Sunday, May 02, 2010
Judge Tosses $2 Million Jury Verdict for Downloading 24 Songs as "Simply Shocking"
From Capitol Records Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, 680 F.Supp.2d 1045, 1054 (D.Minn. 2010)
The Court has considered the strong need for deterrence in this particular case, the difficulty in quantifying the damages caused by the chain effect of Thomas-Rasset's distribution of copyrighted sound recordings over the Internet, the large scale damages caused by online piracy in aggregate, and the substantial impediments to identifying and pursuing infringers. However, despite the combination of these justifications and the Court's deference to the jury's verdict, $2 million for stealing 24 songs for personal use is simply shocking. No matter how unremorseful Thomas-Rasset may be, assessing a $2 million award against an individual consumer for use of Kazaa is unjust. Even Plaintiffs admit that Thomas-Rasset is unlikely to ever be able to pay such an award. Having determined that the current verdict is so shocking that it must be remitted, the Court next faces the task of assessing the proper amount of remittitur
Labels: copyright infringement, copyright law, jury verdicts, kazaa, music downloads, music law, music piracy, statutory damages
Partner in Manhattan law firm Dunnington Bartholow & Miller LLP in New York City litigating in federal and state courts and arbitrations. Experienced trial and appellate practitioner. Author: Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters 2015-2016). The New York Law Journal called it "an indispensable guide". Serve on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, served as Chair of the Circuit Vice Presidents, Vice President for the Second Circuit and General Counsel. Member Board of Governors, National Arts Club. President, Network of Bar Leaders (2013-2014). Attorney advertising disclaimer - prior results do not guarantee success. The statements and opinions voiced here are my own and not of my law firm.