The Thomas file-sharing retrial

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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The almost two million dollar award is $80,000 per song. $80,000. Damages are supposed to be, well, damages, even if statutory. It strains belief that the record labels really were harmed to the tune of $80,000 per song, even based on wilful infringement.

The jury in the retrial of Ms. Jammie Thomas-Rasset deliberated only a few hours today before concluding that she had willfully infringed the copyrights of 24 songs and awarding $1.92 million in statutory damages ($80,000 per recording) to the record label plaintiffs. The verdict represents a huge increase over the $220,000 award in the original trial, which was overturned by the judge based on a faulty jury instruction pushed by the record labels.

via Record Labels’ $1.9 Million Win in Thomas Retrial Constitutional? | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The EFF, in the article quoted above, questions whether such an award is even constitutional. I do not know enough about the arguments to have an answer on that, but I certainly have to doubt the real benefit to society of this kind of judgment – and I certainly question the level of actual damages.

But an interesting, if disturbing, point of data to add to the debate.