Judge slashes Jammie damages again

By | Published on Monday 25 July 2011

Jammie Thomas

Will the American record industry still be grappling with the fallout from its disastrous and now defunct sue-the-fans approach to tackling the file-sharing problem forever? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, time for another update in the long running Jammie Thomas court case.

You remember Jammie, right? She shared 24 songs illegally using this archaic bit of technology called Kazaa, which the kids seemed to dig at some point in the dim and distant past. She was sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America and for reasons no one can remember she decided to fight the lawsuit in court.

At first hearing, Thomas was ordered to pay $222,000 to the record industry in damages, but then the judge overseeing the case decided that hearing hadn’t been done right, and ordered a second trial. At that, the jury hearing the case, for reasons best known to themselves, order Jammie, a single mother of limited means, to pay $1.92 million in damages. A judge subsequently ruled the jury had got it wrong, and slashed the damages figure to $54,000.

The RIAA, to be fair, was willing to accept that figure but Jammie, perhaps sensing things were going in her favour, refused. So the RIAA appealed the judge’s amendment of the original jury decision, sending the case back into court for a third time, where the jury awarded the record industry $1.5 million in damages.

Which brings us up to now. And the judge hearing the case has again ruled that the jury were insane to order Thomas to pay over a million in damages. Well, he didn’t call them “insane”, but he did say the damages sum was “outrageously high” and “appalling”. So he’s cut the figure the file-sharing mom must pay back down to $54,000.

So where does that leave us? Well, despite last time round saying they were willing to accept the lower sum in order to bring this embarrassing case to a close (in fact it was willing to go down as low as $25,000), this time the RIAA seems to be in a less compliant mood. A spokesman told Billboard on Friday the organisation disagreed with the judge’s ruling and was considering its options.

And so, the case continues, on and on and on and on.