Copyright

Supreme Court Lets $220,000 Song-Sharing Verdict Stand

Declines to get involved in case about online music copyright

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The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a jury's conclusion that infamous file-sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset pay the recording industry $222,000 for downloading and sharing two dozen copyrighted songs on the now-defunct file-sharing service Kazaa.

Without comment, the justices declined (.pdf) to review a petition from the Minnesota woman who claimed the damages award was unconstitutionally excessive and was not rationally related to the harm she caused the music labels. Thomas-Rasset was the nation's first file-sharer to challenge a Recording Industry Association of America lawsuit, one of thousands the industry lodged against individuals who illegally shared music on peer-to-peer networks.

The high court's move ends a legal saga that dates to 2007. The litigation had a tortuous history involving a mistrial and three separate verdicts for the same offense — $222,000, $1.92 million and $1.5 million.