In a devastating blow to cyber pirate morale, a Minnesota jury ruled against a woman accused of illegally downloading songs, ordering her to pay an unprecedented $1.5 million to the Recording Industry Association of America.
This marked the third federal court appearance in the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a Minnesota native who caught the attention of the RIAA in 2006 after she illegally downloaded 24 songs from the peer-to-peer file-sharing network Kazza. Thomas-Rasset initially appeared in court in 2007 to contest the violation, when she was ordered to pay $222,000 in damages to the six record labels involved in the case.
In January, shortly after that amount was raised to $1.92 million following Thomas-Rasset’s second trial, the RIAA agreed to settle the case for $25,000. Thomas-Rasset refused the deal, leading to her third trial and the current fine of $1.5 million.
Thomas-Rasset, a single mother of four, repeatedly stated during yesterday’s trial that she would appeal the ruling and attempt to bargain the fine down to a more reasonable amount.
Among the songs Thomas-Rasset downloaded were “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard. Clearly, this case would be much more understandable were she being fined for having horrible taste in music.