Guilty: Duluth Woman Owes $222,000 for Pirating Songs
As first reported by the Duluth News Tribune, local resident Jammie Thomas was found guilty by a jury in US District Court of having pirated 24 specific audio files, and was order to pay plaintiffs from the recording industry a total of $222,000.
It could have been much worse, with evidence presented that the Kazaa client on Thomas' system had been responsible for the proliferation of as many as 1,702 tracks. At $9,250 per track, she could legally have been liable for as much as $15.74 million.
In all, it was a very short trial, commencing just yesterday. While plaintiffs' corporate representatives, including Sony BMG's, gave testimony based on opinions that have been met with considerable skepticism - such as the contention that all ripping of music from CD, even for personal use, constitutes theft - in the end, the case came down to forensic evidence.
There was a Kazaa shared folder on Thomas' system, the jury learned, though her defense attorney maintained she had never heard of the P2P sharing system until she was sued. With all the exploits you see every day on the Internet, her attorney put forth, some malicious user could have planted that folder there.
But plaintiffs' attorneys presented evidence from Thomas' ISP showing that a Kazaa account linked to the username [email protected] was directly associated with an IP address linked just as directly to Thomas' broadband modem, whose MAC address was used by her computer. The case was made fast, deliberation was quick, and few sparks flew.
The bar has apparently now been set for settlement fees that may yet arise from ongoing recording industry lawsuits against suspected file sharers.