[quote]In the first lawsuit over file sharing to make it to court, a jury ordered a woman who record labels claimed illegally shared songs to pay the labels $222,000.
The lawsuit, filed by the Recording Industry Association of America, the record label lobbying organization, accused Jammie Thomas of sharing more than 1,700 songs on the now defunct peer-to-peer file sharing network Kazaa. . .
Despite the win, according to Ray Beckerman, a partner at the law firm Vandenberg & Feliu and the brains behind the blog Recording Industry vs. the People, which chronicles the RIAA’s efforts, Thomas has grounds for an appeal.
According to reports, the judge instructed the jury that for Thomas to be found guilty, the RIAA needed to prove only that the files were made available on Kazaa, not that anyone copied them. Beckerman said that was a mistake.
“I think there’s one major error by the judge – the jury instructions. It flies in the face of 40 years of case law. … If she were to lose, she would have a great appeal,” he said. “Somehow they sold the judge. Just having the shared files is a copyright infringement.”
In his closing argument, Thomas’ lawyer Brian Toder argued that the labels never proved that Thomas physically shared the files.
“We don’t know what happened,” he reportedly said, according to The Associated Press. “All we know is that Jammie Thomas didn’t do this.”[/quote]
abcnews.go.com/Technology/story? … 170&page=1
Big win for RIAA; big loss for the defendant. I think she’s probably a liar. She probably did at least a large portion of the file sharing and is not some ignorant/innocent victim. And I don’t recall exactly what the relevant law says.
But I think the defense lawyer makes a good point. Seems wrong that one can be found guilty for just possessing the stuff on one’s computer, without proof that one is responsible for it getting there. I remember hearing that same argument when the Taiwan prosecutors raided a university dorm a few years ago, seized a bunch of computers from students and arrested them (in order to impress the US with their serious efforts to crack down on IP piracy). It was pointed out then that these kids were being arrested due to content on their computers (which they may have allowed others to use) without any proof that the defendants did anything illegal.
In today’s repressive climate of government’s and industry’s total supremacy over the now quaint notions of personal rights, civil liberties and due process, however, such an argument seems futile. File sharers beware.