Thursday, November 04, 2010

Jury awards $1.5 million in Jammie Thomas case

In the damages retrial in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset, which concluded yesterday, after the Judge refused to instruct the jurors that the amount of the award was required to bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages sustained by plaintiffs, the jury returned a verdict of $62,500 per song, for a total of $1.5 million.

The Judge has previously ruled that the maximum allowable amount in the case is $54,000.

Court minutes

[Ed. note. No surprises here, given the contents of the jury instructions and verdict form. The only surprises are that (a) the judge felt it necessary to have a predictably futile third trial, (b) the judge refused to instruct the jury that the statutory damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages, which is a fundamental tenet of the law regarding copyright infringement, and (c) the judge has so far declined to reach the constitutional issue which is staring him in the face. It also seems odd to me that the judge had not instructed the jury that plaintiffs had proved a copying -- i.e. a download -- but not a "distribution" as defined in the Copyright Act. -R.B.]

Commentary & discussion:

ars technica
Los Angeles Times
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player Bookmark and Share


Anonymous said...

Actually, this verdict was a great way to prove how bad the law is in this area. So in a strange way, I think that this helps advance the argument that fundamental changes are required.

4L student

Matt Fitzpatrick said...

Okay, so we basically got "pick a number" instead of jury instructions. Well, we'll figure something out.

Let's see. Seven of us like the defendant, five of us hate her guts, so...

Scribble scribble scribble, long division, multiply, carry the one, 5/12ths of the max is $62,500 per song, collect our checks, go home, no more jury duty for a year!

Anonymous said...

Well no worries here anyway.When this case comes to the supreme court the amount of damages will be at the most 240$ for ALL 24 songs anyway...