A $1,920,000 jury award of copyright damages against a “noncommercial individual” for distributing 24 copyrighted songs on a file-sharing network is a “gross injustice” that warrants remitting the verdict to three times the minimum statutory damages of $750 per song, or $2,250 per song ($54,000), a district court ruled. The court found that an award of three times the minimum statutory damages figure per work was justified in light of the defendant's willful conduct and was consistent with the practice of trebling damages under other statutory damages schemes, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other federal laws. The resulting $54,000 damages amount is “significant and harsh,” the court concluded, and reflects the “maximum amount a jury could reasonably award to both compensate Plaintiffs and address the deterrence aspect of the Copyright Act.”

Capitol Records Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5049 (D. Minn. Jan. 22, 2010) Download PDF

Editor's Note: The verdict that was remitted by the court was delivered in the second trial in this case. After the second trial and following negotiations between the parties that reportedly included an offer on the part of the plaintiffs to accept $25,000 in damages, and a refusal of that offer by the defendant, the court’s remittitur was refused. The court then announced that a third trial, on the issue of damages only, would be scheduled.