Jammie Thomas-Rasset: Guilty, again

The copyright infringement retrial of Jammie Thomas-Rasset ended with a guilty verdict, just like the first time around.

Thomas-Rasset now owes $1.92 million to the Recording Industry Association of America for willfully infringing 24 copyrights. Ars Technica, which covered the trial in its entirety, noted that Thomas-Rasset’s eyes widened as the dollar figure was read in court.

After the trial, Thomas-Rasset kept up the defiant attitude she maintained through the proceedings. "Good luck trying to get it from me… it’s like squeezing blood from a turnip," she said.

Thomas-Rasset originally stood trial in 2007 for allegedly sharing music files through KaZaa, a peer-to-peer program. The jury found her guilty and decided on $222,000 in damages. Judge Michael Davis declared a mistrial in 2008, saying he incorrectly told jurors that simply making a file available for download is sufficient to prove unauthorized distribution.

From Ars’ reports, however, it seems the new trial remained focused on whether Thomas actually downloaded the files. Her case was weakened by evidence pointing to her computer and modem and a KaZaa password that was similar to her computer login.

One of Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers, K.A.D. (who also goes by Kiwi) Camara, said there’s still opportunity for appeal and separate suits on the constitutionality of million-dollar penalties. He will also continue a class-action lawsuit demanding that the RIAA give back all the money it’s collected over the years for copyright infringement cases.

For its part, the RIAA seems like its trying to avoid a PR nightmare after the verdict. A spokeswoman told Ars that the trade group remains open to a settlement.

The RIAA said last year that it will stop filing new lawsuits against file sharers, but it won’t halt cases currently in the pipeline. If the trade group is indeed still trying to scare the public out of copyright infringement, why not look as vindictive as possible? I’m being a little facetious, but really, I think the PR battle was lost years ago.