Washington – The U.S. Dept. of Justice has opposed the
reduction of a jury’s award of $1.5 million in damages to be paid to record
labels by convicted file-swapper Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Recording Industry
vs. the People blog reports.
Thomas-Rasset and her attorneys have asked the
court to reduce the damages award, claiming the amount is unconstitutional as a
violation of due process.
In its brief, the Justice Dept. first argues that the
court may avoid the constitutional question entirely, by determining that the
award should instead be reduced under the common law doctrine of remittitur.
Failing that, Justice argues that the damages award is not unconstitutional.
has established a regime to protect intellectual property that dates back to
before the beginning of the Republic. The current damages range provides
compensation for copyright owners because, inter alia, there exist situations
in which actual damages are hard to quantify," the DOJ writes in its
"Furthermore, in establishing that range, Congress took into
account the need to deter the millions of users of new media from infringing
copyrights in an environment where many violators believe that they will go
unnoticed. Accordingly, the statutory range specified by Congress for a
copyright infringement satisfies due process."
Not surprisingly, the
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has also weighed in with a
brief opposing the reduction of damages to be paid by Thomas-Rasset.
(Recording Industry vs the People)