Back in October, 30-year-old Jammie Thomas was sued by the RIAA for allegedly sharing songs over the P2P network, Kazaa. The total was $222,000 for supposedly downloading and sharing 24 specific RIAA songs (TMT News). The RIAA picked the perfect target, as Jammie Thomas is a single mother with an annual income of $33,000. Even funnier, neither a hard drive containing the files nor evidence that would link Jammie's Kazaa account with the music was ever presented on trial to the Minnesota jury of 12. Yet the jury fell for jury instruction 15, which told the jurors that simply "making available" the files was enough justification.
After the Minnesota court ruled in favor of the RIAA -- this was the first time the RIAA has won in courts against music piracy -- the case was taken to the U.S. Department of Justice to question the constitutionality of the ruling. Many lawyers and experts on the matter believed it would have been shot down as unconstitutional, since suing someone for sharing 24 songs for $222,000 can be viewed as excessive. Sadly, they were wrong. As ruled by the Department of Justice, it turns out that suing a single mother for seven times her annual income is "constitutional."
Standing assistant attorney general of Minnesota Jeffrey Bucholtz agreed with the ruling, stating that the $222,000 is not only for compensation, but acts as a "deterrent" to scare file-sharers.
A ruling like this is a terrible blow to the supporters of file-sharing, and it could only mean negative things for anyone else who has or will be targeted in the RIAA's righteous quest for compensation.
If you'd like to show your support for the victim in this case, Jammie Thomas, you can go to freejammie.com.