Jury Awards RIAA $1.92 Million In Damages

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So much for a stunning defense.

A federal jury has quickly ruled against longtime RIAA defendant Jammie Thomas-Rasset, to the tune of $1.92 million, according to court paperwork and attorneys involved.  In total, Thomas was accused of willingly violating copyright on 24 songs, at $80,000 per song.

The heavy penalty was delivered during a retrial, based on a declaration of mistrial by the initial presiding judge.  The first decision was tossed because of questions surrounding ‘making available’ evidence-gathering by the RIAA, specifically by agent MediaSentry.  But the newer venue was completely unfriendly for Thomas.

So, is this over?  Attorney Ray Beckerman, a longtime RIAA opponent, called for another challenge.  “Well I guess there is going to be a third trial,” Beckerman said, while pointing to a penalty that is “228,571 times”  the actual damages. “The ridiculous size of the verdict supplies ammunition to those like myself challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA’s statutory damages theory,” Beckerman told Digital Music News.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) attorney Fred von Lohmann had similar feelings, based on the huge award.  “Given the size of the statutory damages award, Ms. Thomas-Rasset’s legal team will likely be seriously considering a constitutional challenge to the verdict,” Lohmann blogged, part of a larger dive into constitutional problems with the verdict.