Woman Fined $1.9 Million for Downloading 24 Songs
Back in 2007, the Minnesota mother made national headlines as the first person sued by the RIAA for copyright infringement to actually take the case to trial (instead of settling out of court), after she was charged with downloading copyrighted songs through the P2P network, Kazaa. At the trial's conclusion, Thomas-Rasset was found guilty of illegally downloading 24 songs and was fined $10,000 for each one, amounting to a total of $240,000 in damages. But the case was deemed a mistrial by the judge and Thomas-Rasset waited two years for a retrial. Yesterday, the single mother of four was found guilty again, but this time ordered to pay a mind-boggling $80,000 per song -- $1.9 million in all.
Throughout the trials, Thomas-Rassett has always pledged her innocence, but juries have been incredulous. In fact, as part of her testimony in this trial, Thomas-Rassett suggested -- for the first time -- that her children or ex-husband might have been the downloading culprits. If the jurors didn't buy into the defendant's attempt at implicating her children, we couldn't imagine it helped to bolster her image in their eyes.
While, initially, a retrial seemed like a good thing, it obviously hasn't worked out. The total damages Thomas-Rassett must pay have now jumped from a total of $220,000 to a whopping $1.9 million (again, for downloading just 24 songs). In response to the astronomical judgement, she told the Times, "There's no way they're ever going to get that. I'm a mom, limited means, so I'm not going to worry about it now." Cara Duckworth, spokeswoman for the RIAA, did tell the Times that her organization was still willing to settle with Thomas-Rassett. "Since day one we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so," she said. What comes next remains to be seen, but we're guessing a payment plan is in order. [From: CNN and the Times]