Bloomberg News

Music File-Sharing Award Left Intact By Supreme Court

March 18, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a $222,000 award against a Minnesota woman for illegally downloading and sharing songs, leaving intact a victory for the music industry in its anti-piracy campaign.

The justices today turned away an appeal by Jammie Thomas- Rasset, who argued unsuccessfully that the award was so large it violated the Constitution. A federal appeals court upheld the award last year.

The suit against Thomas-Rasset was one of 30,000 filed by the recording industry against alleged copyright infringers from 2003 to 2008. Most of the cases led to settlements, and Thomas- Rasset’s was one of only a handful still being fought in court. Record companies say piracy costs them billions of dollars in sales.

Thomas-Rasset was sued in 2006 under the U.S. Copyright Act by the country’s largest record labels, including units of Sony Corp. (SNE:US) and Vivendi SA. (VIV) The lawsuit focused on 24 recordings, though the appeals court pointed to evidence that her account on the Kazaa file-sharing service contained 1,700 recordings.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net


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