The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won the first of many digital music file sharing cases Thursday against a single mother, with a U.S. jury finding her guilty of copyright infringement and fining her a total of $222,000.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota could have fined Jammie Thomas as much as $3.6 million, but opted not to. She was found guilty of stealing and giving away via Internet peer-to-peer Internet file sharing Kazaa a total of 24 songs from companies including Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Records.
Thomas, a Native American, has two children.
The guilty verdict in its first ever such case is a sign the RIAA may come out victorious on more of the over 20,000 lawsuits it has filed against people in its bid to stop Internet copyright infringement. The industry association has spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns against Internet piracy and has a zero-tolerance policy against the practice.
People have been able to share music, movies, television programs, and other Internet files for years with peer-to-peer Internet sites and software. Some sites remain open, but many have been shut down by industry lawsuits and work to create laws in countries throughout the world. Companies and industry associations say they are loosing billions of dollars a year through Internet and optical disc piracy.