The latest development in the war between the RIAA and file sharers is a disheartening one. The retrial of the RIAA’s suit against Jammie Thomas-Rasset has led to another guilty verdict, this time with a significantly more outrageous financial penalty: $80,000 per song shared instead of the original $9,250, for a grand total of $1.92 million.
According to Ars Technica–whose daily coverage of the trial is worth looking at–Thomas-Rasset “gasped and her eyes widened” when the verdict was read, and she later said, in reference to the 1.92 mil, “Good luck trying to get it from me . . . it’s like squeezing blood from a turnip.”
The RIAA is trying to look magnanimous in victory, and after the trial RIAA representative Cara Duckworth repeated the group’s offer of a settlement. As Ars Technica notes, the RIAA’s suit against Thomas-Rasset–who’s married now but was a single mother when it all began–has earned them a whole mess of negative PR. A bunch of major corporations financially ruining an individual for the purpose of retribution wouldn’t help improve their image, so it’s extremely unlikely that Thomas-Rasset is really on the hook for the whole $1.92 million.
What’s potentially troubling is the encouragement the RIAA could take from this win. The bad press their lawsuits have been generating seems to have made them at least consider abandoning the tactic. I wonder if we’re going to see an uptick in file-sharing suits after this.