Seems like a silly question, right? But $80,000 per track is exactly how much Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a single mother from Minneapolis, has been charged. Well, I say charged but actually she was fined this amount for each of 24 songs downloaded via a file-sharing site at the end of a jury trial which found her to be liable for wilful copyright infringement in every case.
The $1.92 million in damages for the four record labels involved sets a new record, if you will excuse the pun. Her attorney told reporters he was angry about the damages, but Thomas-Rasset was more laid back and insisted that the recording industry would find that getting the money from her would be like "squeezing blood from a turnip."
Indeed, an RIAA spokesperson has even hinted that the industry may not even bother collecting the fines by saying it had been willing to settle from day one and remained "willing to do so." Could the recording industry be scared of stirring up even more bad publicity surrounding how the music business deals with individuals who illegally download and share music.
Still, it could have been worse as the jury could have imposed a maximum $150,000 per infringement in such a case under the terms of the Copyright Act. Some, of course, might point out that it already is worse: than her first trial on the same charges that is. Then the total in damages came to just $9000 per song, some $1.7 million less than the fine imposed by this second trial jury.