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RIAA in pickle over Jammie Thomas ruling

  Entertainment  -   POSTED: 2010/01/26 16:51

The music industry will have to make some very tough choices within the next week about file sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset.

The Recording Industry Association of America wants to put the Thomas-Rasset affair behind it. The Brainerd, Minn., mother--who refused to settle with the RIAA for $5,000 over copyright infringement allegations, instead fighting it out in court--has been found liable of willful copyright infringement by two different juries and was ordered to pay damages of $222,000 in her first trial (a decision later thrown out) and $1.9 million last June in her retrial.

On Friday, Michael Davis, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, made what some legal experts say is an unprecedented move involving statutory damages in a copyright case, when he reduced the jury-awarded amount by 97 percent. Davis called the $1.9 million amount "monstrous and shocking," changing the damages to $54,000, which he said was still "significant and harsh."

Davis has given the music industry seven days to decide whether to challenge his decision and schedule a trial on the damages. To figure out how to proceed, RIAA leaders and lawyers huddled on Monday, according to my music industry sources. An RIAA spokesman declined to comment.

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