In that pocket of time between the demise of Napster and the rise of services like iTunes, Zune, and Spotify that made legally acquiring music super easy, the RIAA (or Recording Industry Association of America, the front of the music industry) was on the warpath. Using special techniques and the assistance of ISPs, the RIAA brought lawsuits against individuals caught downloading musically. The first to fight the RIAA’s proposed $3,500 settlement was Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who was told to pay up today when the Supreme Court declined to hear her case.
It’s hard to believe, but during this era of lawyering and legal fenagling, music was assumed to have a value of nearly infinity dollars. Joel Tenenbaum fought the man and wound up losing as well to the tune of $675,000. The RIAA isn’t suing anyone now, those dogs have been leashed since 2008, but that doesn’t help Thomas-Rasset who is now a lonely relic of darker times. At this point, I’m sure they’ll settle for considerably less considering the twenty-four tracks she downloaded probably isn’t even worth $24.