Music File-sharer Hit With £100,000 Fine
A court in the United States has fined a Minnesota women over £100,000 for illegally file-sharing music.
Jammie Thomas, 32, has been ordered to pay $222,000 (£109,000) for offering 24 specific songs for online sharing.
In the first file-sharing lawsuit to go to trial, Ms Thomas was accused of illegally downloading the songs and offering them through the Kazaa file-sharing network.
While the majority of the 26,000 lawsuits filed against supposed file-sharers have been settled out of court, Ms Thomas has been told to pay the six record companies that sued her $9,250 for each of the specified songs.
However, Ms Thomas had illegally shared some 1,702 songs and could have faced a fined spiralling into the millions.
After the verdict, her lawyer, Brian Toder, told the Associated Press of her distress at judge's decision.
"This is a girl that lives from paycheque to paycheque, and now all of a sudden she could get a quarter of her paycheque garnished for the rest of her life," he said.
However, Richard Gabriel, lead attorney for the music labels involved, commented: "This does send a message, I hope, that downloading and distributing our recordings is not OK."
Despite thousands of lawsuits being filed since 2003, the number of US households using file-sharing software has risen from 6.9 million in 2003, to 7.8 million in March 2007, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.