Jamie Thomas just got clipped for $220,000 by the music industry for 24 songs out of the 1,702 she offered through file sharing site Kazaa. This now comes to over 26,000 people who have been sued for sharing copyrighted music over the Internet.  According to reports from AOL:

DULUTH, Minn. (Oct. 4) – Jammie Thomas makes $36,000 a year but says she is not looking for a handout to pay a $222,000 judgment after a jury decided she illegally shared music online. 

I’m not going to ask for financial help,” she told The Associated Press on Friday. But she added, “If it comes, I’m not going to turn it down, either.”

Record labels have sued more than 26,000 people they accuse of downloading and offering music for sharing online in violation of copyright laws. Many of those people have settled by paying the companies a few thousand dollars.

Thomas was the first person to fight back all the way to a trial. Six major record companies accused Thomas of offering 1,702 songs on the Kazaa file-sharing network. At trial, they focused on 24 songs and jurors decided Thursday that Thomas willfully violated the copyright on all 24. Their verdict was for damages of $9,250 per song, or $222,000.

The recording industry won two victories with that verdict.

Beyond the money, the industry added to a growing body of legal precedents holding that making copyright-protected songs available online, even without proof the songs went anywhere, infringes on the copyrights for the songs. 

Without getting into the legal issues of whether file sharing of copyrighted music is legal or not, there is one issue that can not be over looked. How many of us would share music files knowing you could be sued? Knowing that we are talking big bucks, not a parking violation fine?

With so much to risk, why do it?

Comments welcome.

[tags]music, file sharing, fine, award, [/tags]