online prescription solutions
online discount medstore
pills online
buy lorazepam without prescription
xanax for sale
buy xanax without prescription
buy ambien without prescription
ambien for sale
buy modafinil without prescription
buy phentermine without prescription
modafinil for sale
phentermine for sale
lorazepam for sale
buy lexotan without prescription
bromazepam for sale
xenical for sale
buy stilnox without prescription
valium for sale
buy prosom without prescription
buy mefenorex without prescription
buy sildenafil citrate without prescription
buy adipex-p without prescription
librium for sale
buy restoril without prescription
buy halazepam without prescription
cephalexin for sale
buy zoloft without prescription
buy renova without prescription
renova for sale
terbinafine for sale
dalmane for sale
buy lormetazepam without prescription
nobrium for sale
buy klonopin without prescription
priligy dapoxetine for sale
buy prednisone without prescription
buy aleram without prescription
buy flomax without prescription
imovane for sale
adipex-p for sale
buy niravam without prescription
seroquel for sale
carisoprodol for sale
buy deltasone without prescription
buy diazepam without prescription
zopiclone for sale
buy imitrex without prescription
testosterone anadoil for sale
buy provigil without prescription
sonata for sale
nimetazepam for sale
buy temazepam without prescription
buy xenical without prescription
buy famvir without prescription
buy seroquel without prescription
rivotril for sale
acyclovir for sale
loprazolam for sale
buy nimetazepam without prescription
buy prozac without prescription
mogadon for sale
viagra for sale
buy valium without prescription
lamisil for sale
camazepam for sale
zithromax for sale
buy clobazam without prescription
buy diflucan without prescription
modalert for sale
diflucan for sale
buy alertec without prescription
buy zyban without prescription
buy serax without prescription
buy medazepam without prescription
buy imovane without prescription
mefenorex for sale
lormetazepam for sale
prednisone for sale
ativan for sale
buy alprazolam without prescription
buy camazepam without prescription
buy nobrium without prescription
mazindol for sale
buy mazindol without prescription
buy mogadon without prescription
buy terbinafine without prescription
diazepam for sale
buy topamax without prescription
cialis for sale
buy tafil-xanor without prescription
buy librium without prescription
buy zithromax without prescription
retin-a for sale
buy lunesta without prescription
serax for sale
restoril for sale
stilnox for sale
lamotrigine for sale

RIAA File-Sharing Suit Will Go To A Third Trial

The RIAA’s suit against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for sharing music files looks like it is headed for a third trial. In order to avoid this trial, Thomas-Rasset would have to accept the settlement offered by the RIAA. Her lawyers have stated that she will not accept it, reports Wired, making another trial likely.  The lawsuit has attracted critical attention because of the massive damages awarded in two earlier trials, and because it is part of a larger RIAA lawsuit campaign against music file-sharing. Thomas-Rasset was the first U.S. defendant in this campaign to take her case to trial.


The first trial took place in 2007. A jury found that Thomas-Rasset (then simply Thomas) had “willfully” infringed and held her liable for $222,000 in damages. That figure came from a penalty of $9,250 per song, out of the $150,000 per song maximum permitted by the Copyright Act .

Thomas was granted a retrial because of a jury instruction that making a copyrighted file “available” was sufficient to show infringement. Federal Judge Michael Davis, who presided over the first trial, came to believe after appeal that his jury instructions were incompatible with Eighth Circuit precedent. Citing National Car Rental System, Inc. v. Computer Associates International, Inc. (8th Cir. 1993), Judge Davis decided that the plaintiff had to show that defendant actually shared a file with a third party, rather than simply making the file available for sharing.

In the second trial in 2009, Judge Davis set aside a jury award of $1.92 million, calling it “monstrous” and pointing out that Thomas-Rasset did not make a monetary profit from her infringement. Davis reduced the damages to $54,000, allowing the parties to accept the award or proceed to a third trial.

The RIAA not only accepted the damages, but reduced them further in a settlement offer of $25,000. The RIAA’s terms allowed Thomas-Rasset to pay the award in installments to a fund for musicians. As a condition for the settlement, the RIAA said the judge would have to vacate his remittur (reduction) of the jury award.

Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers have announced her intention to reject this and any other settlement offer that requires her to pay damages. The RIAA’s deadline for accepting the offer was last Friday, January 29th.


The major issue raised in this case is the constitutionality of the awards against Thomas-Rasset—and, by implication, future file-sharers like her. She intends to challenge the constitutionality of not only the $1.92 million jury award in the second trial, but also the judge’s reduced award. Even the reduced award, her lawyers contend, is unconstitutionally excessive: it is 2,250 times the usual $1 price of a downloaded song.

The RIAA is adamantly opposed to any finding that the judge’s awarded damages are unconstitutional. Moreover, the RIAA is trying to vacate the judge’s remittur because it is keen to prevent any precedent allowing judges to reduce jury awards in copyright infringement cases. That is why the vacature (making the original judgment legally void) of the remittur was the sole—and firm—condition of its settlement offer. For its absolute insistence on this point, the RIAA has been accused of bullying. Joe Sibley, one of Thomas-Rasset’s attorneys, recently described the situation as the RIAA trying to “scare” people into paying “exorbitant” damages. Nevertheless, the RIAA continues its attempt to vacate the remittur and thus keep the legal door open for million-dollar damages awards in file-sharing cases.

This trial raises another issue, namely what exactly it takes to prove infringement against a particular individual. Proving that songs were shared from a particular computer or IP address is often simple. However, proving that a particular user of that computer was the infringer is a different matter. Here, the files were shared from Thomas-Rasset’s password-protected computer at her IP address, using a username she had used for a number of years. The two juries evidently found this compelling evidence of Thomas-Rasset’s guilt, although Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers argued that anyone could have used the computer and username in question. Judge Davis was not convinced by and did not approve of Thomas-Rasset’s attempts to suggest that her children or ex-boyfriend infringed using her computer. The defense lawyers argued that alternative explanations were possible, and that MAC and IP addresses (identifiers for a particular computer that are transmitted during file-sharing) can be spoofed, though they offered no evidence that this had happened here.

Possible Future Developments

Wired recently described the RIAA as “winding down” its lawsuit campaign against file-sharers and shifting its efforts to getting internet access to infringers cut off. But there are still loose ends. Thomas-Rasset insists on going to a third trial rather than accepting a settlement. Therefore, it is still unclear whether there will be the precedent of a judge setting aside a jury award in a copyright infringement case will stand. That will depend on the outcome of the third trial.  Additionally, Thomas-Rasset’s challenge to the constitutionality of the judge’s award is still unresolved.

Furthermore, a second infringement case with a U.S. defendant also went to trial in July 2009: the recording industry’s suit against Joel Tenenbaum. The jury held Tenenbaum liable for $22,500 per song; since he was found to have infringed 30 songs, this amounted to $675,000 in damages. The judge finalized the jury award in December 2009. Like Thomas-Rasset, Tenenbaum is challenging the award’s constitutionality. Anyone who has ever shared a song using BitTorrent, Kazaa, or LimeWire should probably pay attention to what happens next.

About the Author

Anjali Bhat

Anjali is a 2L at Columbia Law School.
blog comments powered by Disqus