Originally posted 2009-06-19 12:07:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
A lot of people, including judges, lawyers and civilians, don’t seem to really understand what statutory damages are all about. They are not supposed to be a windfall (discussed more here). But just tell that to the jury that awarded “infinity dollars” — practically — to the Lords of Music for what was indeed knowing copyright infringement of two dozen songs, and to the person on whose head the jury just laid that award.
I’m not an “information wants to be free” nutter, and musical compositions aren’t “information” anyway except to the most heartless utilitarian, but Stan Schroeder (presumably no nutter either, but probably to my left on this issue) hits it right on the head:
In one of the most ridiculous verdicts I’ve seen, the jury decided that Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first woman who was charged with copyright infringement and offered to settle but decided to fight the RIAA, is guilty and owes the recording industry 1.92 million dollars, or $80,000 per song.
As we mentioned in our original article, Jammie’s case was full of holes, and she probably would have done better if she had just settled with the RIAA. But what’s striking here is the amount of money awarded to the recording industry for infringing the copyright for just one song.