Court Reduces Award In Jammie Thomas-Rasset Case From $80,000 Per Song To $2,250

from the and-so-it-goes dept

It looks like the judge who oversaw the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case realized that the original $1.92 million award was just ridiculous -- even if the Justice Department supported it. Instead, the court has reduced the award to $2,250 per song, saying that seems much more reasonable:
The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages
While I question the use of "stealing" here, and still think that $2,250 seems pretty high (even the judge admits that if he weren't reducing the amount from the jury and had been able to set the amount originally, he probably would have gone even lower), this case had all sorts of problems from the start -- with tremendous evidence (well beyond just an IP address) that Jammie was, in fact, doing a fair amount of file sharing. Her defense and attempted reasoning were weak and not at all helpful. This seems like a case where she would be better off paying this off (somehow) and moving on.

It's now in the hands of the record labels if they'll accept this or if they want to have a new trial concerning damages. Again, for them, this might be a situation where they're best off accepting it and moving on. The original $80,000 damages got the labels a ton of bad press, with even the musicians whose music was shared speaking out against the case and other musicians arguing it was a reason to disband the RIAA.

Update: News.com suggests both sides might appeal. The interesting part is from the labels who, like I suggested above, do want to just bury this story and have the case be over with -- but might be worried about setting a precedent allowing a judge to lower a jury award.

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  1. icon
    TW Burger (profile), 22 Jan 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Re: bankruptcy

    Bankruptcy does not eliminate liabilities such as a court judgment, child support, taxes, some government loans, or certain legal obligations. It only can be used to write off personal or commercial debt.

    Even if you could it removes your ability to get any credit for seven years.

    Bummer.

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