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Downloader fined almost $2 million

A 32-year-old woman has been ordered to pay a staggering $US1.

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92 million ($A2.4 million) fine for illegally downloading 24 songs by a US court.

A jury found that Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a mother of four from the state of Minnesota, is liable for using an internet program called Kazaa to download the songs from a peer-to-peer file sharing network.

Jurors took just under five hours to reach yesterday’s verdict.

The court has ordered Ms Thomas-Rasset to pay about $US80,000 ($A100,000) per song to six record companies: Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music, Arista Records, Interscope Records, Warner Bros. Records and UMG Recordings.

Previous conviction

Thomas-Rasset had been convicted previously, in October 2007, and ordered to pay $US220,000 ($A275,000) in damages but the judge who presided over that trial threw out the verdict calling it “wholly disproportionate” and “oppressive.”

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and major music labels have brought suit against thousands of people for illegally downloading and sharing music, with most agreeing to settlements of between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars.

Thomas-Rasset was the first among those being sued to refuse a settlement and instead took the case to court.

In December, the RIAA said it will stop suing people who download music illegally and focus instead on getting internet Service Providers to take action.

The move away from litigation represented a major shift in strategy for the music industry group, which had filed lawsuits against some 35,000 people for online music piracy since 2003.

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