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RIAA challenges Jammie Thomas' excessive damages complaint

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 13 Nov 2007 9:50 User comments (22)

RIAA challenges Jammie Thomas' excessive damages complaint The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said that Jammie Thomas has no basis to complain about the damages decided by a Jury when she was found guilty of illegally distributing 24 pirated tracks. Thomas was told to pay $222,000 to the record companies when the Jury decided on damages of $9,250 per song. The jury could have decided anywhere between $750 per song and $150,000 per song under the provisions of the copyright act.
Thomas filed a motion arguing that the damages were unconstitutionally excessive, and cited the UMG vs. Lindor case (which the RIAA claims is unrelated) in which testimony revealed that record labels make just 70c per song. Thomas wants the damages to be adjusted to what the labels can actually prove, otherwise they are "purely punitive" and statutory damages should be capped at 10 times the actual damages at most.

Defending the damages, the RIAA argues that statutory damages need not be tied to actual damages. "Defendant's argument that statutory damages must bear some reasonable relationship to actual damages has been considered, and rejected, by numerous courts," reads the reply. "Awards of statutory damages under the Copyright Act that fall within the limits set by Congress are for the jury to determine, whatever the amounts of actual damages (if any)."

The trade group says that Thomas is wrong to focus only on damages incurred from illegal downloading, and that the plaintiffs were harmed from the further unauthorized distribution of the downloaded tracks. However, the RIAA presented no evidence that any distribution actually took place, it didn't have to, Judge Michael Davis modified instructions to say that simply making files available violated the labels' exclusive right of distribution, regardless of whether the songs were distributed or not.

"Defendant should not now be allowed to shirk her responsibility for her own calculated decisions first to engage in substantial online infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights and then to try to conceal her infringement," argues the RIAA. "Where, as here, the amount awarded by the jury was less than 10% of what the jury could have awarded, there is no basis for a remittur or a new trial."

It is unknown when Judge Davis will rule on Thomas' motion.

Source:
Ars Technica

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22 user comments

113.11.2007 11:13

Right tell that to the corporation that tries to wiggle their way out of paying high fees, it can be done.... I hope a judge looks at this and see it as ridiculous but I doubt it.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Nov 2007 @ 11:14

213.11.2007 11:36

How can you go from 70cents to totaling up the final cost to 220,000+ for 24 songs. They are sick and the idiots that were on that jury are dumber. If somebody really believes that paying that much is fair they need their such and such beat.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Nov 2007 @ 11:50

313.11.2007 11:39

Originally posted by spydah:
How can you go from 70cents to 220,000+ for 24 songs. They are sick and the idiots that were on that jury are dumber. If somebody really believes that paying that much is fair they need their such and such beat.
They want to make their case that download is a crime however at 20K a song and not 10$ they set them selfs up to be ignored and dismissed by consumers.

413.11.2007 11:44

How did money or a award get into the jury system coment anyway 10% out of $222,000.oo is a enough to buy a nice used car. thats pure bribry if ive seen it

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Nov 2007 @ 11:46

513.11.2007 11:54

These bull crap cases that keep finding their way out to the public seem so staged and fake like honestly who in their right mind would agree that those kinds of cost are worthy to a consumer. Its just simply ridiculous.

613.11.2007 11:59

Originally posted by DXR88:
How did money or a award get into the jury system coment anyway 10% out of $222,000.oo is a enough to buy a nice used car. thats pure bribry if ive seen it
dude...222K is enough to buy acouple nice used houses...

713.11.2007 12:50

Quote:
dude...222K is enough to buy acouple nice used houses...

I'd hate to live in your neighborhood. LOL!

813.11.2007 12:54

Quote:
Quote:
dude...222K is enough to buy acouple nice used houses...

I'd hate to live in your neighborhood. LOL!
200K or 200 thousand USD?

Normal homes in normal neighborhoods go for 60-150K so its not hat bad, still 220 would get ya a nice new home :P

913.11.2007 13:30

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
dude...222K is enough to buy acouple nice used houses...

I'd hate to live in your neighborhood. LOL!
200K or 200 thousand USD?

Normal homes in normal neighborhoods go for 60-150K so its not hat bad, still 220 would get ya a nice new home :P
Depends on where you live. 220K here in socal will get you a nice shack.

1013.11.2007 14:45

cal is different... northern cal you can buy a crappy house for that..

better than a nice shack though.


but go to kansas and im sure you can buy some nice houses.

1113.11.2007 15:01
goodswipe
Inactive

Everyone, don't forget to buy your "Fee Jamie Thomas" thongs...

1213.11.2007 15:23

Originally posted by goodswipe:
Everyone, don't forget to buy your "Fee Jamie Thomas" thongs...
Only if i can wear it on my head lmao. Joking!

