Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Damages in Thomas-Rasset File-Sharing Case Back to $222,000

By - Source: Cnet | B 26 comments

Jammie Thomas-Rasset is back to square one.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rules that the 34-year-old is guilty of having lied about illegally uploading music and will have to pay $222,000 in damages to the RIAA.

Thomas-Rasset's case has first the headlines in 2007, when (then single mom) Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay $222,000 in statutory damages for illegally uploading 24 files. Thomas previously had declined a $5,000 settlement offer. She was granted a re-trial, and received a $25,000 settlement offer and ordered to pay $1,920,000, or $80,000 per song, in that trial. The sum was then reduced to $54,000, which the RIAA declined and was awarded $1.5 million in a third trial. This amount was reduced again to $54,000, while the Court of Appeals now reinstated the original $222,000 judgment.

There is no reason to believe that this battle is over as Thomas-Rasset's attorneys said that they will be fighting all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that the unreasonable awards are targeted to punish organized crime, not individual persons.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    joytech22 , September 12, 2012 5:49 AM
    The law can be stupid sometimes.
    A fine should only be as large as one can afford to pay back.

    Seriously.. Who the fuuu ruins somebody's life for reasons of sharing someone's work.
    If someone distributed one of my songs and I lost $100,000 who cares. I would still be sitting on millions.

    It's not like I would be poor, and if I had to take action I would fine according to their income (50k a year income, I would fine possibly 5-10k to give them a nasty slap).
    1.9M is NOT a reasonable amount.
  • 17 Hide
    Super_Nova , September 12, 2012 6:17 AM
    This evil woman got what she deserves. In fact she and her family deserved to fry. Think of all the good deeds the RIAA have done and could have done with the money they missed due to this most vile deed of her sharing 24 songs. Now they will never be able finance feeding the starving children in Urk or discover a cure for the ingrown toenail. Why, they barely make enough money to feed their starving management. Even their lawers are forced to sell their grannies into white slavery. And all because this woman shared 24 files on the internet.
  • 15 Hide
    alidan , September 12, 2012 6:22 AM
    joytech22The law can be stupid sometimes.A fine should only be as large as one can afford to pay back.Seriously.. Who the fuuu ruins somebody's life for reasons of sharing someone's work.If someone distributed one of my songs and I lost $100,000 who cares. I would still be sitting on millions.It's not like I would be poor, and if I had to take action I would fine according to their income (50k a year income, I would fine possibly 5-10k to give them a nasty slap).1.9M is NOT a reasonable amount.


    the punishment is worse than murdering another person... got to love how laws work.
Other Comments
    Display all 26 comments.
  • 20 Hide
    joytech22 , September 12, 2012 5:49 AM
    The law can be stupid sometimes.
    A fine should only be as large as one can afford to pay back.

    Seriously.. Who the fuuu ruins somebody's life for reasons of sharing someone's work.
    If someone distributed one of my songs and I lost $100,000 who cares. I would still be sitting on millions.

    It's not like I would be poor, and if I had to take action I would fine according to their income (50k a year income, I would fine possibly 5-10k to give them a nasty slap).
    1.9M is NOT a reasonable amount.
  • 17 Hide
    Super_Nova , September 12, 2012 6:17 AM
    This evil woman got what she deserves. In fact she and her family deserved to fry. Think of all the good deeds the RIAA have done and could have done with the money they missed due to this most vile deed of her sharing 24 songs. Now they will never be able finance feeding the starving children in Urk or discover a cure for the ingrown toenail. Why, they barely make enough money to feed their starving management. Even their lawers are forced to sell their grannies into white slavery. And all because this woman shared 24 files on the internet.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 12, 2012 6:20 AM
    According to the article, it sounds as if she was offered a $5k settlement and declined. At some point it is cheaper to settle than continue paying a lawyer to appeal.
  • 15 Hide
    alidan , September 12, 2012 6:22 AM
    joytech22The law can be stupid sometimes.A fine should only be as large as one can afford to pay back.Seriously.. Who the fuuu ruins somebody's life for reasons of sharing someone's work.If someone distributed one of my songs and I lost $100,000 who cares. I would still be sitting on millions.It's not like I would be poor, and if I had to take action I would fine according to their income (50k a year income, I would fine possibly 5-10k to give them a nasty slap).1.9M is NOT a reasonable amount.


    the punishment is worse than murdering another person... got to love how laws work.
  • 11 Hide
    lahawzel , September 12, 2012 6:25 AM
    How the fuck is this case still ongoing?

