Duluth, Minn. – A federal judge on Monday set aside
a $1.92 million damages verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first person
to be convicted of copyright infringement on a file-sharing network. U.S.
District Judge Michael Davis has instead reduced the damages award from the
$80,000 per song for the 24 songs she was convicted by a jury of sharing on the
Kazaa file-sharing network, to $2,250 per song — for a new total of $54,000.

Judge Davis denied Thomas-Rasset’s attorneys’ motion for a new trial, and gave
her side a week to decide whether to accept the reduced damages or request a
new trial on the issue of damages.

"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," Judge Davis wrote in his ruling.

Davis called his award of damages equal to three times the minimum statutory
damages amount "the most reasoned solution," adding that "this
reduced award is significant and harsh."

"It was the jury’s province
to determine the award of statutory damages and this Court has merely reduced
that award to the maximum amount that is no longer monstrous and shocking,"

"We are pleased with Judge Davis’s ruling and intend to
continue to challenge the remaining award as unconstitutionally excessive,"
said CeCe Cohen, a spokeswoman for Thomas-Rasset’s attorneys, Camara &
Sibley LLP.

They intend to argue that "the award of statutory damages
bears no relation to the injury to the recording industry."


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