retrial of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who was accused of illegally sharing 24 songs on Kazaa, was about to come to an end this week. In an earlier trial, Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $220,000 to the music companies, but today, a different judge and a different jury came back with a new verdict that was surely not what Thomas-Rasset was looking for. A federal jury, clearly unconvinced by Thomas-Rasset's defense, awarded the recording companies $1.92 million - which comes out to $80,0000 per shared song.As we reported earlier this week, the
"Kind of Ridiculous"
After the verdict, Thomas-Rasset told the Associated Press that the penalty was "kind of ridiculous," but also pointed out that she simply can't pay $2 million, so she is "not going to worry about it now."
As we pointed out in our earlier stories about this trial, the evidence clearly incriminated Thomas-Rasset, and the jury found that her conduct was willful. According to the Copyright Act, the jury could have awarded the music companies between $750 and $150,000 per song, but the jury, which clearly wasn't convinced by Thomas-Rasset's defense, came down in the middle at $80,000.
Could They Still Settle?
Ars Technica's Nate Anderson points out that RIAA spokesperson, Cara Duckworth, told reporters that the recording industry would still be willing to settle with Thomas-Rasset.
It seems like the RIAA is mostly interested in setting a precedent here, and if the two parties do eventually settle on a much smaller number (typically these cases ended in $5000 settlements), it surely wouldn't get the attention this current verdict received, leaving most of the public under the impression that a $80,000 fine per shared song is a real possibility.