Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thomas-Rasset's Judgment Reduced From Nearly $2m to $54k

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, one of only to defendants in the RIAA's legal battle against illegal music downloaders, has had her judgment reduced from from $1.92 million to only $54,000. The Judge, finding the size of the judgment "so grossly excessive as to shock the conscience of the court", granted a remitter. This is wholly different than the Constitutional argument that a large statutory damage judgment violates due process under the law. If the RIAA strategy was to get a few big judgments to scare people into complying with copyright laws, they will likely appeal. Having such a large remitter in the case law would hurt a future litigation strategy.

The court noted:

Although Plaintiffs highlight valid reasons that Thomas‐Rasset must pay a statutory damages award, these facts simply cannot justify a $2 million verdict in this case. Thomas‐Rasset was not a business acting for profit. Instead, she was an individual consumer illegally seeking free access to music for her own use. ...
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.

You can read and download the Court's order granting remitter below. (Copyrights & Campaigns blog has further analysis.)

Thomas Rasset Remitter

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