US Justice Department: Ruling against Jammie Thomas-Rasset “not excessive”


The US President Barack Obama may disappoint his young fans with his recently-exhibited uncompromising approach to music downloading laws - with his administration upholding a ruling whereby a Minnesota grandmother has been asked to pay the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) more than $1.9 million in damages!

In its 26-page brief to District Judge Michael Davis - who is presiding over the appeal case -, US Federal Justice Department has said that the verdict passed against Minnesota grandmother Jammie Thomas-Rasset was "not excessive."

It was in 2007 that Jammie Thomas-Rasset was charged with downloading 24 songs from file-sharing website Kazaa. After two trials, the charge, which claimed she "was distributing 1,702 sound recordings to millions of other users," progressed into a cost of $80,000 per song - a value that her defense lawyers said was overwhelming and "unconstitutional."

However, the Justice Department has now said that the range of statutory damages, which was increased to $150,000 per infringement in 1999, was precisely applicable to such cases.

Justifying the reason behind seconding the verdict passed against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the brief from the Justice Department said: "Congress took into account the need to deter the millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights in an environment where many violators believe that they will go unnoticed."