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Woman asks file-sharing conviction be overturned

Minnesota woman seeks relief

MINNEAPOLIS — A woman facing a $222,000 music-sharing verdict asked a judge on Monday to overturn it.

Jurors in a case that six record companies brought against Jammie Thomas found she violated the companies’ copyrights by offering 24 songs over the Kazaa file-sharing network. They ordered Thomas, a mother of two who makes $36,000 a year, to pay the companies $222,000.

Thomas’ attorney, Brian Toder, did not argue in a motion filed Monday on Thomas’ behalf that she hadn’t violated the copyrights. But he said that, because the songs could have been purchased online for about $24, the $222,000 verdict is disproportionate and amounts to punitive damages.

Toder asked for a new trial to determine damages or for a finding that the $222,000 verdict is unconstitutional.

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Copyright law allows damages of $750 to $150,000 per song; the jury awarded the record companies $9,250 per song. Toder argued they suffered actual damages of less than $151.20 in all.

About 26,000 similar lawsuits have been filed by music companies against individuals. They have been coordinated by the Recording Industry Association of America, which issued a statement Monday.

"We seek to resolve this case in a fair and reasonable manner," the industry group said. "It is unfortunate that the defendant continues to avoid responsibility for her actions. We will continue to defend our rights."

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