The jury in the latest trial of illegal file sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset has awarded the plantiffs, Capitol records et al., an award of 1.5 million dollars.
This is the third time that jurors have issued large awards in this same case. The first judgment was for $222,000, the second for 1.92 million, and now 1.5 million dollars. Each time the RIAA (representing the major record labels) has offered her the opportunity to settle for pennies on the dollar and an admission of guilt. Each time she has refused. Reportedly the first offer was for between
5 and 10 thousand and the latest offer is 25 thousand.
Over the course of the three trials Ms. Thomas-Rasset claimed she was not the person who illegally shared the music, then admitted later she destroyed evidence. She tried repeatedly to blame others for her theft but in the end the evidence was overwhelming that she was the culprit. After being found guilty, instead of taking responsibility for her actions, she has continually attempted to portray herself as a victim in these trials even going so far as opening a website to sell thongs, T-shirts, and sweatshirts, the profits of which would go to support her defense fund.
My first bit of advice would be to use these last few minutes of your fifteen minutes of fame to
spread the message that it is wrong to steal music from songwriters who never did you any
harm. All we ever did was try to add some joy and meaning to your life. We spent our lives
learning to write the music you stole. You took our jobs and destroyed our dreams. Now you are adding insult to injury by thumbing your nose at us in Court and in the press. The size of the fines against you awarded by multiple juries should be a clue for you that this behavior is not being viewed favorably by anyone but other scofflaws.
Since the Songwriters Guild of America has not been a party to this case I have not previously commented on the trial or the fines imposed. But due to the length of the trials and the apparent hopelessness of her case I feel compelled to offer Ms. Thomas-Rasset one other bit of advice.
Take the deal and admit your guilt.
I know you have a lot of anti-copyright lawyers and free-culture advocacy groups telling you that you can prevail in this case, but these folks have their own agenda. Don't be sacrificed in their cause. The truth is you committed a crime, the facts are against you. Cut your losses, if not for yourself, do it for the financial future of your kids.
It is the very height of hubris to believe that you are above the law and that the people who created and distributed the music you stole should have to reduce you to the court of last resort in order to get you to pay for a song.
When you lose your last appeal your 'Free Jammie' pirate friends will move on to other casue célèbres and you will be stuck holding the massive bill.
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