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Wednesday, 08 July 2009 00:38

Huge fine prompts request for new trial

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The woman who was assessed US$1.92 million in damages for music piracy has asked for a new trial or a reduction in the amount of the award.
In June, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found guilty of intentional copyright infringement in her second trial for the offense.

The jury awarded damages of $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was convicted of sharing on the Kazaa network, for a total assessment of $1.92 million.

Her lawyers have now asked the court to either change the judgment, change the amount, or order a whole new trial.

The lawyers called the judgment "grossly excessive and, therefore, subject to remittitur as a matter of federal common law. Moreover, such a judgment is inconsistent with the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution."

They also continued to argue that the evidence gathered by MediaSentry, a digital media monitoring service, should be inadmissible because its collection violated several states' wiretap statutes. The judge in the case had already denied that motion during the trial.

And the lawyers asserted that the law doesn't recognize a difference between commercial and noncommercial copyright infringement.

"The verdict reveals a deeper problem with the statutory-damages scheme of the Copyright Act as applied in cases like Mrs. Thomas'," they wrote. "The Act does not distinguish, in determining the range of statutory damages, between commercial and noncommercial infringers, between those who infringe for great profit and those who do so for personal use."


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