Print 43 comment(s) - last by oTAL.. on Oct 3 at 8:41 AM

The RIAA loses another pivotal infringement case

Many music fans and supports of consumer rights were appalled when Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay $220,000 in restitution to RIAA for allegedly making copyrighted songs available on peer-to-peer network Kazaa.

The original verdict called for Thomas to pay the massive settlement amounting to $9,250 per song and she was said to have made a little more than 1,700 tracks available. RIAA attorney Richard Gabriels said outside the courthouse after the verdict was handed down, "This is what can happen if you don’t settle." In other words, if we tell you to pay, pay whether you did it or not.

This week, Gabriels isn’t quite singing the same tune he was in October of 2007. Judge Davis had previously announced that he was considering a retrial in the Thomas case in May of 2008. This week Davis threw out the jury verdict of $220,000 and declared a mistrial.

CNET News reports that Davis declared the mistrial on the grounds that he misguided the jury during the original trial. Davis told the jurors that simply making copyrighted songs available for sharing amounts to infringement.

That statement from Davis drew the ire of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other consumer groups who claimed the instructions to the jury were erroneous. Obviously, RIAA maintained that the instructions given by Judge Davis to the jury were valid.

RIAA attorney Timothy Reynolds said, "Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online--and would solely benefit those who seek to freeload off plaintiff's investment."

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Oh noes!
By JasonMick on 9/25/2008 12:23:51 PM , Rating: 5
Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online


You wouldn't have to have even a small burden of proof, would you now, I mean what with it making it so hard to charge grandma's and the computerless of downloading gangsta rap....

RE: Oh noes!
By DASQ on 9/25/2008 12:35:43 PM , Rating: 5
Wait... PROOF... in a court of law?!

Christ, I thought having the Judge wear pants was hard enough.

RE: Oh noes!
By rtrski on 9/25/2008 1:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you're referring to His Honor the Pump-wearer, he's no longer a judge. :)

RE: Oh noes!
By corduroygt on 9/25/2008 1:49:05 PM , Rating: 5
- What do you call a lawyer with an IQ below 50?
- Your Honor

RE: Oh noes!
By Darkefire on 9/25/2008 7:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the answer was "Mr. President".

RE: Oh noes!
By erikejw on 9/25/2008 8:57:03 PM , Rating: 3
Noway, that is a very ignorant statement of you you shameless republican.

Teh correct anser is:
- What do you call a lawyer with an IQ below 20?

RE: Oh noes!
By borismkv on 9/25/2008 11:00:19 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, I think that would be the question. I mean...That's what question marks typically turn sentences into, after all.

RE: Oh noes!
By Quiescent on 9/26/2008 11:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Jeopardy, my dear.

RE: Oh noes!
By rubbahbandman on 9/26/2008 9:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't you heard? 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

RE: Oh noes!
By Bainne on 9/25/2008 12:37:58 PM , Rating: 3
No kidding!
Heaven forbid a conviction actually relies on proof that an infraction happened, rather than just the possibility that it did. The potential for a "crime" to take place should be enough to convict anyone, right?

.... Ya, or not

RE: Oh noes!
By FITCamaro on 9/25/2008 1:27:07 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry. This is the police. You potentially ran someone over on your drive to work today. You're under arrest for vehicular manslaughter.

RE: Oh noes!
By Sulphademus on 9/25/2008 3:25:21 PM , Rating: 3
I own a machette. Think I should turn myself in for Potential-Assault-With-A-Deadly-Weapon?

RE: Oh noes!
By someguy123 on 9/25/2008 9:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that you even think you have the capacity to assault someone with that machete is proof enough. I'm sure you welcome people to your home now and again, so you're also guilty of sharing this deadly weapon with your friends and relatives.

RE: Oh noes!
By AlexWade on 9/25/2008 4:55:41 PM , Rating: 5
Sounds like a good idea for a Steven Spielberg movie. We can get Tom Cruise to play the policeman hunting down these potential crimes.

RE: Oh noes!
By feraltoad on 9/29/2008 3:29:25 AM , Rating: 2
Don't taze me, Bro!!!

