The damages award in a music-sharing copyright infringement case is up on appeal with regard to the damage award. In the RIAA v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset file-sharing lawsuit, the RIAA initially won an award of $220,000 for defendant’s file-sharing of music on P2P networks. An appeals court overruled the verdict, stating that merely making copyrighted songs available on P2P for download, without proof that the songs were actually downloaded, is not copyright infringement.
In subsequent proceedings, the RIAA proved that there was downloading and received a jury award of $1.5 million, which defendant appealed as unconstitutional. The appeals court on that issue reduced the award to $54,000. Now the RIAA has appealed, stating that the original $220k award should not have been vacated.
Thomas-Rasset’s attorneys find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to repudiate their huge legal win (that P2P sharing without proof of downloading is not infringement).
From the MediaPost:
Ironically, Thomas-Rasset now also has no objection to a ruling stating that merely making tracks available infringes copyright, given that such a ruling will reinstate the $220,000 verdict — which is better for Thomas-Rasset than the $1.5 million order.
“I think the court should grant the other side the relief they sought in their brief,” Thomas-Rasset’s lawyer told a panel of the 8th Circuit this week. He added that such a result would be “better for our individual client” — even if it’s also more helpful to the RIAA in the future.
At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for your client. But ouch!
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