Didn’t think you could really get into trouble illegally downloading music? It is illegal but many people just don’t think they will get caught. But a Minnesota woman, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, did and now she has been ordered by the courts to pay $22,000. It was the outcome of a long-running court battle over the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted music, reports The Huffington Post. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her final appeal.
In the early- to mid-2000s, the music industry filed thousands of lawsuits against people it accused of downloading music without permission and without paying for it. Most of the cases settled for about $3,500 apiece. But Thomas-Rasset was one only two defendants who refused to pay; she opted for a trial. The other was former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, who also lost. The amount he had to pay: $675,000. But argue that the amounts are excessive.
According to HuffPo, the industry initially sued Thomas-Rasset in 2006. Three trials and several appeals have followed. The industry argued that she made more than 1,700 songs downloaded via the file-sharing service Kazaa. The lawsuit, however, targeted only 24 songs.
Thomas-Rasset, 35, works for the Mille Lacs Band of the Ojibwe tribal government and says she can not afford to pay.
“There’s no way that they can collect,” she said to HuffPo. “Right now, I get energy assistance because I have four kids. It’s just the one income. My husband isn’t working. It’s not possible for them to collect even if they wanted to. I have no assets.”
Still the industry said they would work out a settlement. “The Recording Industry Association of America offered to settle for $5,000 when it first sued, and offered to settle for a $25,000 donation to a charity for music industry people in need after her second trial. She refused both times,” reports HuffPo.
Now, the Supreme Court says she has to pay the total—and there is no appealing the Supreme Court