A judge in Minnesota has dramatically reduced a landmark fine against a woman convicted of sharing music illegally.
The judge ruled that the penalty levied on Jammie Thomas-Rasset should be reduced from $1.92m (£1.19m) to $54,000 (£33,000), the equivalent of $2,250 (£1,395) for each of the 24 songs she had downloaded.
"The need for deterrence cannot justify a $1.92m verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music," said Judge Michael Davis.
"Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages."
The ruling is the latest turn in what has become a landmark case for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the user rights groups which accuse the RIAA of using overly-harsh tactics on those who illegally share music.
The case first made news in 2007 as the first major RIAA prosecution to go to court rather than settle on a fine. After four years, the courts ruled in favour of the RIAA and ordered Thomas-Rasset to pay a $220,000 (£136,000) fine.
The ruling was appealed, and two years later things got worse for Thomas-Rasset when a jury upheld the decision and raised the fine to $80,000 (£49,000) per song, pushing the total to $1.92m.
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