U.S. Govt: Harsh Punishments Needed to Deter File-Sharers


The Unites States Government has submitted a brief to the Supreme Court asking it to uphold the $220,000 verdict in the RIAA vs. Thomas file-sharing case. According to the Obama administration damages of $9,250 per song is not an unconstitutional amount and is in fact needed to deter others from engaging on online piracy.

The extended legal action between the RIAA and Jammie Thomas has been dragging on for more than half a decade, and is currently with the Supreme Court. The case is best known for being the first major file-sharing case in the US concerning the P2P activity of a regular user and the vast swings in damages awarded over multiple court hearings.

The court of appeal reinstated the original $222,000 award in September after which the case headed to the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court the defense team argued that the $9,250 statutory damages award per shared song (24 in total) is unconstitutional. According to Thomas’ lawyers the damages are out of proportion and not in line with any harm the RIAA labels have suffered.