Blown To Bits

“Monstrous and Shocking” Music Downloading Fine

Monday, January 25th, 2010 by Harry Lewis

That is the way appeals court judge Michael Davis described the $1.92 million fine levied on Jammie Thomas (now Jammie Thomas-Rasset) for illegally downloading 24 songs using Kazaa. This is the case we discuss in Chapter 5—Thomas was one of the only people who tried to fight the charges in court. That’s $80,000 per song.

The judge reduced the fine to $54,000, and apparently is unhappy that he couldn’t reduce it further, saying, “This reduced award is significant and harsh [but is] no longer monstrous and shocking.” This may still ruin Thomas, but suggests that the judiciary itself may scold Congress about the absurdity of the present statutory damages structure for copyright infringement.

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