RIAA responds to City Pages cover story

Jammie Thomas-Rasset is no download martyr, recording industry argues

We recently saw Nick Pinto's piece on the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case ("The Download Martyr," 2/16) in your paper. It's unfortunate we have to settle for writing a response when we would have certainly loved the opportunity to speak to Nick about this case.

While we appreciate that Nick tried to portray our side perhaps using other accounts and even our critics' sentiments, since we didn't receive a call regarding this story (although we did assist him with a different request), it's seemingly apparent there was little interest in getting the full story. That there's no doubt Jammie Thomas-Rasset lied to us under oath several times. Or that one of her former boyfriends testified against her in the first trial, saying he had clearly seen her use her computer to download music, even when she was denying it outright. Or that when she initially called our settlement center and proclaimed that we'd never find anything, it's because she knew she had recently replaced her hard drive. Or that her own expert witness that she hired testified against her, saying she had lied to him about providing the correct hard drive. Or that perhaps if she had even mentioned to us the possibility of the downloader being one of her kids or boyfriend years ago when we first reached out to her about this case, that we might not have had to be here in the first place. Or that the $25,000 settlement we offered her after the second trial would have gone to charity and not, as she says, to "these labels." We would have happily explained all this if given the chance.

Any insinuation that we stopped filing new lawsuits in 2008 because of her case is flat-out wrong. It had nothing to do with her. It was about finding a more effective approach to alert and educate individuals about their illegal behavior through working with ISPs and sending notices to their subscribers (an approach, I might add, that might not have worked on Thomas-Rasset since she was alerted twice via instant messages about her illegal activity but chose to ignore them and continue, thus resulting in the lawsuit). If there ever was a case that would have changed our minds about our lawsuit campaign, it certainly would not have been hers, given the overwhelming evidence and her blatant disrespect for artists, the legal system, and the law.

For what it's worth, I'm the "spokesman" mentioned in the article who was on hand after the second trial that proffered how we've been willing to settle since day one. That wasn't simply lip service. We've offered to settle for far, far less than what each jury has rendered against her (not to mention when this case started it was less than $5,000). She has repeatedly stated she won't pay us a penny. What has been confirmed time and time again is that Jammie Thomas-Rasset is an egregious illegal downloader who downloaded more than 1,700 songs and shared them with millions of anonymous strangers on p2p service Kazaa, hoping not to get caught. She then lied about it, took to the press to proclaim the unfairness of the judicial system against those who egregiously break the law, implicated her children and boyfriend long after it was legally appropriate to do so, and is now saddled with another large judgment against her. After the third trial, online news site CNET did a wrap-up of the case and concluded the following:

After four years of legal maneuvering and three separate trials, the evidence suggests that Thomas-Rasset's case was the wrong one to challenge the nation's copyright laws.

It took three juries of her own peers to conclude that Thomas-Rasset was lying.

I was in the courtroom when Thomas-Rasset outright laughed at the jury's latest judgment against her and smiled her way out of the courtroom. While we understand the pro bono agreement she has with her attorneys has allowed her the ability to draw this case out as long as possible, it's quite clear she doesn't take this case seriously. Along with artists, producers, engineers, back-up singers, songwriters, and many others within the music community that are profoundly impacted by the kind of music theft Thomas-Rasset willfully engaged in, we take this case very seriously. And with the large judgments three separate juries of her own peers have now handed down against her, it's quite clear they do too.

Cara Duckworth Weiblinger
vice president, Communications Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Washington, D.C.

 
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15 comments
Robdusa
Robdusa

Stupid. Why is the RIAA concerned about such petty cases. Let me tell you something about stealing things from the perspective of normal young people - they don't give a sh*t about intellectual property. Once you make a recording and distribute it, it WILL BE COPIED AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! Remember blank cassette tapes, for Christ's sake? Artists shouldn't be represented by corporate bean counters and special interest groups like the RIAA. They should earn their money by working hard, like everyone else. It's called touring. Selling music will never again benefit the artist. Just the way it is.

Johnson
Johnson

Corporate Arrogance: The bp station on the NW corner of Ford Pkwy & Kenneth in Highland Village, St. Paul.

The ramp leading to the 2 doors, in effect a "handicap ramp," from zero grade on the right to higher than curb height in front of the door on the left (the exit door) is blocked in the middle by 2 pallets of 'sidewalk and water softener product,' as high as 3-1/2 feet.

After you go thru the entrance door on the right, you cannot exit by that door, and the employees claim to not have a key for the door.

I guess someone in a wheelchair is supposed to wait by the entrance door in the event that someone will eventually open it. If an emergency occurs in the store, and no one shows up, and the employee is incapacitated, I guess that customer just stays there. To say nothing of the elderly or people with bad knees, etc. who cannot negotiate that high curb.

