Reduction of Damages for Jammie Thomas-Rasset Appealed by RIAA
On 06.09.11, In Legal Industry, by Blake Houser
A lot of time and effort has been spent by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in trying to apprehend file sharers in an effort to discourage piracy and put more revenues back into their pockets. The ironic thing, however, is that the legal costs associated with going after those who pirate music appear to outweigh what the organization wins in all of these cases.
Last month, it was reported that the RIAA has shelled out more than $3 million in legal fees to sue Jammie Thomas-Rasset, and in the end, she may only have to pay them around $54,000 as a result of a court ruling handed down last month.
Now, RIAA is fighting by filing an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri, on the decision of the judge to slash the damages award. The organization believed that the court has failed in classifying the file-sharing activities of Thomas-Rasset, under 106(3) of the Copyright Act, as a “distribution” and that a miniscule price tag of $54,000 will not deter others from performing the same act.
The first jury trial of RIAA with Jammie Thomas-Rasset happened in 2007, after the latter was found to have shared more than 1,700 files, through the online file-sharing outfit Kazaa, in 2005. However, only 24 of the files were identified, which included music tracks by Green Day, Aerosmith and AFI.
Originally, the damages were pegged at around $222,000. However, that 2007 case was declared a mistrial. In 2009, another case was filed and this time, Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay a total of $1.92 million. In 2010, it was reduced to $1.5 million and was slashed further when U.S. District Judge Michael Davis decided to make it $54,000.