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."