Jammie Thomas Verdict: This Time It's $1.5 Million For Sharing 24 Songs
from the pick-a-number,-any-number dept
The farce that is the Jammie Thomas-Rasset legal battle with the RIAA continues. In the third in a series of jury decisions, Thomas-Rasset has been hit with a $1.5 million verdict for sharing the same 24 songs, or $62,500 for each song. That is just slightly less than the last time around. From very early on, we had believed that Jammie Thomas’ case was always a bad test case, and one where she likely would have been better off settling. There are important legal questions in these fights, but Thomas-Rasset’s own actions greatly weakened her own case and served to distract from the important issues. However, she pushed forward. In the first trial, the jury awarded the RIAA (technically Capitol Records) $222,000, or $9,250 per song.
The judge then realized that he had made a mistake in issuing instructions to the jury and declared a mistrial. The second trial, apparently with proper jury instructions but lots more problems for Thomas-Rasset, resulted in a whopping $1.92 million verdict, or $80,000 per song. The judge then made the somewhat surprising move of unilaterally lowering the verdict down to (a still extreme) $2,250 per song. Neither side was particularly happy about this, and now the third trial is over and the jury has come close to that last award anyway. So, now what? One assumes the judge will reduce the award for the same reason he did last time and the case will finally move up a level for appeal.
The RIAA will, once again, gloat about this ruling, falsely implying that this is more evidence that “ordinary people” find such actions reprehensible, but that, again, is pure spin and ignores the reality of the situation. To be honest, this particular trial has become such a farce, that it’s really not worth paying much attention to it until we get to dig into the real issues at the appeals court.