In the very first file-sharing case to go before a jury, Jammie Thomas of Minnesota was found guilty of copyright infringement and ordered to pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that were shared over Kazaa back in 2005. That means she owes the RIAA $222,000 dollars. While that amount of money is ridiculous for 24 songs, it’s better than the $150,000 that the RIAA originally claimed that they deserved per song, or a total of 3.6 million dollars.
With a win under their belt, you can bet that the RIAA just got filled-up with enough confidence to take another victim to court. Because this was the first file-sharing case to go before the court, and the industry won, this may influence the outcomes of other similar trials in the future. Ray Beckerman, a New York Lawyer who writes a blog about the Recording Industry versus The People said that the verdict was “one of the most irrational things I have ever seen in my life in the law. A verdict of $22,000 for infringement of 24 song files worth a total of $23.76? It is an outrage, and I hope it is a wake-up call to the world that we all need to start supporting the defendants in these cases.”
People around the Blogosphere, as you can imagine, are appalled at the fact that the RIAA won, but even more appalled at the fact that this woman has to pay $9,250 for each song. Here’s a sampling of the comments:
- At Computer World: “How long will it be before you will not be able to play a song loud enough for someone else to hear it other than the person who bought the song?”
- At Gizmodo:”This is shocking. not surprising, but shocking none the less. I guess my two mp3 players, that have thousands of songs that I bought on CD, are illegal contraband. My options of moving to Asian countries for work are looking more appealing. I’ve officially lost faith.”
- At Ars: “I believe the verdict was correct according to the law but is the law right? $222,000 for 24 SONGS??? I would be very interested in knowing what the RIAA offered to settle for as it was probably much less that this judgement. Sucks for Jammie!”