The United States government has weighed in on the Jammie Thomas-Rasset v. Capitol Records file-sharing case, siding with the RIAA and the recording industry and asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny Thomas-Rasset the Writ of Certiorari she seeks. The case is the longest running file-sharing case to date, and the first to be heard by the Supreme Court (previously the Court refused to hear two cases related to file-sharing damages).
The latest battle is due to the Court of Appeals reinstating the original $222,000 award in September, overturning a U.S. District Court ruling that reduced the damages. After losing the case in the Appeals Court, Lawyers for Thomas-Rasset decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. Lawyers for Thomas-Rasset argue that the $9,250 statutory damages award per shared song (24 in total) is unconstitutional and that the damages are out of proportion and not in line with any harm the RIAA labels have suffered.
In an amicus brief filed by the Justice Department, the government sides with the RIAA and asks the Supreme Court to keep the current $220,000 verdict intact. The Administration believes that punishing damages are needed to deter others from engaging in online piracy.
"An award of statutory damages under the Copyright Act does not simply redress a private injury, but also serves to vindicate an important public interest," the brief reads.
"That public interest cannot be realized if the inherent difficulty of proving actual damages leaves the copyright holder without an effective remedy for infringement or precludes an effective means of deterring further copyright violations," it continues.
How much this will help or hurt that RIAA remains to be seen… You can read the government's brief on Wired.