Facilitator appointed to aid RIAA/Thomas talks

By | Published on Wednesday 23 June 2010

A federal court in Minnesota has appointed a ‘special master’ to help mediate in the latest efforts to get a damages settlement between the Recording Industry Association Of America and Jammie Thomas, one of the world’s most famous file-sharers.

As you’ll probably remember, single mother Thomas was one of the few people to fight an RIAA file-sharing lawsuit, but she lost. A court initially ordered her to pay $222,000 in damages to the record industry. After a second trial this went up to $1.92 million, but a judge later slashed the figure to a much more modest $54,000.

According to reports, shortly after the judge slashed Thomas’ damages, the RIAA offered to settle with an even lower damages payment of just $25,000, but Team Thomas knocked the offer back. The RIAA then announced its intent to appeal the judge’s damages cutting ruling, taking the whole thing back to court yet again.

The latest move by a Minnesota judge is to try to facilitate a settlement without necessitating another court hearing. Neither Thomas’ legal reps nor the RIAA seemingly asked for a facilitator to be appointed, so it remains to be seen how well they respond to the assistance of a special master. Few commentators seem convinced a settlement will now be reached without more court time.