Would you pay $80,000 for "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You"? Thirty-two-year-old Minnesota mom Jammie Thomas-Rasset might have to, now that she's been found guilty of copyright infringement for illegally downloading 24 songs. The damages: $1.92 million, about 80,000 bucks per song, to the aggrieved record companies.
The closely watched case is a watershed because it's the first to apply copyright-law standards to illegal downloaders. "The record industry wants to use this case to scare people into settling," says Thomas-Rasset's attorney, Joseph Sibley, who has asked a federal court for a new trial. The industry has sued more than 26,000 people since 2003 for illegal downloading, most of whom have settled for around $3000 apiece...arguably a small price to pay for keeping your love of Hootie & The Blowfish a secret.