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  • Jury awards damages to plaintiffs in the amount of $62,500 for each of 24 songs for a total amount of $1.5 million in copyright infringement action brought by record companies.

For the third time, a jury has awarded plaintiffs Capitol Records Inc. and five other record companies substantial damages after finding that defendant Jammie Thomas-Rasset willfully infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights by downloading 24 songs using the Kazaa peer-to-peer network.

In October 2007, the jury awarded plaintiffs statutory damages in the amount of $9,250 for each song for a total of $222,000. The court vacated the verdict and granted a new trial after concluding that it erred in instructing the jury that making sound recordings available for distribution on a peer-to-peer network, regardless of whether actual distribution was shown, qualified as distribution under the Copyright Act. In June 2009, the jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant had willfully infringed all 24 sound recordings and, this time, awarded statutory damages in the amount of $80,000 per song, for a total verdict of nearly $2 million.

However, in January 2010, the court granted defendant’s motion for remittitur and ruled that the jury’s statutory damage award was “shocking and unjust.” The court offered the plaintiffs the option of accepting a reduced damage award of $54,000, or opting for a new trial on damages. The plaintiffs rejected the reduced damage award and, instead, asked for a new trial on damages. On November 4, the jury returned a verdict awarding statutory damages in the amount of $62,500 for each of 24 songs for a total amount of $1.5 million.