The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues his quest against illegal file-sharing, and won a victory last week when it was awarded a $1.92 million judgement against a 32-year-old woman from Minnesota.
According to reports, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found guilty in an earlier case in which she was ordered to pay $222,000 for the same songs. However, that case was declared a mistrial, and she opted for a new trial instead of settling with the RIAA like 30,000+ others before her to get hit with suits from the organization.
That decision turned out to be the wrong one, when a federal jury on Thursday (June 18) found Thomas-Rasset liable for file-sharing, fining her $1.92 million for allegedly downloading 24 songs.
According to Wired, the Minnesota mother had proclaimed herself innocent all along, claiming her four children might have used her computer to access the file-sharing service Kazaa. However, in her earlier trial, she claimed someone had hacked into her WiFi connection, even though she did not own a WiFi router.
In Thursday’s ruling, she was fined $80,000 for each song.
A nearly $2 million judgement is a big steep for a middle-classed woman, but the RIAA said, according to Reuters, that they are willing to reach a settlement with Thomas-Rasset, as it had been all along.
Thomas-Rasset’s original suit was brought in 2006. While the Copyright Act allows for a fine of up to $150,000 per infringement, the average payment — in the thousands of settlement cases that have settled out of court — is around $3,500. In late 2008, after five years of launching highly unpopular suits against music consumers, the RIAA abandoned the tactic and announced that it would instead work with Internet service providers to curb the practice.
On Friday (June 19), Thomas-Rasset’s attorney Kiwi Camara told the Associated Press that they plan to appeal Thursday’s verdict. They say the size of the fine will be a part of the appeal, but also said they still need to decide on the specific legal grounds.