US Justice Dept Aligns With RIAA Against Jammie Thomas
In an expected move, the US Justice Department stated that it will defend the constitutionality of the copyright law that a jury decided Jammie Thomas violated when she made 24 songs available on KaZaA, a popular Peer-To-Peer (P2P) file-sharing network.
Thomas was fined $222,000 and is challenging the constitutionality of the penalty, which she feels is excessive. The US Justice Department issued a statement in a Minnesota court defending the legality of the court’s decision.
“The federal copyright statute…has consistently included special provisions to ensure significant monetary awards in copyright infringement suits that will make copyright owners whole and deter further infringement,” the brief stated.
Thomas’ argument, fining someone $222,000 for sharing songs that could be bought for $24 on iTunes is oppressive and objectively unreasonable, and thus unconstitutional since it violates a Supreme Court precedent, which prohibits fines that are “so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense or obviously unreasonable.”