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Recording labels win first illegal file-sharing suit to go to trial

[JURIST] A federal jury awarded six recording companies $222,000 Thursday in Virgin v. Thomas [case materials], the first music file-sharing lawsuit to go to trial, ordering Jammie Thomas to pay for sharing 24 copyrighted songs on the Internet. The recording companies, including Sony BMG, Arista Records, Interscope Records, UMG Recordings, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. Records [corporate websites], originally alleged that Thomas had shared 1,702 songs on the Internet, but only sued her for $9,250 for each of 24 copyrighted songs. The recording companies added that Thomas downloaded the music illegally, and then provided them online through a Kazaa [corporate website] file-sharing account. Under US copyright law, the recording companies could have sued Thomas for $750 to $30,000 for each violation. Thomas has maintained that she never had a Kazaa account.

Record companies have filed over 26,000 lawsuits since 2003 over file-sharing [JURIST news archive], resulting in small settlements for most cases, including 8,000 cases filed against 17 defendants [JURIST report] worldwide last October. AP has more. Ars Technica has additional coverage.

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