Friday, June 18, 2010

Court appoints mediator to facilitate settlement in Jammie Thomas-Rasset case

In the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case, Judge Michael Davis has appointed a special master to help facilitate settlement. The special master is Jonathan Lebedoff, who stepped down as Chief Magistrate Judge of the District of Minnesota in 2005. It's unclear from the order whether Judge Davis took this step sua sponte or at the urging of the parties; I have inquiries in to the attorneys and will update if I hear back.
Order appointing special master in Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset

As of now, a third trial, which will consider only the issue of damages, is set for October 4. At the second trial, held last summer, the jury awarded the record labels $80,000 per work infringed, but the court later remitted the award down to $2,250 per work. In January of this year, the labels offered to settle the case for $25,000, to be donated to a music charity, but Thomas-Rasset declined the offer; her attorney said, "Jammie will not accept anything offer that requires her to pay money to or on behalf of the Plaintiffs."

Update: I've learned that the court appointed the special master on its own, not at the request of the parties. Also, Thomas-Rasset appears to have backed down from her position that she "would...rule out any settlement asking her to pay damages." Thomas-Rasset attorney Joe Sibley told Wired that his client "might agree to settle for the statutory minimum $750 a track," which would work out to a total of $18,000 for the 24 songs at issue. But he was considerably less confident of a settlement when he spoke with CNET:
"I'm not optimistic," Sibley told CNET. "I think that the case has been analyzed enough by the record industry and they know what they will accept. If they didn't want to accept the judgment on [the reduced damages award], I don't think there is anything we would have to offer them that they would accept now."
Lebedoff certainly has his work cut out for him.


  1. Damages should be 99 cents multiplied by the number of times plaintiff can prove the works were downloaded by real users, not RIAA hackers. In other words, zero.

  2. Next trial is on Oct 4? I feel like part of history! People are saying that file sharing now is like Betamax in 1984 (Whoa. Orwell.). In the future, information will be communicated telepathically, and then they'll say, "You know, during our grandparents' time, file sharing was evil?"


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.