Jammie Thomas Rejects Offer From RIAA To Settle For $25k Plus Request For Judge To Vacate Last Week's Decision

from the and-so-it-goes dept

After the judge in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case decided to reduce the amount awarded to the record labels by the jury, we had hoped that both sides would figure out a way to just end this lawsuit. However, it looks like that's not happening. As we noted, the RIAA was extremely reluctant to accept the new, greatly reduced, award, not because of the amount, but because they're afraid to set precedent that a judge can lower the award in chosen by a jury using statutory damages in a copyright case. So, instead, the RIAA tried to offer Jammie a deal: pay $25,000 (donated to a musician's charity) and ask the judge to vacate the reduction in the award, and the case would be settled. This isn't surprising. The RIAA would just like the case to be over, but doesn't want to set the precedent, so they ask Thomass-Rasset to pay less, but the "trade" is to get the decision deleted. Thomas-Rasset quickly rejected the offer, and now it seems likely that the RIAA will reject the reduced amount and everyone will go back to trial over just the damage amount. In an interesting bit of spin, Thomas-Rasset's lawyers are claiming that this shows that the RIAA just wants to use this case as a "bogeyman" in order "to scare people into doing what they want," rather than as an attempt to actually recover any real damages.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Brendan (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Good for her.

    She's opening her self up to greater risk (then again, she was starting from $2M anyway...) in order to get this issue addressed and on the record.

    Let's see what the real damages are decided to be.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    $25,000? So that's $1041.66 per song. Interesting. And donated to a charity no less.

     

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  3.  
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    WOW, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    RIAA says they don't need the money

    like instead opf giving hte cash to artists they tell her to donate it to a charity?

    so they don't need the money ....I see...

     

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  4.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    I guess it means that the money wasn't going to go to the poor artists whose songs got raporized anyway.

     

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  5.  
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    dwind (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    The charity being given the money is probably sound exchange.

     

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  6.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    Re:

    I was thinking this too... "musician's charity" sounds like the entire recording industry to me. And it's one of those crooked charities that never pays the people it's supposed to be helping.

     

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  7.  
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    Anony1, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    All I can say is..stupid is as stupid does....pay up and shut up already.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    Given what she says her financial situation is, it's a scenario where regardless of the specific amount, she can't afford it. Which makes the final figure irrelevant, in turn meaning that there's no reason not to follow through on the Constitutionality aspects (or whatever else the team has in mind). Might as well go for, er, broke? This is a fantastic turn of events.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    "She can just take out a loan, no disrespect and then we'll take that money and give it to charity, hey I got an idea, why doesn't everyone take out a loan, in this economy it makes sense, I mean, just think about all the money we could raise for charity this way, if you know what I mean, what are you, a bunch of monsters, don't you want to help the poor, no disrespect." - RIAA

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Also just love the implication that giving money to the people who actually do the work they make their living from is an act of charity. gg guys.

     

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  11.  
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    Whatevs, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    "we had hoped that both sides would figure out a way to just end this lawsuit."

    No, we had not.

     

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  12.  
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    :), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    I like that gal.

    Feisty she is.

    Have more balls than some guy's LoL

     

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  13.  
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    Mike Raphone, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 8:10pm

    You would think the RIAA was a mortgage company.

    You'd think the RIAA was a mortgage company. After skipping down the road with bags of money, they extorted or weaseled from their victims, both expect victims of their abuse to pay them more than they can possibly earn in a lifetime.

     

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  14.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 9:36pm

    Re: I like that gal.

    I am thinking not so much feisty as getting the same sort of bad legal advice that seems screwing over Tenenbaum. She can get out of this cheap and easily, and still she declines?

    I smell some fail here, I doubt the numbers are going to get better for her.

     

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  15.  
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    Tek'a R (profile), Jan 27th, 2010 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: I like that gal.

    oh TAM.. Everything is money, right?

    "Gee, they are being so kind to accept less money. And all they want is immunity from legal precedents that weaken their thuggish behavior! I sure am lucky!"

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:08am

    Good for her

    The judgment should have been no more than $2500 total. They didn't prove actual damages. If the physical media was shoplifted, she would have gotten community service and had to have paid for what was taken out of the store.

    Some of you people don't know what poor is. This person doesn't have $25K -- she can't borrow $25K. The offer might as well have been $25B. I really hope that this can be appealed to a level where they base the judgment on actual damages and make the RIAA prove what those damages are and award no more than treble damages. That would end this RIAA extortion. The punishment in these cases can't be to take everything you have or ever hope to make over what should be a petty theft charge.

     

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  17.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:14am

    Re: Good for her

    I love the logic.

    let's adjust all prices to the amount you can afford. I'm not rich enough to pay full price for the condo I want in Hong Kong (50+ million), but I think I might have maybe 10% of that. I wonder if they would let me have it because it's a pretty good deal for them, right?

    Maybe we can adjust prison sentences too. The older you are, the less time you get. So when you are 20, dealing drugs gets you 20 years, when you are 30, it's only 10, and when you are 60, it's community service. That sounds fair.

    Yeah, good idea!

    If you can't do the time (or pay the price) don't do the crime.

     

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  18.  
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    Another AC, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: Good for her

    So instead we'll just use sums that make no logically sense at all? Is that what you mean? I think it is. Oh, TAM, you love to step in it, don't you?

