Thomas-Rasset Found Guilty Of File Sharing, Fined $1.9 Million
June 18, 2009 at 4:03 PM (PT)
JAMMIE THOMAS-RASSET has been found guilty -- again -- of illegal file-sharing ... and this time the penalty is much worse. The AP reports that a federal jury in MINNEAPOLIS found that THOMAS-RASSET "committed willful violation" of the copyrights on 24 songs.
The jury awarded the labels $80,000 a song for the violations, making the total fine $1.92 million. The new penalty is far greater than the original fine; the first jury awarded the labels $222,000.
THOMAS-RASSET was previously found guilty of illegally sharing music files in 2007, but received a new trial after the judge in the case decided he had erred in jury instructions.
Passing The Buck To The Ex, Kids
YESTERDAY, THOMAS-RASSET took the stand in her defense against charges of illegal file-sharing; she basically threw her children and her ex-boyfriend under the bus as the reason more than 1,700 songs were downloaded on her computer. According to the MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, THOMAS-RASSET denied downloading and distributing music over KAZAA. Rather, she claimed that her purchase of over 240 CDs proves that she bought rather than downloaded music.
When label attorneys showed evidence that proves someone in her home is liable for infringement, THOMAS-RASSET responded that she doesn't even "like many of the artists and songs that she is accused of downloading -- including 'death metal' bands such as COVENANT, MORBID ANGEL and VELVET ACID CHRIST -- but her children and ex-boyfriend do."
When the RIAA attorney asked why in previous instances, two depositions and another jury trial, she had never mentioned this, THOMAS-RASSET said, "I'm not going to point a finger at them just so you stop going after me." Although she acknowledged the possibility that her children and ex-boyfriend downloaded the songs, she refuses to believe they did.
Maybe Now She'll Settle...
According to the PARK RAPIDS ENTERPRISE, THOMAS testified during the trial that she could have settled her case for $5,000. After TODAY's verdict, an RIAA spokesperson told CNET NEWS that a settlement could still happen. "We appreciate the jury's service and that they take this issue as seriously as we do," CARA DUCKWORTH said. "We are pleased that the jury agreed with the evidence and found the defendant liable. Since day one, we have been willing to settle the case and remain willing to do so."
According to copyright advocate and former 20th CENTURY FOX counsel BEN SHEFFNER, who attended the entire hearing, one of THOMAS' attorneys has expressed a willingness to discuss a settlement.