1313.11.2007 15:26
goodswipe
Inactive

Would that be after she's already worn them spydah? lmao

1413.11.2007 15:40

"and statutory damages should be capped at 10 times the actual damages at most."



I can think of some other things she would like "capped"..namely the RIAA suits

1513.11.2007 15:55

Originally posted by windsong:
"and statutory damages should be capped at 10 times the actual damages at most."



I can think of some other things she would like "capped"..namely the RIAA suits
I dunno if a corporation willing and knowingly sold a product that caused a persons death or permentate injury they there is no amount of moeny that can fix the issue,on things like that there should be no limit, getting your lap burned because you do not understand hot coffee is hot...should be tossed out...

1613.11.2007 16:08

I doubt Thomas is going to win this one. The jury's award was within the amount allowed by law. She would probably have better luck by just saying that she can't affort to pay it, or by asking for sympathy. If she can't afford it (which I think she can't) the court might order her to make a monthly payment for the rest of her life, and the debt will probably never be paid off!

Quote:
How can you go from 70cents to totaling up the final cost to 220,000+ for 24 songs.
These are called "punitive damages." The purpose is to punish. "Actual damages" is the amount to "make whole" the injured party. In this case, nobody knows the actual damages... 70 cents x 24 has nothing to do with the actual damages.

If you rob a bank and you get $100, you can't get-off by giving back the $100. The punishment is going to far-exceed the actual damages.(That's a criminal matter, but the idea of punishment is similar.)

1713.11.2007 17:15
morguex
Inactive

This whole thing is really sad, I hope your proud of yourselves RIAA, You have probaly destroyed this woman's life.
And for what a few songs that you can't even prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that she actually uploaded. I think we all know someone got paid for this decision, ie. judges, jury.

But rember RIAA, sooner or later what goes around comes around.

Peace all

1813.11.2007 18:42

I was wondering if the courts do lower her fine, she might make a profit seeing that her donations are:

Total Amount Donated = $16,197.84

So let's say she has to pay 9,000. she makes out pretty nice!

1913.11.2007 22:29

Quote:
I doubt Thomas is going to win this one. The jury's award was within the amount allowed by law. She would probably have better luck by just saying that she can't affort to pay it, or by asking for sympathy. If she can't afford it (which I think she can't) the court might order her to make a monthly payment for the rest of her life, and the debt will probably never be paid off!

Quote:
How can you go from 70cents to totaling up the final cost to 220,000+ for 24 songs.
These are called "punitive damages." The purpose is to punish. "Actual damages" is the amount to "make whole" the injured party. In this case, nobody knows the actual damages... 70 cents x 24 has nothing to do with the actual damages.

If you rob a bank and you get $100, you can't get-off by giving back the $100. The punishment is going to far-exceed the actual damages.(That's a criminal matter, but the idea of punishment is similar.)

I do understand what punitive damages are what my point is going from 70 cents to totaling 224,000 is crazy. If they said something like 2400 i think thats reasonable for 24 songs. Its still highway robbery no matter what.

2014.11.2007 9:35
theoneXxX
Inactive

Quote:
Judge Michael Davis modified instructions to say that simply making files available violated the labels' exclusive right of distribution, regardless of whether the songs were distributed or not.
Does this mean you cannot stream/listen to your own music over your own WiFi net? Like in my house I have two computers, one has the big hdd, and I stream the music via the WiFi to the other computer with the better speakers. So according to this Judge M.Davis, I should be coughing up with 750 - 150,000 per song... hehe... I better start looking for a nother job, or investing in a cable!!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Nov 2007 @ 9:36

2114.11.2007 9:41
varnull
Inactive

Heres a thought.. I wonder if the members of the jury would like the "copyright police" to go and look at their computers for any "pirated material"...

Anybody get the feeling they would get a 12 out of 12 hit rate?

In closing.. this kind of action is done on behalf of big business yet again.. It has nothing to do with the artists.

So these "punitive damages".. where will they go? surely the artists involved have a right to the same percentage of the income from this action as the riaa etc who will be collecting the money. In effect they have "sold" these songs to this woman for an extortionate rate.. damn I wish one of mine had been included cos I'd make sure to claim my percentage out of them. It's alright for buisness to steal from us, but not ok for us to have fair use rights, or to see any reward from our work in the past...

I saw a song I sang on included on a new junk compilation cd yesterday.. Where are my performers royalties??? The PRS doesn't have any for me....

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Nov 2007 @ 9:53

222.12.2007 19:16

we all know that the price is extensivley large out come for 24 crappy songs however the riaa is fighting this because they want to make money off this as well and if the judge lowers the price then it will be like the riaa has been doing pro-bono work. not worth anything to the riaa.

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