That was Jammie Thomas-Rasset when she learned she’s been ordered to find the staggering sum of $1.5 million for 24 songs
Her wry comment referenced the fact the time before last — that’s to say the trial before last — she was ordered to pay $1.92 million for sharing music online.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), owned by multi-billion-dollar corporate record labels Vivendi Universal (France), Sony (Japan), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US, but controlled by a Canadian), years ago sued Jammie for allegedly infringing copyrights.
Says The Register >>>
Despite the presence of celebrity legal academic and poker lobbyist Charlie Nesson, the re-re-run was unsuccessful. This was the third trial for the same offences; the fine has been increased, and her lawyers plan to … appeal again.
Thomas (her name at the time of the first trial) became the first defendant to take RIAA members’ file-sharing accusations to court. Unlike thousands of others, she rejected an out-of-court settlement, preferring to argue her innocence in front of a Minnesota jury in 2007. The jury found her list of excuses implausible, and the Duluth judge imposed a fine of £220,000. Thomas was sharing 24 songs on Kazaa, and the statutory fine can be imposed anywhere between $750 and $30,000 per infringement, with a $150,000 ceiling for wilful violation, aimed at wilful infringers. The court placed the fine somewhere in the middle, at $9,250 per song.
The post makes it appear as though ‘settlements’ are reasonable solutions offered by reasonable people.
In fact, they’re extortionate ‘Pay us or we’ll get you’ demands levelled by unscrupulous lawyers at very ordinary people — including young children — who have neither the money nor the legal resources to defend themselves.
Paying the lawyers are the Big 4, fronted by their RIAA.
The labels claim files shared equal sales lost. Think about that for more than two seconds and it’s obvious the assertion doesn’t even begin to hold water.
Jammie lives in Minnesota and her comment comes in a Duluth News Tribune story which has RIAA spinster Cara Duckworth stating:
“We are again thankful to the jury for its service in this matter and that they recognized the severity of the defendant’s misconduct. Now with three jury decisions behind us along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset’s willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions.”
But it isn’t over yet.
“Thomas-Rasset said she will appeal with the help of her Houston, Texas, team of attorneys, Kiwi Camara and Joe Sibley”, says the story, quoting her as stating, “The very first thing Kiwi said as we were leaving the courtroom is that we’re going to appeal on constitutional grounds.”
A hard-working mother
While the lawyers and hangers-on working for the RIAA happily clock up thousands of billable hours, Jamie Thomas-Rasset tries to get on with her life, I wrote in June last year, continuing >>>
The labels and their RIAA have spent a fortune trying to paint a picture of her as someone who stole, and who then illegally distributed, copyrighted music files.
However, with file sharing, no money changes hands and no one is deprived permanently, or otherwise, of something he or she used to own.
The RIAA lawyers say she’s a thief. But she’s nothing of the kind. Rather, she’s a hard-working mother who during the day is the Brownfield coordinator of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians in Minnesota. She’s responsible for administering a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency for her tribe to redevelop contaminated properties.
She’s also in charge of housing and land acquisitions for the Band’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment
“I try to focus on the day to day of life instead of the potential outcomes,” she says. “I know, win lose or draw, it won’t be over for a long time. So I just hunker down for the long haul and hold on for the ride.”
Going clockwise, other than baby Tarent, the kids in the picture are Christian, her four-year-old stepson, Tyler, who’ll be 15 next month, and Triston, who’ll be 13 in August.
Jammie and her husband, Chad (”Chad Thomas-Rasset, we both hyphenated”) were married in February. He’s at home, taking care of the boys so Jammie can get on with her job without having to worry about the younger two in daycare.
“What’s it like, having this hanging over your head,” I asked Jammie.
“Actually, the case from day to day is sort of like the feeling you have something really important to do, yet you’re not quite there yet to do it,” she said, going on »»»
“The stress of the case is always there, but it’s manageable most days.
We still get up every morning, the boys go to school, or they did until summer break started this week, I still go to work, Chaddie, my husband still takes care of the babies. We have a routine and fortunately, the case doesn’t really disrupt that, at least for the most part.
But lately, stress level has hit its maximum load and although I hate admitting it, a constant panicky feeling has taken hold.
I understand the consequences of my case, not just for me, but for everyone else being sued by the RIAA, and sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming.
Now, with the trial starting next week, I find it hard to concentrate on much else.
I constantly worry “maybe if we do this” or “maybe we should do that”, then I have to slow down, take a breath and ask myself,e “what’s the worst that could happen?”
But the worst, in my opinion, has already happened.
Now, “It’s a shocking, monstrous verdict once again”, she told the Duluth News Tribune.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
The Register – World’s dumbest file-sharer guilty for third time, November 4, 2010
Duluth News Tribune – File-sharing damages raised to $1.5 million, November 4, 2010
thousands of billable - Jammie Thomas-Rasset: file sharing thief, June 10, 2009
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
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