In the second file-sharing copyright-infringement trial against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a Minnesota jury ruled that the 32-year-old mother of four owes $1.92 million to the four major labels after downloading and sharing 24 songs, Billboard.biz reports. The staggering ruling comes out to a cost of $80,000 per track illegally shared, a massive amount that the RIAA hopes will finally convince people to stop downloading music illegally.
"We are pleased that the jury agreed with the evidence and found the defendant liable," RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth said in a statement. Thomas-Rasset was previously found guilty in 2007 for similar charges and was hit with $222,000 in damages, a figure that seemed astronomical at the time. In what turned out to be an unfortunate turn of events for Thomas-Rasset, the verdict in the 2007 trial was thrown out because of an error in jury instructions, paving the way for a retrial and yesterday's ruling.
As Rock Daily reported in 2007, Thomas used peer-to-peer network Kazaa to download the files in question. Despite housing roughly 1,702 songs in her folder, Thomas' trial only focused on 24 of them, including tracks by Green Day, Janet Jackson, Godsmack and Richard Marx. Following yesterday's ruling, Thomas will essentially have to pay $80,000 for illegally downloading a Richard Marx song. That is, if the RIAA chooses to collect the $1.92 million Thomas doesn't have.
"Since day one, we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so," RIAA's Duckworth said, while Thomas' lawyer Kiwi Camara indicated she hopes to find a settlement. For the RIAA, the ruling sends a firm message to illegal downloaders, which may be enough of a reward.