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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Default Jury rules against Minneapolis Woman In Download Case, Fines Her $1.92 MILLION

    Jury rules against Minn. woman in download case

    By STEVE KARNOWSKI, Associated Press Writer

    MINNEAPOLIS – A replay of the nation's only file-sharing case to go to trial has ended with the same result — a Minnesota woman was found to have violated music copyrights and must pay huge damages to the recording industry.

    A federal jury ruled Thursday that Jammie Thomas-Rasset willfully violated the copyrights on 24 songs, and awarded recording companies $1.92 million, or $80,000 per song.

    Thomas-Rasset's second trial actually turned out worse for her. When a different federal jury heard her case in 2007, it hit Thomas-Rasset with a $222,000 judgment.

    The new trial was ordered after the judge in the case decided he had erred in giving jury instructions.

    Thomas-Rasset sat glumly with her chin in hand as she heard the jury's finding of willful infringement, which increased the potential penalty. She raised her eyebrows in surprise when the jury's penalty of $80,000 per song was read.

    Outside the courtroom, she called the $1.92 million figure "kind of ridiculous" but expressed resignation over the decision.

    "There's no way they're ever going to get that," said Thomas-Rasset, a 32-year-old mother of four from the central Minnesota city of Brainerd. "I'm a mom, limited means, so I'm not going to worry about it now."

    Her attorney, Kiwi Camara, said he was surprised by the size of the judgment. He said it suggested that jurors didn't believe Thomas-Rasset's denials of illegal file-sharing, and that they were angry with her.

    Camara said he and his client hadn't decided whether to appeal or pursue the Recording Industry Association of America's settlement overtures.

    Cara Duckworth, a spokeswoman for the RIAA, said the industry remains willing to settle. She refused to name a figure, but acknowledged Thomas-Rasset had been given the chance to settle for $3,000 to $5,000 earlier in the case.

    "Since Day One we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so," Duckworth said.

    In closing arguments earlier Thursday, attorneys for both sides disputed what the evidence showed.

    An attorney for the recording industry, Tim Reynolds, said the "greater weight of the evidence" showed that Thomas-Rasset was responsible for the illegal file-sharing that took place on her computer. He urged jurors to hold her accountable to deter others from a practice he said has significantly harmed the people who bring music to everyone.

    Defense attorney Joe Sibley said the music companies failed to prove allegations that Thomas-Rasset gave away songs by Gloria Estefan, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Journey and others.

    "Only Jammie Thomas's computer was linked to illegal file-sharing on Kazaa," Sibley said. "They couldn't put a face behind the computer."

    Sibley urged jurors not to ruin Thomas-Rasset's life with a debt she could never pay. Under federal law, the jury could have awarded up to $150,000 per song.

    U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, who heard the first lawsuit in 2007, ordered up a new trial after deciding he had erred in instructions to the jurors. The first time, he said the companies didn't have to prove anyone downloaded the copyrighted songs she allegedly made available. Davis later concluded the law requires that actual distribution be shown.

    His jury instructions this time framed the issues somewhat differently. He didn't explicitly define distribution but said the acts of downloading copyrighted sound recordings or distributing them to other users on peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa, without a license from the owners, are copyright violations.

    This case was the only one of more than 30,000 similar lawsuits to make it all the way to trial. The vast majority of people targeted by the music industry had settled for about $3,500 each. The recording industry has said it stopped filing such lawsuits last August and is instead now working with Internet service providers to fight the worst offenders.

    In testimony this week, Thomas-Rasset denied she shared any songs. On Wednesday, the self-described "huge music fan" raised the possibility for the first time in the long-running case that her children or ex-husband might have done it. The defense did not provide any evidence, though, that any of them had shared the files.

    The recording companies accused Thomas-Rasset of offering 1,700 songs on Kazaa as of February 2005, before the company became a legal music subscription service following a settlement with entertainment companies. For simplicity's sake the music industry tried to prove only 24 infringements.

