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Both Sides Prefer a Third Trial in Music-Sharing Case

Posted Jan 28, 2010 11:47 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Recording Industry Association of America would rather gamble on a third trial on damages than accept a judge’s drastically reduced award in a case against a Minnesota woman who shared 24 songs over the Internet.

Lawyers for the defendant, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, apparently feel the same way. They rejected a settlement offer of $25,000, to be paid to a charity for struggling musicians, according to the Associated Press. The RIAA then opted for the third trial.

Last week U.S. District Judge Michael Davis slashed the $1.92 million award to $54,000, saying the higher amount was “monstrous and shocking.” At the time, the defendant, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, had said the lower amount was still more than she could pay.

The RIAA made the settlement offer in a letter to Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers, the AP story says. Joe Sibley, a lawyer for Thomas-Rasset, said his client would continue the fight on principle. After damages are finalized, he plans an appeal arguing statutes authorizing hefty damages for file sharing are unconstitutional.

Thomas-Rasset had also turned down previous settlement offers of $3,000 and $5,000.

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