P2P Filesharing Retrial Highlights Out of Tune Damage Awards

BY CCIA Staff
June 15, 2009

The retrial for Jammie Thomas-Rassat begins today in Minnesota. In October 2007, she was found guilty of illegally downloading and sharing music. Thomas-Rassat was ordered to pay $222,000 to six record companies for making 24 songs available for file sharing. Last September, the judge ordered a new trial because he said his jury instructions were unclear about whether making the music available for download was infringement.

The following statement in response can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:

“The courts and jury have a second chance to get it right in this file sharing case. It is a positive step that the court has rejected its earlier rulings that misinterpreted the Copyright Act. But the bigger issue that also warrants a second look is the ridiculously high damage awards that are completely out of tune with the damage here.

“We support artists getting a fair profit for their creativity, but the up to $150,000 in damages per infringement allowed by law and this zero tolerance enforcement isn’t worth the disharmony it strikes with fans and with those who could help share and market their music to draw more concert-goers. We worry about the silencing effect damage awards like this could have on people sharing information on the Internet.”

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