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Thursday, January 28, 2010

MN mom expects $0 penalty for file-sharing

It has been a big news week for file-sharers, music fans, and copyright lawyers. Days after a judge reduced the file-sharing penalty for Minnesota mother of four Jammie Thomas-Rasset from $1.92 million to about $54,000, the recording industry offered to settle for $25,000, but Thomas-Rasset turned the offer down, CNET reports. "Sibley and Camara had already said that they planned to challenge even the lowered amount set by the court. Sibley told CNET last week they have always sought a $0 award." US District Judge Michael Davis had said earlier in his ruling that "the $1.92 million fine ... was 'monstrous and shocking'," the San Jose Mercury News reported. "Davis wrote in his ruling he would have liked to reduce it further but was limited in doing so. He said the new penalty is still 'significant and harsh'," but he denied Thomas-Rasset's request for a new trial. The $1.92 million in damages awarded the RIAA last summer "are eight times more than Thomas-Rasset ... 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 Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported last summer. "The judge granted a retrial after deciding that he had wrongly instructed the jury." The Star-Tribune added that, of the more than 30,000 suits brought by the RIAA against alleged file-sharers, Thomas-Rasset's was the only one to go to a jury trial, much less two such trials. Meanwhile, here's a thoughtful "letter" from a professional musician to a mom worried about her son's file-sharing, among other things distinguishing between privacy and file-sharing, and The Guardian recently declared "The strange death of illegal downloading." [See also a New Yorker interview with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood on the "MP3 generation."]

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