Jammie Thomas is the first individual to be accused of illegal downloading whose case has been brought to trial. The case is now over, and it doesn’t make happy reading for anyone outside the Big Music boardrooms.
Thomas was ordered to pay $222,000 damages to six record companies for the file-sharing of 24 specific songs – a whopping $9,250 per song. Since she was accused of filesharing 1,702 tracks in total (through Kazaa), record companies say the fine could have been much higher.
Incredibly, companies are hungry to criminalise their users still more. Testifying in the case, Sony BMG’s chief anti-piracy lawyer, Jennifer Pariser, told the court that in her view “Copying” music you own is “stealing”:
“When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy'”, she said.