    Reynolds argued Thursday that the evidence clearly pointed to Thomas-Rasset as the person who made the songs available on Kazaa under the screen name "tereastarr." It's the same nickname she acknowledged having used for years for her e-mail and several other computer accounts, including her MySpace page.

    Reynolds said the copyright security company MediaSentry traced the files offered by "tereastarr" on Kazaa to Thomas-Rasset's Internet Protocol address — the online equivalent of a street address — and to her modem.

    He said MediaSentry downloaded a sample of them from the shared directory on her computer. That's an important point, given Davis' new instructions to jurors.

    Although the plaintiffs weren't able to prove that anyone but MediaSentry downloaded songs off her computer because Kazaa kept no such records, Reynolds told the jury it's only logical that many users had downloaded songs offered through her computer because that's what Kazaa was there for.

    Sibley argued it would have made no sense for Thomas-Rasset to use the name "tereastarr" to do anything illegal, given that she had used it widely for several years.

    He also portrayed the defendant as one of the few people brave enough to stand up to the recording industry, and he warned jurors that they could also find themselves accused on the basis of weak evidence if their computers are ever linked to illegal file-sharing.

    "They are going to come at you like they came at 'tereastarr,'" he said.

    Steve Marks, executive vice president and general counsel of the Recording Industry Association of America, estimated earlier this week that only a few hundred of the lawsuits remain unresolved and that fewer than 10 defendants were actively fighting them.

    The companies that sued Thomas-Rasset are subsidiaries of all four major recording companies, Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, EMI Group PLC and Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment.

    The recording industry has blamed online piracy for declines in music sales, although other factors include the rise of legal music sales online, which emphasize buying individual tracks rather than full albums.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_tec_mu...nloading/print
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  2. #2
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    She needs a bail out. Should have settled. Call Obama. It is Lar's fault!

  3. #3
    Good Enough cabomiro's Avatar
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    Defense attorney Joe Sibley said the music companies failed to prove allegations that Thomas-Rasset gave away songs by Gloria Estefan, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Journey and others.


    That's what you get for listening to Gloria Estefan
    Cabo x 20
    Van Halen x 11
    Sammy x 20+
    DLR x 2

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    Her attorney's name is Kiwi? j/k!

    That's a pretty messed up case. She shoulda settled like the others did.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  5. #5
    Baluchitherium sinner's swing's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 02:41 PM
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    Kazaa? Really? Use any of those p2p "programs" are you're looking for trouble

  6. #6
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    She is right - they are never going to actually see this money. Better to actually give a more realistic fine that one could pay off.

  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing!
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    I imagine there aren't too many Moby fans around here but his latest blog on Myspace hits the mark regarding this trial.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moby
    the riaa have sued Jammie Thomas-Rasset of minnesota for $2,000,000 for illegally downloading music.


    argh. what utter nonsense. this is how the record companies want to protect themselves? suing suburban moms for listening to music? charging $80,000 per song?


    punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business. maybe the record companies have adopted the 'it's better to be feared than respected' approach to dealing with music fans. i don't know, but 'it's better to be feared than respected' doesn't seem like such a sustainable business model when it comes to consumer choice. how about a new model of 'it's better to be loved for helping artists make good records and giving consumers great records at reasonable prices'?


    i'm so sorry that any music fan anywhere is ever made to feel bad for making the effort to listen to music.


    the riaa needs to be disbanded.


    moby

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    great comments from Moby. I can't say I'm a "fan" per say, but I certainly respect his artistry and talent...and his outlook on this whole situation is very admirable.
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  9. #9
    Romeo Delight trrock's Avatar
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    This is aggravated witchhunt fuckery . It's like If I purchase a cd or dvd and loan it to my neighbor. She listens / watches it but doesn't also purchase said media. Suddenly I am responsible for the industry?!? It's called sharing and we're gonna hafta learn how or we will be extinct. Ok I'm done
    " Eating over the behavioral sink."

  10. #10
    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trrock View Post
    This is aggravated witchhunt fuckery
    This is my favourite sentence of the year..
    A man could lose himself in a country like this.

