Jurors badly miscalculate MP3.com damages

So, girls really do suck at math....

Jurors inadvertently let MP3.com off the hook last week when they wrote down the wrong damages figure in a court case over copyright infringement.

On Friday the eight female jurors in a New York court, including one maths teacher, ordered the online music giant to pay around $300,000 to record label TVT (Tee Vee Toons). MP3.com was ecstatic, issuing a press release today crowing over victory. TVT had been asking for $8.5 million - and in the last year MP3.com has paid out around $130 million over copyright struggles with record companies.

But over the weekend red-faced jurors began informing US District Judge Jed Rakoff that they had messed up - they meant the total payout to be more in the $3 million area, Bloomberg reports. Many realised their mistake after reading about the case in the press.

"This matter is far from obvious in how it should be adjudicated," the judge said today.

It seems the problem could have been avoided with the help of a calculator. The jurors were asked to award damages regarding MP3.com posting online 145 CDs copyrighted to TVT. They had to decide how many copyrights the company had infringed, and how much it should pay. In court they announced their verdict in individual amounts, not as a grand total.

The judge told Bloomberg it was possible the jurors had decided on a total amount of damages, but divided it wrongly.

For example, two jurors left voicemail messages for a court clerk on Friday night saying that a $3,125 figure should have been $31,250.

No more details on the amount MP3.com will have to pay were not available - Rakoff summoned the jurors to a hearing this afternoon, but it was not open to the public. ®

Related Links

Bloomberg article
The MP3.com press release can be found here

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