- A photo of this might be interesting.

- You may have a story trying to get any government agency to claim ownership of this and similar situations.

- It's difficult to believe that all winter no one has complained to the proper agency, whatever that agency is. Perhaps no one wants to take on bp.

Sophia Green
Sophia Green

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Another Poor Musician
Another Poor Musician

Thank you to the RIAA representative who wrote this. It's a well thought out mature response to an article that was obviously written for the sole purpose of manipulating people. Great job!

Music Consumer
Music Consumer

Attention RIAA, the harder you try to squeeze music consumers in your fist, the more of them will slip through your fingers. Have you considered suing people who whistle songs in public without appropriate permission from the recording industry?

Isaac Anthony
Isaac Anthony

RIAA is little better than the mafia. Only because they have the law that they had their lawyers draft and congress approve has Jammie done anything wrong. The idea that sharing bits of information is illegal just blows my mind. Study after study indicates that .torrents are one of the best advertising tools for any digital arts (if the study isn't commissioned by the RIAA of course). We should be able to sue the record labels for stealing $20 from us to buy a disc worth 5c for an album with ONE good song on it. The music industry deserves to choke on it's own garbage.

Guest
Guest

"or...years ago when we first reached out to her about this case."

ROTFLMAO! The idiot (Cara Duckworth Weiblinger - is that a real name?) who wrote this believes her own spin on events. I love that the RIAA calls it "reaching out to" someone, like they are helping her, when then send her letters advising her she's going to be sued, or how many thousands of dollars she has to pay to avoid being sued. I hope Cara Duckworth Weiblinger finds the RIAA "reaching out to her" one day. What a maroon [spelling intentional]..

Flacomadre
Flacomadre

Obviously she DOES have high respect for the law, has she ever been convicted of a crime??? No! Why laugh at a judgement??? Hmm, could it be because you guys admitted you don't expect nor want to see a penny from her or I dunno, that perhaps it's because the previous judgement was slashed because it was outrageous and maybe she knew it would HAVE to go back to court again??? If YOU want to look good, show you are sympathetic to consumers and quit bullying, drop the suit, quit trying to extort innocent people, use your money more wisely and quit crying like babies to the press just because you CAN'T accept YOUR responsibility. Try to get the laws fixed perhaps, sue those who setup/run the illegal p2p sites, that kind of stuff and MAYBE take what Canada does and work towards that. Ya sound like my 3 year old whining lol

RIAA Is Worse Than The Mob
RIAA Is Worse Than The Mob

WOW the RIAA is full of themselves, throwing a TON of here-say into their response and TRYING to save face. You DID quit suing people because you realized how much it would cost if more people stood up to your extortion attempts (except the 12 year old girls and dead people you would have sued if you had any rhyme or reason to your suits). It's okay, you can admit that you screwed up royally on this one, and the best thing you could do to save face is 1) tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and 2) accept that the laws surrounding this case are flawed and drop all suits to use the money and time you wasted for better things.

Pulease
Pulease

Poor little musician troll having to work for the RIAA. Tell me, how much do you get paid for your trolling as I'm very certain you don't do it out of the goodness of your heart?

Gabe
Gabe

Who set you up as God, determining the price of an item for sale? So it's ok to steal a book from the local bookstore because, after all, the paper it's printed on only cost the publisher 50 cents? If you're not willing to pay the requested price, then don't buy it. Simple as that. But to steal something, then make copies of it for your thousands of friends (hmmm...if it's not worth so much, why are 1,000s of people downloading and listening to it?) is completely indefensible. Not to mention you're also stealing from the songwriters and musicians on the sessions (I suppose they are all to work for free under your economic model?).

Another Poor Musician
Another Poor Musician

Have you ever taken the time to learn about why Copyright was created in the first place? If you haven't, then you have no right to make comments like this.

Another Poor Musician
Another Poor Musician

I don't. But don't let me stop you from burning your straw man. After all, you put so much imagination into building it.

Pulease
Pulease

You want to discuss straw men, here you go, the Ultimate Straw Man!!! First, it's not theft, it's COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Until you learn that, then there is no debating anything with you. But of course it sounds so much worse if you call it stealing, then you can cry about all the little thieves "stealing from the songwriters and musicians". Did you know, the average musician or artist only makes $.04 to $.06 cents per song off digital sales, yet the songs retail around $.99 to $1.29? What is that percentage for the artists, roughly 4%? Yeah, seems the record labels are doing the stealing and blaming the fans for the lost revenues and you're buying it hook, line and sinker.

 
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