P2P User Wants Damages to Drop From $1.5 Million to Zero - The UpStream

P2P User Wants Damages to Drop From $1.5 Million to Zero

posted Sunday Dec 19, 2010 by Nicholas DiMeo

P2P User Wants Damages to Drop From $1.5 Million to Zero

It seems like only yesterday that P2P user Jammie Thomas-Rasset was monetarily attacked by the RIAA and a court ruling ordered her to pay $222,000. Then, after an appeal, another judge ruled she should pay $1.92 million and then after another appeal, $1.5 million. After the second verdict, the judge did say that all of those numbers are absolutely ridiculous and then decided that $54,000 is the maximum he could allow.

Well, clearly it appears that the jurors didn't catch that memo and because of all the confusion and crazy numbers, defendant Jammie Thomas-Rasset feels that she has suffered enough by spending her time in court and thinks she should owe absolutely nothing. Her lawyers have motioned for the judge to minimize the damage owed to zero dollars and zero cents.

For more on this crazy story, five years in the making, hit the break.

Here's what Rasset's lawyers have stated about their latest move.

This award violates the Due Process Clause because it bears no reasonable relationship to the actual damages that the defendant caused. While the plaintiffs offered evidence of the harm caused by file sharing in general, they were unable to present evidence of any harm caused by this defendant in particular...

The statutory damages assessed in this case bear no relation to the actual injury that this defendant caused. The plaintiffs complain that this is because the injury they suffered due to distribution of free music on KaZaA cannot be traced to any particular defendant. That may be true, but it does not follow that one defendant can be punished for the harm that KaZaA itself—that file-sharing technology itself—caused. The testimony was clear that the plaintiffs cannot trace and, indeed, made no attempt to trace, the particular injury that this defendant caused. If this Court agrees that the Constitution requires some proportionality between actual damages and statutory damages imposed to punish and deter, then the complete dearth of evidence of actual damages that the plaintiffs presented in this case requires a take-nothing verdict.

You may recall a similar case much more recent than this one, in which defendant Joel Tenenbaum's lawyers used the same defense. They are pretty much saying that RIAA cannot prove that the single file-sharer has caused actual losses and damages, so they cannot be held liable.

RIAA, of course wants the verdict to be upheld, but they have since changed their tactics to try and order an injunction that would never allow Rasset to violate copyright again. Obviously they did this because they cannot defend that $1.5 million is a justifiable punishment for these actions.

There will be reply motions early next year and more months and deliberations will follow after that for the judge to issue the - hopeful - final ruling on this case.

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