    The fact is that the sums that the statute lists are for commercial infringement. The unfortunate thing is that you'll keep banging your head against the wall, tossing off numbers that have no basis in reality, and frothing at the mouth about how 'fair is fair,' and 'the law is the law.' No no, don't bother responding. Your backtalk ticket for the day is punched. Thank you, yes I'd like fries with that, and keep your damn finger out of your nose.

     

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  19.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    Indeed. Thomas doesn't really have much to lose as she's guaranteed to be bankrupt whatever the ultimate decision. The RIAA are the losers here, as they have to waste time arguing over the case to set a legal precedent. If they give up or lose, they will find it difficult to get what they want in the future. Meanwhile, they just look clueless and evil, killing their business model more quickly than any "pirate" ever could.

     

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  20.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:53am

    Re: Re: I like that gal.

    $25k is cheap? Maybe compared to what she was facing a few months ago, but most people don't have that cash lying around. She's bankrupt whatever the decision is, might as well fight it. The RIAA are haemorrhaging many, many times that $25k every single day, and partly because of their actions here.

     

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  21.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Good for her

    You want fries? Ask your boss if you can take what's left at the end of your shift. Please.

    As for the rest, let's just say we long since stopped debating if she illegal shared files (found guilty and unlikely to change) and now it is down to numbers. This is the third set of numbers, and the next set could be up or down depending on the leanings of a given judge on a given day. She can get out cheap now (about the price of a good car) or she can spin the legal wheel of fortune and come up with a $10 cost or a million dollars plus again. I am just thinking that she appears to be getting some pretty bad legal advice if she isn't willing to settle at some point, considering she has been found guilty.

     

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  22.  
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    a-dub (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 5:46am

    The musicians that support the RIAA are the real losers. Is there a black list out there that consists of musicians that completely support the RIAA? I would be interested in seeing such a list...I MIGHT download their music for free, but I sure as hell wont be going to their concerts, buying their merchandise, or visiting their websites.

     

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  23.  
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    ts.atomic (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Good for her

    to Anti-Mike:

    Do you seriously find equivalence between $50m condos in Hong-Kong and $0.99 mp3 tracks?

    Like the previous poster said, if she had shoplifted the actual CD's out of a music store, what would you imagine the judgement to have been? How about 1 to 2 years unsupervised probation and *maybe* a $500 to $1500 fine plus court-costs and the cost of the merchandise? Compare that to the extreme judgement she was given. There is no way a reasonable and prudent person can reconcile the differences without resorting to fantastically theoretical "what-if" arguments and over-the-top theatrics.

    Opinions may vary, but I doubt reasonable opinions will vary much...

     

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  24.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    "Is there a black list out there that consists of musicians that completely support the RIAA?"

    try RIAA Radar
    or for labels RIAA Member Labels

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:16am

    A bootlegger gets away with nothing

    Someone selling hundreds of bootleg CD's will likely end up with *maybe* a small fine for the first offense, and it is arguable that there is actual damage being done - vs the *theoretical possibility* of damage by sharing files (assuming that someone actually downloads them). I would see a reasonable penalty in the neighborhood of $0.15/song ( that's how much you'd pay to legally download from some Russian website regardless of RIAA saying they are not legal) multiplied by the actual number of downloads that can be proven, up to $300.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Good for her

    TAM, this is why no one takes you seriously.

    You honestly think she's going to pay $25000? That sum is exactly the same as $1.92 million to her, because she's just going to declare bankruptcy.

    She's getting free legal representation, while the Record Labels are squandering huge bucks on a single petty case. The only thing that matters to her is "how much time do I want to spend dragging this out".

     

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  27.  
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    Trollbait, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: I like that gal.

    Aah, I rather think she's feisty, Anti-Mike.

    I wouldn't settle either, were I in her position. I would rather troll and grief the RIAA - force them to expend endless resources - let them deploy thousands of lawyers, and until they got some sort of finality...

    Then I'd file bankruptcy, and let them eat it. As I don't have any assets, YOU LOSE!

    So, Anti-Mike - those who screw with the people deserve to get what they pay for.

     

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  28.  
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    Trollbait, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Good for her

    Our system provides for extensive due process, tens of years of appeals, and you just don't realize, TAM, that you don't get rich suing people with no assets. All you do is piss them off.

    Then they declare bankruptcy...and you get one gigantic serving of NOTHING with those fries.

    While, everyone with assets, they just make a rational decision to settle, if they can afford to. Not many 20-30 year olds have assets that aren't exempt under the bankruptcy laws.

    Failtroll.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    1. It is not at all clear that whatever judgment is ultimately award is dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    2. The damages provisions of copyright law do not draw a distinction between commercial and non-commercial actions.

    3. This case will likely move forward to an appeal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Sibley and Camara, the firm representing JRT, is using this case as an advertisement for the firm. It's focus deals with class action litigation, and I have little doubt it sees this type of case as a potential, future money maker.

    4. For those who "like this girl", I suggest you be wary. In an effort to try and point fingers elsewhere she tried to throw her then fiancee and kids under the bus. You could be next.

    5. A fedral district court opinion is not binding precedent. It is merely the opinion of the one judge deciding the case. Only appellate decisions are subject to stare decisis.

    6. There is a significant question of law presented, namely, does a district court judge have the authority to summarily reduce a jury award in instances where the award was based upon statutorily prescribed limits? This question involves the Seventh Amendment, and its answer is by no means clear.

     

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