In the first music file-sharing copyright infringement case to go to trial, a federal jury in Minnesota has ordered a woman to pay record companies $222,000 after finding that she illegally shared copyrighted music online through a file-sharing service.
The jury in Duluth, Minn., on Thursday ordered Jammie Thomas to pay six major labels $9,250 for each of 24 songs she was found to have shared online in 2004 through an account with the Kazaa file-sharing service.
Thomas’ attorneys denied the allegations, saying that Thomas had replaced her computer hard-drive before the file-sharing was alleged to have occurred. Labels involved in the suit were Sony BMG, Arista, Interscope, Universal Music Group, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. Records.
The music majors have filed more than 25,000 lawsuits against individuals during the past few years as part of a campaign to combat online distribution of copyrighted materials and raise public awareness of copyright laws.
“The law here is clear, as are the consequences for breaking it,” the Recording Industry Assn. of America said in a statement in response to the verdict. “As with all our cases, we seek to resolve them quickly in a fair and reasonable manner.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)