    My blog at http://tollins.blogspot.de/

  11. #11
    Baluchitherium
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    Not only does the RIAA need to be disbanded, but the record companies need a complete overhaul or need to be disbanded, as well. P2P sharing has changed the face of music, for better or for worse. It is good publicity if you have good music and an energized fan base, but at the same time you are attaining and keeping music that you didn't buy and that someone worked hard to write, record, and produce.

    I have mixed feelings about the whole P2P file sharing, but when it comes down to it I am against P2P sharing. I did it before - not in a major way - but the only remnants I have from then is the actual CDs or purchased songs of the artists I figured out I liked; if I didn't like them, I deleted them. I know that I don't work for free, and the artists shouldn't have to, either, regardless of the quality of their music.
    Last edited by Metal Marc; 06.22.09 at 03:54 AM. Reason: Too many uses of the word "douche"

    "The shit I read on this site." -- Dave's Dreidel (Nov 6th, 2013)

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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    File-Sharing Mom Fights Back

    NEW YORK(CBS/AP) If you share your music online, perhaps you should start saving now.

    Last week we reported on a Minnesota mom who defended herself against the recording industry and got slapped with $1.92 million in fines for sharing 24 songs over the Internet.

    Today, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was on CBS' The Early Show to make her case.

    Thomas-Rasset was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for pirating music. But unlike most of the more than 30,000 other targets of RIAA pirating lawsuits, Thomas-Rasset fought back. Her case was the first of its kind to go to trial. In 2007 she lost. A jury awarded $222,000 to the RIAA, but the judge threw out the verdict because he believed he gave incorrect instructions to the jury.

    That led to a second trial. Thomas-Rasset lost again. This time the jury ordered her to pay a whopping $1.92 million, or $80,000 per song.

    “There's no way they're ever going to get that,” Thomas-Rasset said after the verdict. “I'm a mom, limited means, so I'm not going to worry about it now.”

    Experts are divided on what the case means to the music industry. The heavy-handed verdict could intimidate those who share music online or create a negative backlash against an industry that is now trying to offer paid downloads as an alternative to swapping music for free.


    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/06...y5103420.shtml


    RIAA Wins Lawsuit, May Be the Big Loser

    By Eric Arnold in Music, Tech
    Monday, Jun. 22 2009 @ 9:59AM


    By now, you've probably heard that the RIAA has successfully sued the Minneapolis woman accused of illegally downloading music - to the tune of $1.92M or $80,000 per song. As reported by the Associated Press on Friday, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found found guilty of violating the copyrights on 24 songs in a retrial (in the original trial, the results were the same, except the damages were much lower--$222,000, or $9,250 per song). In any event, the damage amount seems rather excessive, especially since those same 24 songs (by Gloria Estefan, Journey, Sheryl Crow, and Green Day, among others) can be had for under $25 on iTunes. If the RIAA thinks they're about to get paid, all we can say is "Don't. Stop. Beee-lie-viiinnnnn'."

    "There's no way they're ever going to get that," Thomas-Rasset reportedly said, adding she found the figure "kind of ridiculous."

    The case is the only one of its kind to go to trial - approximately 30,000 similar lawsuits have been settled out of court for about $3,500 each. Thomas-Rasset had reportedly been offered a settlement in the $3-$5,000 range, but chose not to settle. Evidence against her seemed weak, since there was no way to prove that any of the songs she posted on Kazaa had been downloaded by others, or that she had been solely responsible for the downloading. Apparently, the jury didn't believe her excuses - at various times, she claimed her kids or ex-husband could have posted the songs. Whoopsy.

    According to a statement by spokesperson Cara Duckworth on the RIAA website, the labels are still willing to settle for a lesser amount: "We appreciate the jury's service and that they take this as seriously as we do. We are pleased that the jury agreed with the evidence and found the defendant liable. Since day one, we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so."

    Although the RIAA has stopped suing individuals accused of inviolate acts online--their strategy has shifted to targeting Internet Service Providers--about 10 cases remain currently unsettled. There's some speculation that the victory over Thomas-Rasset could result in higher settlements in those cases. But is this really as big a win for the major labels as headlines might make it seem?