    Copyright infringement cases should just be settled by making the person pay for the stuff he or she pirated. You wouldn't sue somebody for millions if they took a CD from a music store; don't do that shit to people who downloaded it.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 12, 2012 7:29 AM
    America is beautiful in every way possible.
  • 6 Hide
    freggo , September 12, 2012 8:45 AM
    Oh, let the lawyers have some fun.
    When they attorneys for both sides are finally out of appeals and PR opportunities she will file for bankruptcy and have everything discharged.

    Fudge the RIAA ! They are just trying to protect an outdated business model.
    It is time to come up with a system that give a fair share to the artists instead of some fat cats in the studios !
  • 3 Hide
    cookoy , September 12, 2012 11:03 AM
    Some people are born for the sole purpose of making other peoples' lives miserable.
  • 5 Hide
    gruffmeister , September 12, 2012 11:17 AM
    Seriously how can they justify $222,000 for 24 files? I thought the fine had to be in proportion to damages?
    24 files (say music) would be worth maybe $0.99 each, call it $25 for 24 files. It would mean over 8880 people would have had to have downloaded the file from her to justify this money. Can they prove that? If they could surely these other people would be in the dock too?
    This type of law encourages people to hate RIAA and take up piracy just to get at them!
  • 5 Hide
    K2N hater , September 12, 2012 12:31 PM
    gruffmeisterSeriously how can they justify $222,000 for 24 files? I thought the fine had to be in proportion to damages?24 files (say music) would be worth maybe $0.99 each, call it $25 for 24 files. It would mean over 8880 people would have had to have downloaded the file from her to justify this money. Can they prove that? If they could surely these other people would be in the dock too?This type of law encourages people to hate RIAA and take up piracy just to get at them!

    There's much more in the world than just RIAA and Hollywood content and that's why they declared war to every means of learning it. They want their audience tied to them through ignorance and threats.

    Congressman should keep their eyes open for turning people into sheep was never the ideal of the founders of the USA.
  • 2 Hide
    christop , September 12, 2012 12:37 PM
    How are they coming to a price per song on this? Most newer music is worth like 10 cents a track IMO.
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , September 12, 2012 12:40 PM
    The bastards are stuck in the past with their business model and try to send a strong message to all who pirate music, this is what this trial is all about for them. I for one haven't bought a single piece of music from an Riaa label for years because its easy to see some lawyer firms earn more money than some of the musicians who made the music in the first place. I hope musicians start to cut the fat corrupted fingers out of the equation and instead use the future models to distribute music through the internet!

    If Riaa labels think their goods is at such a high premium that sharing a few songs proportionally should ruin a persons life - Screw them!
  • 3 Hide
    southernshark , September 12, 2012 12:45 PM
    freggoOh, let the lawyers have some fun.When they attorneys for both sides are finally out of appeals and PR opportunities she will file for bankruptcy and have everything discharged.Fudge the RIAA ! They are just trying to protect an outdated business model.It is time to come up with a system that give a fair share to the artists instead of some fat cats in the studios !



    Wiping out a 34 year old woman's entire life savings, which is not so easy to make up at 34.
  • -1 Hide
    ctbaars , September 12, 2012 12:45 PM


    @joytech22. Based on dealing with as many people over many years as I have; forgive me if I don’t believe you are as altruistic as you attribute to yourself.

