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Jammie Thomas-Rasset asks for a third trial

Or a reduction in $1.92 million judgement
Tue Jul 07 2009, 10:06

AS WE EXPECTED, Jammie Thomas-Rasset has asked the court to overturn or reduce the $1.92 million judgment against her for sharing music files online, or to give her a third trial.

The motion, filed yesterday in Minnesota federal court, says that the verdict in this case was shocking, in that for 24 songs, available for $1.29 on Itunes, the jury assessed statutory damages of $80,000 per song.

"Such a judgment is grossly excessive and, therefore, subject to remittitur as a matter of federal common law," Jammie Thomas-Rasset's brief said.

Thomas-Rasset's lawyers argue that the $1.92 million damage award is, on its face, an unconstitutional breach of the Due Process clause. Case law says that anything over a ratio of 1:10 is considered suspect.

It's hard to imagine Judge Michael Davis will want to hear another trial, which Thomas-Rasset has requested. Although he did feel that a $222,000 award was too high.

A third option is to reduce the award to the statutory minimum of $18,000 which would make the case appear more reasonable while at the same time allowing the RIAA to call it a victory.

After all, money is not really the point here and $18,000 to a single mother is still a lot of dosh.

However there is another plan of attack on the case. Judge Davis allowed evidence to be presented by an outfit called Media Sentry. Thomas-Rasset's team argues that Media Sentry broke private investigator rules and all of its evidence should be thrown out. If Media Sentry evidence is not allowed then it would be hard to see what sort of case the RIAA would have against Thomas-Rasset.

Meanwhile the record labels are asking the judge to write a permanent injunction against future copyright infringement, which we think is probably over-egging the pudding. But then it is important from a PR point of view that Thomas-Rasset is seen as a commercial operation, rather than a single mother who stuck files on Kazaa. Even if evidence in court showed that she never made a dime on P2P piracy. µ



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