Major Labels Hate Moms


The New York Times reports that a Minnesota woman has been ordered by a federal jury to pay $1.92 million to several major record labels for illegally sharing 24 songs on Kazaa. For those of you doing the math at home, that’s roughly $80,000 per song. At her original trial in 2007, 32-year-old Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $222,000 – a mere $9,250 per song. The jury in the retrial was not as lenient. Over 35,000 have been sued by the RIAA in the past few years, but this is the only case to have gone to trial. The RIAA does not intend to collect the full amount, hoping to reach a settlement with the mother of two. After the trial, she told reporters there was no way she could have paid it anyway. “The only thing I can say is good luck trying to get it, because you can’t get blood out of a turnip.” MOM!

POSTED June 19, 2009 7:08PM IN THE TRIPWIRE Comments (1) TAGS:




  1. Cory says:

    The case is really interesting. The verdict against Jammie originally came down in the fall of 2007. Back then the verdict was $222,000 for the 24 songs. The RIAA used a theory called “making available” because they couldn’t prove copyright infringement. Copyright infringement requires violation of some certain exclusive rights under Sec. 106. such as distribution, reproduction, etc. The way KaZaA works was that songs you download go to a file to be shared with others. Also though, you can put any songs into that file that you don’t download from KaZaA. The RIAA couldn’t prove that Jammie had downloaded those 24 songs, and because of the Home Audio Recording it (perhaps) wasn’t technically an unauthorized reproduction of the original 24 songs. So, not being able to prove unauthorized reproduction, they are left with distribution.

    The RIAA argued that because these 24 songs were in theis share file and that on the night that Jammie was logged on, some songs were downloaded from KaZaA somewhere (although they cannot pinpoint it to Jammie’s computer) that an “inference” can be made that songs were downloaded from Jammie, and thus she distributed them, infringing Sec. 106.

    The original $222,000 verdict was thrown out on appeal because the Ct. of Appeals acknowledged that there is no such thing as “making available”…similarly, the court will throw this case out because the RIAA has done nothing more than to reword their argument and use “make an inference of downloading” rather than that Jammie has made it available. It goes against the core of copyright law to let a verdict like this stand and while the RIAA won’t allow it to go to the Supremes because they won’t want the negative precedent they’re sure to get…I would love to see it get there with retribution for Jammie.