A woman in Minnesota, USA has been ordered to pay $80,000 a song to record companies for illegally downloading tracks and violating copyright laws.
A federal jury ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset wilfully violated the copyrights on 24 songs, and awarded record companies $1.92 million. She was found liable for using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing network to download the songs over the Internet.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and big music labels have sued thousands of people for downloading and sharing music illegally, with most agreeing to settlements of between $3,000 and $5,000. Thomas-Rasset was the first among those being sued to refuse a settlement and instead took the case to court, turning her into the highest-profile digital pirate in America.