Twelve jurors here said the Minnesota woman must pay $9,250 for each of 24 shared songs that were the subject of the lawsuit, amounting to $222,000 in penalties.
They could have dinged her for up to $3.6 million in damages, or awarded as little as $18,000. She was found liable for infringing songs from bands such as Journey, Green Day, Aerosmith and others.
There were about 3.8 million file sharers trading over the internet at a given moment. Now, the group has measured a record 9 million users trading at the same time. Roughly 70 percent of trading involves digital music,
RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) which has brought more than 20,000 lawsuits in the last four years as part of its zero-tolerance policy against pirating. The outcome is likely to embolden the RIAA, which began targeting individuals in lawsuits after concluding the legal system could not keep pace with the ever growing number of file-sharing sites and services.
RIAA's courtroom victory will translate into a financial windfall or stop piracy, which the industry claims costs it billions in lost sales. Despite the thousands of lawsuits -- the majority of them settling while others have been dismissed or are pending -- the RIAA's litigation war on internet piracy has neither dented illegal, peer-to-peer file sharing or put much fear in the hearts of music swappers.
Thomas, 30, maintained that she was not the Kazaa user "Tereastarr," whose files were detected by RIAA's investigators. Her attorney speculated to jurors that she could have been the victim of a spoof, cracker, zombie, drone and other attacks.
The jury found her liable after receiving evidence her internet protocol address and cable modem identifier were used to share some 1,700 files. The hard drive linked to Kazaa on Feb. 21, 2005 -- the evening in question -- did not become evidence in the case.
According to testimony, Thomas replaced her hard drive weeks after RIAA investigators accessed her share file and discovered 1,702 files. The industry sued on just 24 of those files.