Court awards $1.5 million in music piracy case

Minnesota woman Jammie Thomas-Rassett has been ordered by yet another court to pay the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) for illegally downloading songs, this time being told she must stump up $1.5 million.

A federal jury – the third to consider damages – picked a figure of $62,500 per song for the 24 songs she shared peer-to-peer file-sharing network Kazaa in 2006.

This is an improvement over the $1.92 million she was ordered to pay in June last year, but rather more than the $222,000 that the first jury ordered in October 2007.

“We are again thankful to the jury for its service in this matter and that they recognized the severity of the defendant’s misconduct,” says the RIAA.

“Now with three jury decisions behind us along with a clear affirmation of Ms Thomas-Rasset’s wilful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions.”

The case has become something of a cause celebre. While other defendants settled early on, Thomas-Rassett has continued to battle for over three years – not just out of principle, she says, but because she simply hasn’t got the money.

The RIAA says it’s given Thomas-Rasset plenty of opportunity to get out of the case relatively cheaply, offering initially to drop the case for just $5,000. More recently, it says, it suggested a fine of $25,000 to be paid to a musicians’ charity.

Thomas-Rasset has vowed to fight on.