WOW. Well, remember those moments when you’re REALLY wanting to put a song you just heard on your iPod and you just don’t want to pay for it? So you go to a site that offers them for free and download it. Then you do another, and another, and another. A Minnesota mom found out recently, after a 3 year court battle, that doing just this could leave you with a fine for $1.5 MILLION dollars. Yeah, we said million. Jammie Thomas-Rasset downloaded 24 songs from a music sharing website years ago and has been locked in a legal battle with the record industry over just how much she should be fined.
This latest judgement is the third trial in the storied battle between citizen and industry giants; the first trial ended up in a $222,000 judgement in favor of Capitol Records for downloading songs from Green Day, Aerosmith and Richard Marx to name a few. (Richard Marx, seriously?). Thomas-Rasset claims she wasn’t the user who did the downloads, and an error in jury instructions resulted in an appeal BUT that appeal ended up with a judgement against the mom to the tune of $1.92 MILLION. Earlier this year a US District Court later declared that amount “monstrous and shocking”, lowering the fine to $54,000. Now, this latest judgement figures out to about $62,500 per song. The Courts lowered amount still figures to be about $2,250 a song. The cost for these songs from iTunes? $24 total.
RIAA, (Record Industry Association of America) states they are pleased with this latest judgement, stating that while they have no intention of collecting the fine but applauding the message it sends to the people. Apparently they offered to settle with Thomas-Rasset for $25,000 as well as an admission of guilt, she declined.
Alright, here’s the thing. Should songs be downloaded illegally? No. Should record labels be able to profit from the music they sell? Yes. Should they go after the people that download illegally? Probably BUT here’s this author’s question…..why not go after the sites themselves? If they can get a $1.5 million judgement against a person for downloading 24 songs….well by golly, I wonder what they’d get against the sites that offer them. It seems a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul in this situation. Vicious cycle. Join us in our forum here to discuss and share your opinion!