June 18, 2009

Ojibwe downloader owes $1.92 million

Jury:  Brainerd woman owes record firms $1.92 million

By Alex EbertA 32-year-old woman from Brainerd, Minn., owes $1.92 million in damages to recording companies for downloading their music, a federal jury in Minneapolis decided Thursday.

That amounts to $80,000 a song for the 24 songs Jammie Thomas-Rasset was accused of downloading.

The damages are eight times more than Thomas-Rasset, a mother of four, was ordered to pay the first time she faced six record companies in court on claims that she downloaded more than 1,700 songs. The judge granted a retrial after deciding that he had wrongly instructed the jury.

"The only thing I can say is, 'Good luck getting it from me,'" said Thomas-Rasset, who looked tearful immediately after hearing of the decision, but then appeared resolute.
As Wikipedia notes:Jammie Thomas (born 1977) is a Native American single mother of four from Brainerd, Minnesota, and works for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians in their Department of Natural Resources and Environment.Comment:  This monetary award is ridiculous on the face of it. As with every copyright violation case, the company assumes the copier would've purchased a legal copy if he or she didn't create an illegal copy. This is a false and baseless assumption. Most people would forgo the music or software if they couldn't download it.

For more on the subject, see:

Ojibwe downloader convicted
Ojibwe mom confronts experts
Ojibwe woman sued for file sharing


dmarks said...

Thank you for a discussion of this which does not use the word "theft". Many abuse this word in copyright violation situations in order to mislead.

Unknown said...

When I first read this story I was flabbergasted by the verdict. This decision seems to be punishment for Ms. Thomas-Rasset's choice to appeal the court's 1st decision. I would like to see the tally sheets justifying the extreme difference between the cost of actually downloading 24 songs (say $2 each)and the final decision.