Michael J. Davis, Chief Judge of the Minnesota United States District Court, has ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset's file sharing fine be reduced to $2,250 per song from $80,000 per song.
Here's an excerpt from the ruling:
After long and careful deliberation, the Court grants in part and denies in part Thomas-Rasset's motion and remits the damages award to $2,250 per song—three times the statutory minimum. The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.
The Court has labored to fashion a reasonable limit on statutory damages awards against noncommercial individuals who illegally download and upload music such that the award of statutory damages does not veer into the realm of gross injustice. Finding a precise dollar amount that delineates the border between the jury's wide discretion to calculate its own number to address Thomas-Rasset's willful violations, Plaintiffs' far-reaching, but nebulous damages, and the need to deter online piracy in general and the outrageousness of a $2 million verdict is a considerable task. The Court concludes that setting the limit at three times the minimum statutory damages amount in this case is the most reasoned solution.
This award constitutes the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award to both compensate Plaintiffs and address the deterrence aspect of the Copyright Act. This reduced award is significant and harsh. It is a higher award than the Court might have chosen to impose in its sole discretion, but the decision was not entrusted to this Court. It was the jury's province to determine the award of statutory damages and this Court has merely reduced that award to the maximum amount that is no longer monstrous and shocking. Plaintiffs have seven days from the date of this Order to decide whether to accept the remittitur or request a new trial on the issue of damages.
The Court denies Thomas-Rasset's motion for a new trial based on the admission of evidence collected by MediaSentry. It further denies her motion for a new trial based on Plaintiffs' failure to produce certified copies of the sound recordings deposited with the Copyright Office.
Finally, the Court grants Plaintiffs' request to amend the Judgment to include a permanent injunction.
Read more about it at "Court Reduces 'Shocking' File Sharing Award" and "Judge Slashes RIAA's $1.92 Million Fine against Minnesota Mom."