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.

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

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29 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Trollbait says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

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.

Another AC says:

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.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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”.

Trollbait says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

ts.atomic (profile) says:

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…

a-dub (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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