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Woman who lost downloading case says she can't pay

By Steve Karnowski

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:59 a.m. HST, Mar 18, 2013



MINNEAPOLIS » A Minnesota woman at the center of a long-running court fight over the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted music said there's still no way she can pay record companies the $222,000 judgment she owes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal today.

The justices did not comment on their decision. Attorneys for Jammie Thomas-Rasset, of Brainerd, argued the amount was excessive.

The music industry filed thousands of lawsuits in the early to mid-2000s against people it accused of downloading music without permission and without paying for it. Almost all the cases settled for about $3,500 apiece. Thomas-Rasset is one of only two defendants who refused to pay and went to trial. The other was former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, who also lost and was ordered to pay $675,000.

The industry initially sued Thomas-Rasset in 2006. Since then, her case has gone through three trials and several appeals. The industry presented evidence that Thomas-Rasset made available over 1,700 songs to other computer uses via the file-sharing service Kazaa, though the lawsuit targeted only 24 songs.

"I'm assuming that since they declined to hear the case it's probably done at this point," she said. But she also said she needed to consult with her attorneys to determine what happens next.

Thomas-Rasset, 35, who works for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government, maintained — as she has all along — that she can't afford to pay.

"There's no way that they can collect," she said. "Right now, I get energy assistance because I have four kids. It's just the one income. My husband isn't working. It's not possible for them to collect even if they wanted to. I have no assets."

Thomas-Rasset added that she became a grandmother in June.

The Recording Industry Association of America offered to settle for $5,000 when it first sued, and offered to settle for a $25,000 donation to a charity for music industry people in need after her second trial. She refused both times.

"We appreciate the Court's decision and are pleased that the legal case is finally over," the trade group said in a statement. "We've been willing to settle this case from day one and remain willing to do so."

Thomas-Rasset's attorney, Kiwi Camara, of Houston, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The case is Thomas-Rasset v. Capitol Records, 12-715.







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cojef wrote:
Guess composer rights over-rides piracy practices. Seems that writers and composers have intellectual rights worth protecting. However, rather than individuals filing suits, the music industry did and were able to obtain judgements against the 2 down loaders. Judgements of $222,000 and $675,000 are debts these two would be hard pressed to pay. Too bad, for them, you do the crime, you pay the judgement.
on March 18,2013 | 09:34AM
serious wrote:
JUDGMENT!!!
on March 18,2013 | 02:53PM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
So why werent the two defendants given amounts which seems excessive while other downloaders settled for $3,500 for their cases?
on March 18,2013 | 10:38AM
lowtone123 wrote:
She rused to settle for $5K but she can afford an attorney?
on March 18,2013 | 01:34PM
kiragirl wrote:
Yep. Doesn't make "cents".
on March 18,2013 | 01:44PM
lowtone123 wrote:
refused
on March 18,2013 | 01:35PM
fairgame947 wrote:
Attorney was/is probably on a contingency basis and when they realized if was futile, probably kept telling her to refuse earlier settlements. She needs to pay something! She knew she was doing it illegally.
on March 18,2013 | 03:38PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Get her Indian tribe to use gambling money to pay the debt?
on March 18,2013 | 03:59PM
lynnh wrote:
What? I "am" Ojibwa and from that part of the country. I have been in Hawaii since i was a child. People like you seem to thing tribes are rich because of casinos. What your narrow mindedness fails to comprehend is the fact that native American casinos are not out to make an individual rich. Casinos pay for tribal health care, housing, infrastructure preservation, education, etc. Reservations with casinos are not rich, and in most cases are barely getting by. This is due to treaties that have been constantly ignored resulting in the ripping off of the rightful occupants of this country. Federal monies that is mandatory by treaty rarely comes forward. So...learn something before you open your uneducated mouth. Also, the tribe is not responsible for the actions of one, though you seem to think they are, My personal opinion towards you...."you can go to h e double toothpicks."
on March 18,2013 | 04:45PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Send her to jail!
on March 18,2013 | 05:47PM
soundofreason wrote:
"Thomas-Rasset, 35, who works for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government, maintained — as she has all along — that she can't afford to pay. "There's no way that they can collect," she said. "Right now, I get energy assistance because I have four kids. It's just the one income. My husband isn't working. It's not possible for them to collect even if they wanted to. I have no assets." Thomas-Rasset added that she became a grandmother in June.>>>>>>>>> And so the cycle goes on..........and on.......
on March 18,2013 | 07:18PM
steveshawaii27 wrote:
One word......BANKRUPTCY.
on March 18,2013 | 08:36PM
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