The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Multimedia

March 18, 2013

Woman who lost downloading case says she can't pay

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota woman at the center of a long-running court fight over the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted music said there's still no way she can pay record companies the $222,000 judgment she owes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal Monday.

The justices did not comment on their decision. Attorneys for Jammie Thomas-Rasset, of Brainerd, argued the amount was excessive.

The music industry filed thousands of lawsuits in the early to mid-2000s against people it accused of downloading music without permission and without paying for it. Almost all the cases settled for about $3,500 apiece. Thomas-Rasset is one of only two defendants who refused to pay and went to trial. The other was former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, who also lost and was ordered to pay $675,000.

The industry initially sued Thomas-Rasset in 2006. Since then, her case has gone through three trials and several appeals. The industry presented evidence that Thomas-Rasset made available over 1,700 songs to other computer uses via the file-sharing service Kazaa, though the lawsuit targeted only 24 songs.

"I'm assuming that since they declined to hear the case it's probably done at this point," she said. But she also said she needed to consult with her attorneys to determine what happens next.

Thomas-Rasset, 35, who works for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government, maintained — as she has all along — that she can't afford to pay.

"There's no way that they can collect," she said. "Right now, I get energy assistance because I have four kids. It's just the one income. My husband isn't working. It's not possible for them to collect even if they wanted to. I have no assets."

Thomas-Rasset added that she became a grandmother in June.

The Recording Industry Association of America offered to settle for $5,000 when it first sued, and offered to settle for a $25,000 donation to a charity for music industry people in need after her second trial. She refused both times.

"We appreciate the Court's decision and are pleased that the legal case is finally over," the trade group said in a statement. "We've been willing to settle this case from day one and remain willing to do so."

Thomas-Rasset's attorney, Kiwi Camara, of Houston, expressed disappointment in the outcome but hinted in an email that the legal options may not have run out. He noted that Tenenbaum's case remains live before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Tenenbaum is still challenging the size of the judgment against him. His attorneys, including Camara, argue that it's "grossly disproportionate" to his offense.

The case is Thomas-Rasset v. Capitol Records, 12-715.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Multimedia
  • bomb1 VIDEO | A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO | Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 10.25.07 AM.png VIDEO | Cement truck crashes into minivan

    A professor at Texas A&M University was fortunate to escape serious injury recently when a cement truck ran a red light at a College Station intersection and crashed head-on into his minivan. A dash camera that Dr. Guan Zhu had installed about a year ago captured the entire incident.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • McCutchen hair.jpg VIDEO: Pittsburgh catches on to McCutchen's hairstyle

    Major League Baseball is using Andrew McCutchen in its newest advertisement. The spot is part of the "For the Love of Baseball" campaign and features the Pittsburgh residents showing their support for the Pirates center fielder and reigning National League MVP by wearing their hair in his trademark dreadlock style.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 4.02.29 PM.png VIDEO | Nebraska prom mishap goes viral

    A group of 22 high school students from Pierce, Neb., all decked out in prom finery, took an unplanned dip in a four-foot-deep pond when the bridge they were posing on for pictures gave way. Photos from the incident have gone viral on social media.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2014-04-04 at 3.36.06 PM.png 3 apps to make your flight easier

    Whether you fly once a week for work or once a year for a vacation, you can bet that all areas of your trip are being monitored by smart phones. While it isn't hard to find an app with your flight info, some apps make the process of flying a lot simpler.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO | White House may ban selfies

    The White House wasn't too pleased after Red Sox player David Ortiz snapped a selfie with President Obama that was later used promotionally by Samsung.

    April 9, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.43.57 AM.png VIDEO | Amazing dance moves at NCAA title game

    Eye-catching action wasn't confined to the court at AT&T Stadium Monday night during the NCAA Championship game between UConn and Kentucky. This pair -- apparently a father and son -- delighted the crowd during a timeout with some synchronized dance moves.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • hank_aaron_display_image.jpg VIDEO | Aaron's historic homer

    On the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th career home run, take a look at the historic moment as it happened.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • stars VIDEO | Ex-pros, local hoops stars tip off at War Memorial Arena

    Fans from all corners of the county were thrilled Friday night when hometown hoops stars stood tall next to former pro ballers at the War Memorial Arena’s inaugural Cambria County All-Stars Basketball Game – even though the height differential between the two teams was quite unfavorable.
    SportsPower International bands former NBA and international basketball players together, touring them around the world and spreading positive Christian ideals through the love of the game.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results

House Ads