    Not really, says radio industry guru Jerry Del Colliano. "Despite suing 30,000 people over the past five years, the RIAA has not stopped illegal file sharing," he points out. "In fact, file sharing has increased and continues to proliferate at a rapid pace. That's why the record labels and their legal arm, the RIAA, by and large lost in court [on Thursday, June 18]. The labels are certainly not going to collect on Thomas-Rasset's judgment. File sharing continues to elude the labels' ability to control it. And all those poor artists are still going to get screwed by a record label near them someday."

    The only way for the labels to stop the bleeding, Del Colliano believes, is "sue everybody under the age of 30. Everybody."

    However, as Billboard reported last Saturday in an article picked up by Reuters, "the sheer size of the damages could lead to a backlash against an industry that is already portrayed in some quarters as overreaching." Copyright lawyer Ben Sheffner noted that "Sony BMG attorney Wade Leak, who testified at the trial, said he was 'shocked' by the damages award."

    ZDNet entertainment law blogger Richard Koman says the trial has become a "public relations fiasco" for the RIAA, while Sheffner says "the Thomas-Rasset verdict provides a very human face to the argument." And, as we all know, the record labels are run by Matrix-esque suits who are anything but human.

    Who couldn't sympathize with a Midwestern single mom who happens to be a music fan? (Besides a jury given very explicit instructions which seemed to favor the RIAA, that is.) Thomas-Rasset is from Brainerd, MN--a place seemingly ripped from a Coen Bros. movie--and it's probably pretty obvious that she doesn't have almost two million dollars laying around under the cushions of her couch.

    The danger to the labels, Sheffner argues, is that the damages in this case are so over the top, they could erode some of the RIAA's traction with Congress: "the Minneapolis verdict could well lead to a legislative move to reduce the damages awards available against individual infringers like Thomas-Rasset."

    So the end result is that not only have the major labels not stopped file sharing, but they may have dealt a crushing blow to themselves in the court of public opinion - the one that really matters. Way to go, RIAA.


    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/...y_be_the_b.php
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing! Jesus H Christ's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 02:55 PM
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    From Rollingstone.com

    Last week a judge ruled Minnesota mom Jammie Thomas-Rasset owes the RIAA a $1.92 million fine for illegally downloading 24 songs. Richard Marx — one of the artists whose music Thomas-Rasset downloaded via P2P network Kazaa — is now speaking out against the court’s verdict, saying he’s “ashamed” to be associated with the massive fine.

    “As a longtime professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels,” Marx said in a statement. “These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets.”

    He continued, “So now we have a ‘judgment’ in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I’m ashamed to have my name associated with this issue.”

    Marx isn’t the only artist to take umbrage with the ruling against Thomas-Rasset. Writing on his official Website, Moby said, “What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music? Charging $80,000 per song? Punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business.”

    As Rock Daily previously reported, in the first trial against Jammie Thomas-Rasset in 2007, she was found guilty and charged with a $222,000 fine. However, that verdict was thrown out because of an error in jury instruction, setting the stage for the retrial and an even more colossal $1.92 million fine. The RIAA, who don’t actually expect Thomas-Rasset to pay the huge fee and instead see the verdict as a cautionary tale for those planning to illegally download, said they’d be open to make a settlement with Jammie. Still, Moby writes, “I’m so sorry that any music fan anywhere is ever made to feel bad for making the effort to listen to music. The RIAA needs to be disbanded.”
    "The less I needed, the better I felt." ~ Charles Bukowski.

  14. #14
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    Reynolds said the copyright security company MediaSentry traced the files offered by "tereastarr" on Kazaa to Thomas-Rasset's Internet Protocol address — the online equivalent of a street address — and to her modem.
    You know, this made me think - if you're one of those people that doesn't require a password to get on your wireless router, technically, your neighbour who's stealing your wireless signal/internet service could download shit like crazy, and it's all going to point to you. Just another reason to make sure you're locked down!

 

 

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