But Wait. Is the Jammie Thomas Case Really Over?

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Battered RIAA defendant Jammie Thomas got a huge break last week.

Instead of facing a $1.92 million fine for making a handful of songs available online, a District Court judge slashed the penalty to just $54,000.

Huge break for Thomas, and a huge blow to the RIAA.  But will major labels challenge this ruling, especially following a well-publicized departure from individual file-swapping lawsuits in late 2008?

The question is whether District Court judge Michael Davis has the technical authority to correct the “monstrous or shocking” penalty.  “The bottom line is that, as far as I am aware, Judge Davis’ decision is without precedent; it stands alone as the first and only decision ever to reduce an award of copyright statutory damages, on any ground, common-law or constitutional,” attorney Ben Sheffner recently wrote on his pro-copyright blog, Copyrights & Campaigns.

Sheffner is currently a production attorney in the NBC Universal Television Group.