RIAA awarded $80,000 for each file-shared song

In her second, but almost certainly not final, trial, Jammie Thomas-Rasset (née Thomas) has now been ordered by a federal jury to pay $1.92 million to the RIAA for the 24 songs she is charged with sharing online. That comes out to $80,000 per track, considerably more than the $208.33 per track the RIAA, according to their legal summation at trial, had offered to let her off with in their original "pay or we sue" letter.

According to Wired, Thomas-Rasset (then simply Thomas) was ordered in her first trial to pay $222,000 (or $9,250 per song) by that trial's jury, but then a mistrial had been declared.

The RIAA has said that it has always wanted and continues to want to settle with Thomas-Rasset, as it has (technically) done with more than 30,000 people the industry pressure group has only threatened to sue over the years, but she has told Arstechnica that she will not be paying.

What are the songs now deemed to be worth $80,000 each by the federal jury?

Aerosmith: "Cryin'"
Bryan Adams: "Somebody"
Def Leppard: "Pour Some Sugar on Me"
Destiny's Child: "Bills, Bills, Bills"
Gloria Estefan: "Here We Are", "Coming Out of the Heart" and "Rhythm is Gonna Get You"
Goo Goo Dolls: "Iris"
Green Day: "Basket Case"
Guns N' Roses: "Welcome to the Jungle" and "November Rain"
Janet Jackson: "Let's What Awhile"
Journey: "Don't Stop Believing" and "Faithfully"
Linkin Park: "One Step Closer"
No Doubt: "Bathwater", "Hella Good" and "Different People"
Reba McEntire: "One Honest Heart"
Richard Marx: "Now and Forever"
Sara McLachlan: "Possession" and "Building a Mystery"
Sheryl Crow: "Run Baby Run"
Vanessa Williams: "Save the Best for Last"

American copyright law allows up to $150,000 to be awarded per song to those whose rights are abused. Many, though, feel this figure is extortionate and beyond anything remotely realistic.

The RIAA has said that it is ending its legal threats and lawsuits against consumers. However, it is very unlikely that this will be the end for Jammie Thomas-Rasset, as there will no doubt be a third trial. Like hundreds of others, her case is still "live" and will likely be so for some time to come.

Mike Masnik at TechDirt concludes that Thomas-Rasset should have settled some time ago and that "the RIAA [has been] handed a gift. A verdict that it can gloat about and misrepresent to its own advantages. What might be interesting is whether (for all the RIAA gloating) this ruling has a similar impact as The Pirate Bay victory had in Sweden--galvanizing people to support the Pirate Party. Somehow, the story isn't quite as compelling though."

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