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Woman to pay $9,250 per song in file-sharing case

8th Circuit approves damages, declines to say file-sharing violates Copyright Act

One song costs 99 cents on iTunes, and $9,250 in the courts.

Jammie Thomas-Rassett, known as the “Download Martyr” for reasons that will soon become abundantly clear, downloaded 24 songs on the late music sharing service Kazaa, including such gems as Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Actually, she had a folder of about 1,700 songs, but for the purposes of the lawsuit they brought against her, record labels including Capitol Records Inc. and Warner Bros. Records just considered 24 songs.

The case against Thomas-Rassett was the first major file-sharing case to go to trial, and the 8th Circuit ruled on Tuesday that she must pay a total of $220,000 in damages, or $9,250 per song. After she was found guilty of copyright infringement in 2009, damages in the case swung wildly between extremes: $1.5 million at the highest, $54,000 at the lowest. Thomas-Rassett argued that the damages were excessive, obviously unsuccessfully, as the final amount ended up in the middle of the discussed range.

The record labels in this case are walking away with some cash, but they didn’t get everything on their wish list. The labels had asked the 8th Circuit to rule that sharing recordings on peer-to-peer networks violates the Copyright Act, but the court declined to make any statement on that matter.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.


For more InsideCounsel stories about file-sharing, see below:

Defendants get aggressive in Texas illegal downloading suit

Major Hollywood movie studios lose Australian piracy suit

Public advocacy group proposes 5 alternatives to SOPA

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