Once again a Minneapolis jury has decided in favor of the RIAA, handing out a hefty fine for 24 songs shared back in 2006. The verdict is the third milestone win for the RIAA in this case.
It all started in 2007 when a jury hit Jammie Thomas-Rasset with a $222,000 verdict in her case against the RIAA. Thomas-Rasset later appealed and in 2008 a mistrial was declared, with the judge ruling that the fines were “disproportionate to the damages suffered.”
The case went up for re-trial before a new jury last year and again a guilty verdict was reached with even harsher fines than first time around. Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $80,000 per infringement mounting up to a total of $1.92 million in fines.
Fast forward a few months and this jury-awarded fine was reduced significantly to $54,000 at the beginning of this year, as the excessive damages were ruled to be unconstitutional.
Then this week, the appeal of the retrial was heard and once again the RIAA/Capitol Records came out as the big winner. The jury decided that Thomas-Rasset has to pay a $62,500 fine per shared song which adds up to a total of $1.5 million (compare that to Germany).
A massive win for the RIAA again, but not one that will benefit any musicians.
Previously, the RIAA told TorrentFreak that if they manage to recoup any of the damages, it will not go to the artists but will instead be used to fund new anti-piracy campaigns. “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” RIAA’s Jonathan Lamy said.
The RIAA sees these cases not as a means to recoup money, but as a good way to communicate their anti-piracy message to the public. These cases create awareness about the consequences illicit file-sharing may have, the group argues. That they lose money on them by paying millions in lawyer fees is a calculated decision.
Even after this third jury verdict the RIAA is set to get even more exposure, as this re-retrial is probably not the end of the road. Thomas-Rasset’s legal team has already announced that they will file a new appeal.