US court reimposes $220,000 music piracy fine

Kazaa screenshot Ms Thomas-Rasset denied having heard of the file-sharing service Kazaa before the case

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A US court has reimposed a $220,000 (£137,930) fine on a woman accused of sharing music over the internet.

The case dates back to 2005, when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) first accused Jammie Thomas-Rasset of illegally sharing songs on the now defunct service Kazaa.

Various appeals have seen the penalty swing between $54,000 and $1.9m.

Ms Thomas-Rasset's lawyer said he planned to appeal again in order to take the case to the Supreme Court.

It is the second time in a month that the US courts have upheld fines imposed in a file-sharing copyright infringement case.

Joel Tenenbaum was told to pay $675,000 for downloading and distributing 31 songs in 2007.

Damages and denials

The RIAA said it had found more than 1,700 music files on Ms Thomas-Rasset's Kazaa account, although this was reduced to 24 titles in the lawsuit.

It said MediaSentry - a company acting on its behalf - had sent her two messages warning her that her activity was a potential infringement of copyright but she never responded.

Eventually the RIAA contacted the accused by writing her a letter, but failed to agree a fine.

The case then went to court, where Ms Thomas-Rasset denied using Kazaa, but acknowledged that she had regularly used the "tereastarr" username associated with the offending Kazaa account elsewhere on the net.

She also conceded she had written a case study at college discussing Napster, another service shut down because of illegal activity.

The jury found Ms Thomas-Rasset guilty, but she has repeatedly challenged the size of the fine imposed by the court and in subsequent appeals, saying their scale violated her legal rights.

However, the judge in the latest case said that a $9,250 fine per song was "not so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportionate to the offence and obviously unreasonable".

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