After four days of trial, and a few hours of deliberations, the AP reports:
A federal jury ruled Thursday that Jammie Thomas-Rasset willfully violated the copyrights on 24 songs, and awarded recording companies $1.92 million, or $80,000 per song.
Thomas-Rasset’s second trial actually turned out worse for her. When a different federal jury heard her case in 2007, it hit Thomas-Rasset with a $222,000 judgment.
Under our absurd (and possibly unconstitutional) copyright laws, the award per violation can range from $750 to $150,000, and the jury here roughly split the difference at $80,000 per song, about the same amount as a Manhatten jury will give you for losing the end of your pinky. The jury must have felt these particular duplicate copies of the songs were very dear to the poor record companies.
Why would twelve ordinary citizens do that?
A vigorous defense from Kiwi Camara and Joe Sibley was not enough to sway the jury, which had only to find that a preponderance of the evidence pointed to Thomas-Rasset. The evidence clearly pointed to her machine, even correctly identifying the MAC address of both her cable modem and her computer’s Ethernet port. When combined with the facts about her hard drive replacement (and her failure to disclose those facts to the investigators), her "tereastarr" username, and the new theories that she offered yesterday for the first time in more than three years, jurors clearly remained unconvinced by her protestations of innocence.
Camara suspects that the jury thought Thomas-Rasset was a liar and were "angry about it," thus leading to the $80,000 per-song damages.
And there you go. Camara has it right; pity he couldn’t get his client to stop lying at trial.
For comparison, not too long ago a jury awarded just $1 million in pain and suffering to this man:
After 63 days in the hospital (57 of them in a coma), 11 surgeries and 65 more days in a rehabilitation hospital, Robert Doviak was left totally and permanently blind, with a sense of touch that was seriously compromised, partial loss of hearing and no sense of smell or taste. Additionally, he had substantial orthopedic injuries including fractures of his left femur, several cervical vertebrae, both zygomatic arches and other bones in and about his face and eyes, his left hand and his right wrist.
[D]uring summation, Doviak’s attorney asked the jury to award Doviak $60,000,000 for pain and suffering, an amount Doviak’s new attorneys say is preposterous and evidence of awful advocacy and which defense counsel says revealed the greed that served as the foundation of plaintiff’s case[.]
Credibility matters. Who you are, what you do, and what you say matters. Don’t treat the jury like they’re stupid; don’t try to get anything by them, and don’t ask them to do or to believe something ridiculous. It will never work. If your case has a problem, concede it, deal with it, and move on.
And above all, never lie to the jury.