RIAA 1, Kazaa Users 0. In the first trial involving the record-industry union versus an illegal downloader, a jury found Minnesota single mother Jammie Thomas guilty of infringing on music rights. While Thomas was illegally sharing 1,702 songs in her folder, she was only sued for twenty-four recordings. The price she’ll have to pay: $222,000, or $9,250 per song, or 9,250 songs bought legally on iTunes. Some of the artists that Thomas was illegally harboring included Janet Jackson, Sarah McLachlan, Godsmack, Richard Marx and many other artists not worth $9,250 a song (honestly, who is? — but to be fair, those acts were pretty hot in the Nineties).
So what’s to be learned from this trial? First, thanks to the win, the RIAA will start gunning for even more P2P users, and two, the record industry thinks ripping tracks from a CD to your computer is theft. “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song,” testified Jennifer Pariser, an exec at Sony BMG. As usual, it sounds like the ailing record industry really has its finger on the pulse of America.