Jammie Thomas-Rasset, twice convicted of copyright infringement in highly-publicized file-sharing cases, will reject record labels' settlement offer of a $50,000 donation to a musician-related charity, according to reports on Wednesday.
On the heels of a January 22 court's order reducing the amount of the second jury's award to $2,250 per song from $80,000 per song, the RIAA offered to settle with Thomas-Rasset for a $25,000 donation for "an appropriate charity benefiting musicians" and an annulment of the recent court order. Thomas-Rasset quickly rejected the offer.
In an email to Ben Sheffner of the Copyrights & Campaigns blog, Thomas-Rasset's lawyer was clear his client has no intention of paying the RIAA. He wrote to Sheffner:
[A]s our response makes clear, Jammie is standing on principle here, and will not accede to payment demands that the RIAA is making thru an unconstitutional statutory scheme (that they lobbied for the creation of) and we will ride this train to its appellate end no matter how many future remittiturs are rejected.
The judge's order gives the labels the option to reject the reduced award and opt for a third trial (Thomas-Rasset was found guilty in the first two, but the first decision was thrown out.) The RIAA told Sheffner the labels will reject the reduced and "will begin preparing for a new trial."
Thomas-Rasset's lawyer told CNET's Threat Level blog the labels' insistence on going to court again proves their point. "They want to use this case as a bogeyman to scare people into doing what they want, to pay exorbitant damages," he said.
As CNET's Greg Sandoval explains, the RIAA preferred to settle but may not mind going back into court.
My sources in the music sector predicted last week that the RIAA would try to settle... RIAA managers believe they have achieved whatever deterrent value the case can provide, the sources said. But the RIAA likely won't lose much sleep over Thomas-Rasset's rejection of the settlement offer. They are just as happy to try and reverse a couple decisions made by Davis during the case. Davis reduced a damages award that was well within the range for statutory damages set by Congress. According to legal experts, no judge has done this in a copyright case and the RIAA may have had a good case for appeal, said lawyers.