RIAA: Jammie Thomas snubbed our settlement 'overture'

Thomas-Rasset's lawyers told music industry she'll only discuss a deal that doesn't require her to pay or admit guilt.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

Jammie Thomas-Rasset's attorneys have rejected the music industry's "overture" at settling her case.

Just a couple days after Thomas-Rasset was found guilty of willful copyright infringement and ordered by a jury to pay $1.9 million, attorneys with the Recording Industry Association of America called to ask whether Thomas-Rasset was willing to discuss a settlement, a spokesman for the RIAA said Monday.

Jammie Thomas Jammie Thomas

Thomas-Rasset's lawyers responded that she wasn't interested in any deal that required her to pay any money or admit any guilt, according to the RIAA's spokesman. That was the same response the 32-year-old Minnesota woman gave after a jury decided against her in October 2007.

Contacted at his office on Monday evening, Joe Sibley, one of Thomas-Rasset's attorneys, told CNET News that he wasn't aware of any settlement talks but needed to ask his law partner.

On June 18, a Minneapolis federal court imposed damages against Thomas-Rasset of $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was ultimately found guilty of illegally sharing. This was a step backward for Thomas-Rasset, who was ordered to pay just $222,000 following her first trial. That decision was thrown out by the judge in the case, who acknowledged that he erred in instructing the jury prior to deliberations.

Throughout, the RIAA has said it is willing to settle and at one point was asking for just $5,000 from Thomas-Rasset. There is a chance that she could walk away from the nearly $2 million damage award by declaring bankruptcy, legal experts have said.

To do that, she would likely have to prevail at another trial in bankruptcy court. To convince a bankruptcy judge not to allow Thomas-Rasset to wipe out her debt, however, the RIAA would have to prove that she had malicious intent, or meant to cause harm, when she illegally shared files.

Some legal experts say proving malice is often difficult to do.