Monday, January 25, 2010

Thomas award reduced from offensive to merely egregious

The award in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset has been reduced by District Judge Michael Davis from $1.92 million to "just" $54,000. Davis was unimpressed with the original level of the award:

“The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music,” Davis wrote. “Moreover, although plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must bear some relation to actual damages.”

$54k is still silly money, but let's at least be delighted that a judge has noted that the RIAA's current claims are unjustifiable. He could have reduced the figure even further - the minimum amount per song allowed by law is $750 (even that is a stupid figure) and there is a question as to why Judge Davis decided $2,250 isn't too much to deter in itself.

Thomas-Rasset says she still can't afford the lower amount; the RIAA can apply for yet another trial if they object to the judgement.