    The fine does sound unreasonable but perhaps I don’t know all the facts.
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , September 12, 2012 12:45 PM
    Its dangerous being a US citizen. Between the dangers of debt penalties and lawsuits and the millions of criminal charges which might be levied against you in that country, it just isn't a great country to belong to. Better to emigrate like I did.... less taxes too.
  • 1 Hide
    techcurious , September 12, 2012 2:12 PM
    First of all, I am not defending the RIAA and the damages they are claiming. However, just for the sake of fair argument/debate, I want to point out something many seem to be missing. She is not being fined for downloading/stealing 24 songs.. she is being fined for UPLOADING 24 songs. So I guess their argument is that she facilitated the illegal download of thousands of copies of those 24 songs. So, it's not the same as stealing just one or two CD's.. more like stealing a whole store of CDs to illegally sell on the street corner.
    That said, still.. 222,000 is waaaayyy too much, let alone 1.5 Million!! That judge deserves to be fired for thinking that 1.5 Million was even remotely fair.
  • 0 Hide
    TeraMedia , September 12, 2012 2:57 PM
    I think gruffmeister might be on to something. I'm not a lawyer, but I wonder whether it is legal for two people to be charged with the same crime? If not, then what happens when some other person who settled with the RIAA has been found to have downloaded the music that this woman shared? Were there two crimes committed in that case, or just the one? And if just the one, then is it legal to try this woman for committing a crime for which another person has already been effectively convicted (by settlement)? I wonder.

    The punishment in this woman's case, $222,000, is obtuse; if you assume that she has enough free time in her life to earn an additional $8,880 per year (~20 hrs / wk at $8), then the punishment is roughly equivalent to about 25 years' worth of slave labor (albeit with reasonable working conditions). That's a pretty harsh punishment.

    Regardless, I don't condone piracy. Publishing someone else's work - whether for personal gain or for free - is wrong. If I spent a year working on something to try to earn money to survive, and someone else took that work and stripped the value out of it, that would cause real physical harm.
  • 0 Hide
    LukeCWM , September 12, 2012 2:58 PM
    freggoOh, let the lawyers have some fun.When they attorneys for both sides are finally out of appeals and PR opportunities she will file for bankruptcy and have everything discharged.Fudge the RIAA ! They are just trying to protect an outdated business model.It is time to come up with a system that give a fair share to the artists instead of some fat cats in the studios !

    I agree, except the fat cats aren't in the studios. Engineers in virtually all studios are hardly getting by. The fat cats are in the record labels.
  • -2 Hide
    Learn_w_Graffix , September 12, 2012 4:10 PM
    techcuriousFirst of all, I am not defending the RIAA and the damages they are claiming. However, just for the sake of fair argument/debate, I want to point out something many seem to be missing. She is not being fined for downloading/stealing 24 songs.. she is being fined for UPLOADING 24 songs. So I guess their argument is that she facilitated the illegal download of thousands of copies of those 24 songs. So, it's not the same as stealing just one or two CD's.. more like stealing a whole store of CDs to illegally sell on the street corner.That said, still.. 222,000 is waaaayyy too much, let alone 1.5 Million!! That judge deserves to be fired for thinking that 1.5 Million was even remotely fair.

    Did she actually sell them? If not, are they "estimating" how much "damage" she caused? Does that even sound reasonable? If someone throws a basketball into a flower bed, then the $ amount can be determined based on fair market value, although it may be an "estimate" due to fluctuating prices. It seems absurd to come up with an amount to fine an individual using "what could have happened" as the basis--unless you are trying to "get someone back" or "teach them a lesson." Also, the amount of sales lost is not the damage; at most it would be the amount of profit lost. (At some point, and it seems a far cry from $220K, it becomes "cruel and unusual punishment," and isn't "getting someone back" cruelty?) The whole thing seems like a perversion of justice.
  • 1 Hide
    igot1forya , September 12, 2012 5:35 PM
    She can always move to Canada/Mexico and call it a day.
Display more comments