Verdict of $222,000 awarded in Capitol Records v. Thomas

As arstechnica.com reported this afternoon, a Minnesota jury awarded the music industry $222,000 against Jammie Thomas.  I’m not at all surprised that Ms. Thomas lost.  The plaintiff had good evidence, and she litigated the case primarily on a “I didn’t do it” basis.  However, the size of the verdict is a mild surprise.  Although the jury could have awarded an amount over $3 million ($150k per song), hitting a single mother of two with a verdict that big comes across as very harsh.  I doubt she has the assets to pay it, so in that sense it’s harsher than hitting a large corporation with a million dollar verdict.  It remains to be seen whether the judge will lower the amount, as I imagine there will be post-trial maneuvering.

At any rate, the music industry has its very public victory.  The size of the verdict is big enough to maintain a substantial stick against those they sue.  That having been said, it remains to be seen whether future juries will award similarly generous verdicts.  At trial, Jammie Thomas admitted that she posted to anti-RIAA blogs, and that probably made the jury extremely skeptical about her professed non-use of Kazaa.  If Thomas came across as a liar, that might explain why a jury would  treat her so harshly, even when the music industry had failed to show how many copies of songs she had actually distributed.  It wouldn’t surprise me if other defendants come across as more sympathetic, and if juries won’t award damages this large in the future.

One thought on “Verdict of $222,000 awarded in Capitol Records v. Thomas

  1. Well this posting of this comment is a bit late but never right?

    Was the jury right in finding miss thomas guilty of copyright infringement? probably

    Was the sum of the verdict extreme? once again probably

    does the RIAA use questionable tactics to obtain its evidence? most definitely

    who would I believe more, the RIAA or Ms. Jamie Thomas? I lean towards Ms. Thomas for the simple fact that I dislike the RIAA

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