A Minnesota woman must pay $220,000 to six music labels after a federal jury found on Thursday that she violated the U.S. copyright law by downloading music using P2P software.
Jammie Thomas is the first among more than 26,000 people sued by the world's most powerful recording companies to refuse a settlement after being slapped with a lawsuit by the Recording Industry of America and seven major music labels. Thomas was accused of the illegal sharing of more than 1,700 songs on peer-to-peer network Kazaa. However, rather than pursue Thomas for all 1,072 songs in the public folder found on Kazaa, she is being sued for sharing just 25 songs by Virgin Records, Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Arista Records, Interscope Records, Warner Brothers Records and UMG Recordings Inc.
Instead of paying a few thousand dollars to settle the suit, Thomas decided to spend upwards of 60,000 dollars in attorney's fees because she refuses to be bullied. She He argued that someone else could have easily hijacked her Internet address in order to upload songs on the Kazaa file sharing network.
Thomas was found guilty of copyright infringement and ordered to pay $220,000 to six music labels.
John Kennedy, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, which represents record labels, told Associated Press that they were "reluctant litigators".
"We do everything possible to persuade people not to leave themselves exposed to litigation. We educate, we warn, we even try and settle before a case gets to court."
He said he hoped the fine would prove a deterrent to others.
"Our message is: we don't want to litigate - don't leave yourself exposed to litigation," he added.