MINNEAPOLIS - A replay of the nation's only file-sharing case to go to trial has ended with the same result, finding a Minnesota woman to have violated music copyrights and ordering her to pay hefty damages to the recording industry.
A federal jury yesterday awarded $1.92 million to recording companies, ruling that Jammie Thomas-Rasset willfully violated the copyrights on 24 songs.
Thomas-Rasset's second trial actually turned out much worse for her. When another federal jury heard her case in 2007, it hit Thomas-Rasset with a $222,000 judgment.
The new trial was ordered after the judge in the case decided he had erred in giving jury instructions.
Thomas-Rasset sat glumly with her chin in hand as she heard the jury's finding of willful infringement, which increased the potential penalty. She raised her eyebrows in surprise when the jury's penalty of $80,000 per song was read.
Outside the courtroom, she was resigned.
"There's no way they're ever going to get that," said the 32-year-old mother of four from the central Minnesota city of Brainerd. "I'm a mom, limited means, so I'm not going to worry about it now."
One of her attorneys, Kiwi Camara, said he and his client hadn't decided whether to appeal or to pursue the Recording Industry Association of America's settlement overtures.
Cara Duckworth, a spokeswoman for the RIAA, said the industry remains willing to settle, but she refused to name a figure.
Defense attorney Joe Sibley said the music companies had failed to prove allegations that Thomas-Rasset had given away songs by Gloria Estefan, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Journey and others.
"Only Jammie Thomas' computer was linked to illegal file-sharing on Kazaa [a music-download service]," Sibley said. "They couldn't put a face behind the computer."