Copyright & Trademark Matters Insights and Developments in Copyright and Trademark Law

An Update: The Cost Of An Illegal Download

Posted in Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Damages, Fair Use, Litigation, Music, Statutory Damages

Written by Susan Neuberger Weller

As you may recall, we asked the question in a recent blog post “Are You Willing to Pay $22,500 to Download A Song? ”  Well, we now ask  “Are you willing to pay $9250 to download a song?” 

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the woman who was the focus of the first major file-sharing case to go to trial, was found liable for willful copyright infringement and has been ordered after three jury trials and appeals to pay $9250 for each of the 24 songs she downloaded from the Kazaa service and shared.  In reality, Ms. Thomas-Rasset had downloaded over 1000 songs but the plaintiffs selected only 24 on which to base the litigation.  Ms. Thomas-Rasset was also enjoined from making any of the plaintiffs’ recordings available for distribution to the public through an online media distribution system.

The messages being sent by US courts are clear: Unauthorized downloading  of songs, music, films, and other audiovisual works and unauthorized copying from the Internet or other sources of works such as photographs, text, illustrations and artwork will not be tolerated and could be very costly to the offenders.