Minnesota woman loses music downloading appeal

Sep 11, 2012, 9:10 PM

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A Minnesota woman accused of sharing songs online owes record companies $222,000 for willful copyright violations, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, reversing a lower court’s ruling in a long-running lawsuit over music downloading.

A three-judge appeals panel ruled that Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis erred when he cut the award against Jammie Thomas-Rasset to $54,000.

The Brainerd woman’s case was one of only two lawsuits to go to trial out of more than 30,000 filed by the recording industry in a drive to stop the unauthorized free downloading of copyrighted music, which the industry says has cut deeply into its revenues. The vast majority settled for about $3,500 apiece.

The U.S. Supreme Court in May refused to hear an appeal by former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum of a $675,000 award in the other case, but he has vowed to keep fighting.

Juries ruled against Thomas-Rasset in three separate trials since the industry sued her in 2006. Davis said the last award, of $1.5 million, was “severe and oppressive.”

But the appeals court found the high award was not unreasonable. It sent the case back to Davis for an order that she pay $222,000 _ the award from her original trial _ and for an injunction barring her from making the plaintiffs’ recordings available to the public via online media distribution systems in the future.

“We are pleased with the appellate court’s decision and look forward to putting this case behind us,” the Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement.

But Thomas-Rasset said she plans to appeal again as long as her attorneys remain with her for the long haul, and they’ve assured her they are. She has said she can’t afford to pay anyway.

Her attorney, Kiwi Camara, confirmed they’ll ask the Supreme Court to hear the case, saying the $222,000 award is punitive.

The industry has previously offered to settle for $25,000 and donate the money to a musician’s charity. Camara said they wouldn’t accept such an offer even if were made again.

The industry presented evidence that Thomas-Rasset made available over 1,700 songs to other computer uses via the file sharing service Kazaa, though the lawsuit targeted only 24 songs.

For tactical reasons, the appeals court noted, the industry didn’t seek reinstatement of the third jury’s award and was content with the original $222,000 _ $2,250 per song _ from her 2007 trial.

Thomas-Rasset got a second trial in 2009 after Davis concluded he made a legal error in her first. After Davis cut the second jury’s $1.92 million award to $54,000, the industry won a third trial that resulted in a $1.5 million award, which Davis again cut to $54,000.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)...
Associated Press

Should federal grants be in favor of highway repair over expansion?

Advocates for highway construction are concerned their projects are getting shortchanged in the competition for grant money under the new infrastructure law.
1 day ago
Demonstrators block traffic protesting the death of Tyre Nichols on January 27, 2023 in Memphis, Te...
Associated Press

Memphis police chief disbands unit responsible in beating of Tyre Nichols

The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers and had been inactive since Tyre Nichols' Jan. 7 arrest.
2 days ago
The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols on the g...
Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing Memphis officers beating a Black man was made public Friday after they were charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
3 days ago
Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
3 days ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
4 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Minnesota woman loses music downloading appeal