 15 songs per CD. That’s not even enough to make it a felony; it truly amazes me how any jury could come up with such an outrageous number. Unless those specific copies of the songs actually contained the souls of the artists, this is ridiculous.
1.5 million for 24 songs? Makes you wonder who the REAL pirates are!
In other words, someone’s life has been essentially destroyed by forcing them into bankruptcy for committing what would otherwise be considered petty theft.
I’m not saying downloading music illegally isn’t wrong. The RIAA’s bullying however, is exponentially worse, and this nonsense just gives the general public more reason to boycott buying music.
The 24 songs she is being sued for, including Gloria Estefan’s “Here We Are” and Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile,” according to Wired.com, were chosen as a representative sample of the more than 1700 songs RIAA claims she downloaded and circulated among Kazaa’s 2 million users.
Experts say she will likely appeal again on the grounds the decision is unconstitutional.
An RIAA spokeswoman applauded the jury’s verdict in an emailed statement to ComputerWorld.com. “Now with three jury decisions behind us, along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset’s willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions,” she said.
The full list of songs Thomas-Rasset is on trial for:
Guns N Roses:”Welcome to the Jungle”; “November Rain”
Vanessa Williams: “Save the Best for Last”
Janet Jackson: “Let’s Wait Awhile”
Gloria Estefan: “Here We Are”; “Coming Out of the Heart”; “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”
Goo Goo Dolls: “Iris”
Journey: “Faithfully”; “Don’t Stop Believing”
Sara McLachlan: “Possession”; “Building a Mystery”
Linkin Park: “One Step Closer”
Def Leppard: “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
Reba McEntire: “One Honest Heart”
Bryan Adams: “Somebody”
No Doubt: “Bathwater”; “Hella Good”; “Different People”
Sheryl Crow: “Run Baby Run”
Richard Marx: “Now and Forever”
Destiny’s Child: “Bills, Bills, Bills”
Green Day: “Basket Case”
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