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Internet song sharing woman loses appeal and is fined $9,000 per track

Published time: September 12, 2012 15:27
Edited time: September 12, 2012 19:27
AFP Photo / Martin Bureau

AFP Photo / Martin Bureau

An American woman from Minnesota accused of sharing songs online will have to pay for her passion for downloading. A Federal appeals court has ruled she owes record companies $222,000 for willful copyright infringement.

­The industry presented evidence that Jammie Thomas-Rasset made available over 1,700 songs to other computer users via the file sharing service Kazaa, though the lawsuit targeted only 24 songs.

The woman's case appears to be one of only two lawsuits to go to trial out of more than 30,000 filed by the recording industry, The Associated Press reported.

"We are pleased with the appellate court's decision and look forward to putting this case behind us," the Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement.

A three judge appeals panel reversed a lower court's ruling in the long-running lawsuit over music downloading, concluding that Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis was wrong when he cut the award against Thomas-Rasset to $54,000.

Juries reportedly ruled against the woman in three separate trials since the industry first sued her back in 2006. Davis said the last award, of $1.5 million, was "severe and oppressive."

However, according to the appeals court, the high award was not unreasonable. It sent the case back to Chief U.S. District Judge for an order that she pay $222,000, as well as an injunction barring her from making the plaintiffs' recordings available to the public via online media distribution systems.

Thomas-Rasset said she plans to appeal for as long as her attorneys remain with her. She revealed she can't afford to pay though.

Her attorney confirmed they would ask the Supreme Court to hear the case, describing the $222,000 award as punitive.