The lawsuit against Jammie Thomas has been dragging on by the RIAA for a long time! In July 2011, we wrote about how she was ordered to pay $54,000 for a copyright infringement case because she shared music files on KaZaa. A federal court reinstated a $220,000 damages award against Thomas for illegally downloading and sharing 24 songs according to Reuters.
The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul Minnesota rejected Thomas-Rasset’s argument that the fine $9,250 per song was excessive and violated her due process rights under the Constitution. Thomas said that her ex-boyfriend or two young sons were likely responsible for downloading the songs. Thomas was one out of the 18,000 people that the RIAA sued between 2003 and 2008.
Initially the RIAA accused Thomas-Rasset of downloading over 1,700 tracks, but they decided to sue her on behalf of six record labels in 2006 over two dozen songs. She lost the first trial in district court in 2007 and then was ordered to pay $220,000. The verdict was thrown out back then for faulty jury instruction.
The jury in the second trial awarded the record labels $1.92 million — that amount was reduced to $54,000 because she obviously could not afford that. After the labels appealed, a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit unanimously reinstated the original $220,000 fine from the first trial. Thomas’ lawyer said that the judgment was “punitive” and would likely appeal the case to the Supreme Court.