RIAA Lawsuits Again

Here’s a story that I bet you thought you’d heard the last of, but like a recurring nightmare, the tale of Jammie Thomas-Rasset and the RIAA is back again.  The good news is that Thomas-Rasset, who was originally set to pay almost $2 million in damages for the 24 tracks that she downloaded from Kazaa, has had that fine reduced to $54,000.  In his decision lastFriday, US District court Justice Michael Davis said that the $1.92 million verdict was unjustified, and triple the statutory minimum of $750 per track. He added that even $54,00 was “significant and harsh” but at least it’s not (monstrous and shocking”. Thomas-Rasset, for her part, had filed papers after the last verdict saying that the judgement was, among other things, unconstitutional. Judge Davis said in this most recent order that the record labels have until Jan. 29 to decide whether to accept the new award or request a new trial on the issue of damages.  And it looks like there will be a third trial. After this ruling, the RIAA sent Thomas-Rasset an offer to settle for $25,000 which would be payable in installments to a musician’s charity.  No dice, said Thomas-Rasset, and so the sage will continue, long after anyone but her cares about it. Much more interesting, however, says Ars Technica,   

would be a major class-action lawsuit against the recording industry. Such a lawsuit would get even more intriguing if the prosecuting lawyers said that they plan to “get the $100 million that [the RIAA] stole” by suing people and collecting settlements. (The RIAA says it has not earned $100 million from the campaign, and that it actually lost money after paying all the lawyers.)

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