Judge Cuts Damages In Minn. Music Downloading Case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge in Minnesota has reduced the penalty imposed on a Brainerd woman for illegally sharing 24 songs online from $1.5 million to $54,000.

U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis says in a ruling Friday that the penalty of $62,500 per song imposed by a jury last year was appalling and unreasonable. He reduced the penalty to $2,250 per song.

Attorneys for Jammie Thomas-Rasset had argued the $1.5 million judgment violated the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution because the penalty had no reasonable relationship to the damage caused.

The recording industry sued Thomas-Rasset in 2006 for illegally sharing music on the file-sharing site Kazaa. Three juries have ruled against her, but the case has seen multiple appeals.

A message left for Thomas-Rasset’s attorney was not immediately returned.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Maynard

    This case has been ridiculous from the start. I’m a businessman and I can’t for the life of me figure out why the recording industry would pursue a case such as this against an individual. It is terrible PR and accomplishes nothing…I doubt if it slowed down file sharing one iota. Shame on her for doing it…shame on the recording industry for beating up on this poor woman…and shame on the court system for not throwing the whole case out in the beginning.

  • buzzcut

    It’s at a time like this that the term “a pound of flesh” sounds practically reasonable.

  • HD Boy

    The recording industry does this because millions of thieves are cavalier about stealing music. Eventually, people will get the message, but only after hundreds or thousands of high-profile cases are publicized. People are dense.

    That said, the music industry really needs to find a clever new business model to solve this problem for the age of digital of downloads and easy copying. Apple Computer may have come up with something helpful to motivate legal ownership with its new iCloud service, which is due in September.

    iCloud will provide many free and cool services like a digital storage locker, calendar, address book and e-mail syncing to iPhones and other mobile devices, along with the popular “Find My iPhone” (or iPad/iPod) anti-theft service.

    But for $25 per year, iCloud also will sync all your iTunes songs and videos across all your Macs or PCs and multiple iOS devices. It even replaces the outdated, low resolution .mp3 or .m4a song files in your library with smaller (but higher resolution) .m4a files (and state-of-art compression and better sound quality). The biggest deal is that you don’t have to first upload your files to online servers (a process Amazon and Google require with similar new services) and the new iTunes sync will work with the music already on your computers as well as all music originally purchased through iTunes.

    Think about that. It gives everyone with music already on their computer a fresh start from piracy and could prove to inspire big changes in music buying habits. I think the idea here is to give consumers easier ways to have easy access to their music as a motivation to make legal purchases going forward. It’s a typical, consumer-oriented posture by Apple, but one that also could be good for the music industry.

    • Sam

      This is how the Nazis controlled people in their concentration camps. Take one person, beat them, torture them and kill them in front of the others and the rest fall into line.

      So take your spam post and get lost.

  • SlyRobber

    The entertainment industry is ridiculously over priced and over evaluated. This is true for music, movies, professional sports etc etc..Copying is as old as creation itself and is just a reaction to an out of touch industry with todays socio-economic reality. Myself I wouldn’t bother to listen or discover music if I hadn’t had access to them freely. Weather you like it or not you lose.

  • Hugh Jorgan

    Tell ya what – if you haven’t followed this story from the start and seen this woman, then you have no idea what an idiot she is. She had the chance to settle the matter early on by simply paying a comparatively small amount. But nooooo – she refused, got a worthless Native American lawyer, and took it to court and got her @$$ handed to herself on a silver platter. Real smrat there Pocahontas. Based on her appearance, the reduced $54,000 fine might as well be $1,000,000.
    Oh, and P.S. – the Internet community didn’t rally for her, or offer to help pay her legal fees or fines, because there is simply no fixing stupid.

  • Fred Garvin

    I love the hypocrisy going on in the entertainment industry. Lets see, buy this cd from us, buy this movie from us. if its get scratched too bad, buy a new one, do not make a copy, do not save on your hd, do not make “favorites” cds. if you do you are a criminal.

    By the way, Here is a computer with a dvd burner and a cd burner in it, and it will come with a burnging program for free, BUY IT!

    Here is a case of 100 blank cds, and 50 blank dvds, BUY THEM!

    Here are cd sleeves and a program for making labels, BUY THEM!

    OK, here is the important thing. Dont actually use them.

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