RIAA, Minnesota Mom Going to Trial for Third Time Over Illegal Downloads

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The RIAA and Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota mom accused of illegally downloading 24 songs via Kazaa, will go to trial for a third time. Thomas-Rasset has rejected the RIAA's offer to settle the case by donating $25,000 to a "an appropriate charity benefiting musicians," Copyrights & Campaigns reports. As Rolling Stone reported last week, a Minnesota judge slashed the $1.92 million ruling from the second trial down to $54,000, and the RIAA further cut the fine to $25,000 in the hope of finally ending the case. However, Thomas-Rasset's lawyer said in rejecting the offer, "Jammie will not accept any offer that requires her to pay money to or on behalf of the Plaintiffs."

In 2007, the jury in the initial trial decided Thomas-Rasset should pay a $212,000 fine for downloading songs by Green Day, Janet Jackson, Godsmack and Richard Marx. An error in jury instruction brought the case to trial a second time, which resulted in the steep $1.92 million fine, or $80,000 per downloaded song. The Justice Department defended the massive fine, but last week a Minnesota judge ruled that $1.92 million was "simply shocking" before lowering it to $54,000.

"Jammie is standing on principle here, and will not accede to payment demands that the RIAA is making through an unconstitutional statutory scheme (that they lobbied for the creation of) and we will ride this train to its appellate end no matter how many future remittiturs are rejected," Thomas-Rasset's lawyer Joe Sibley wrote in an e-mail to C&C. An RIAA spokesperson responded, "It is a shame that Ms. Thomas-Rasset continues to deny any responsibility for her actions rather than accept a reasonable settlement offer and put this case behind her. Given this, we will begin preparing for a new trial."

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