Just goes to show
By FITCamaro on 9/25/2008 1:28:21 PM , Rating: 3
Unattractive women can get off in a trial. We all thought it was just the hot teachers who slept with their students who got off. :)


RE: Just goes to show
By Master Kenobi on 9/25/2008 1:49:03 PM , Rating: 5
Oh they got off alright. *ducks*

RE: Just goes to show
By PitViper007 on 9/25/2008 2:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, that was really bad Kenobi....but I'd +1 ya...

RE: Just goes to show
By Master Kenobi on 9/25/2008 2:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, it was pretty off-color, a moment of weakness on my part.

RE: Just goes to show
By DASQ on 9/25/2008 3:35:43 PM , Rating: 4
You were just saying what everyone else was thinking.

RE: Just goes to show
By sxr7171 on 9/29/2008 5:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well, keep having those moments.

RE: Just goes to show
By FITCamaro on 9/25/2008 2:16:37 PM , Rating: 5
So did the teenagers.

RE: Just goes to show
By Sulphademus on 9/25/2008 3:27:06 PM , Rating: 2
My elementary school music teacher... well, I think Van Halen summed it up nicely!

RE: Just goes to show
By Mitch101 on 9/25/2008 5:50:01 PM , Rating: 3
I can tell you didn't go to school in Florida otherwise she might have let you touch it.

RE: Just goes to show
By oTAL on 10/3/2008 8:41:42 AM , Rating: 2
Excellent decision
By the goat on 9/25/2008 12:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
It is ridiculous to equate "shared folder = shared." just because something is possible doesn't mean it actually happened.

Take the sony betamax case for example. The movie studios said the VCR gave people the possibility to steal copywrited works. Therefor owning a VCR means you did (or will) make illegal copies.

P2P sharing is the same. Just because somebody has the opportunity to copy music doesn't mean they did (or will).

Of coarse this is only a mistrial. The RIAA will have to take her back to court just so they don't look weak. She will most likely settle this time.

RE: Excellent decision
By FITCamaro on 9/25/2008 2:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hell Windows has a built in Shared Folder. Is me putting stuff in that sharing it with the world. Because you know if they manage to clone a mac address on my allowed list, and hack the encryption on my wireless network, its open to the world.

RE: Excellent decision
By DASQ on 9/25/2008 3:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
Just like many firearms laws...

You own a gun. Clearly you must be shooting people.

By foxtrot9 on 9/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Beenthere on 9/25/08, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By ThisSpaceForRent on 9/25/2008 4:52:17 PM , Rating: 5
Yar, ye be all upset 'cause pirates is a plundering yer booty?

RE: Good
By amanojaku on 9/26/2008 12:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yar, ye be all upset 'cause pirates is a plundering yer booty?
She says "yes."

By fezzik1620 on 9/25/2008 12:21:42 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Huzzah!
By Ananke on 9/25/2008 7:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
If such kind of verdict happens, when a possibility of doing something equals the effects, then we can all sue Hollywood for ability to sell our personal life, without paying roylties. Why not? They have cameras and video equipment, it is very possible to be able to make a movie one day about me, and sell it for their profit. However, I want my share of that imaginary but certain profit NOW :):):). Let's see...6 billion posibble spectators, some of them may watch twice, average ticket price of 15 bucks, that makes roughly 10 bln from each movie studio. And I also sing sometimes, and now I am very certain RIAA members are selling my karaokes...that's another several billion dollars. Honestly, this is very good idea, I am going to discuss it with a lawer.

remember the good old days...
By eyebeeemmpawn on 9/25/2008 1:49:01 PM , Rating: 3
when your rights ended where someone else's begin?

Say What?
By foolsgambit11 on 9/25/2008 3:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
"Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online--and would solely benefit those who seek to freeload off plaintiff's investment."
In other news, people are guilty until proven innocent because requiring proof of actual crimes would cripple efforts to enforce the law -- and would solely benefit criminals.

Oh. God.

I understand that burdens of proof are different in civil cases than criminal ones, but still, you'd think you'd have to have proof of file sharing to receive damages for file sharing.

I heard an interesting fact on NPR the other day. Did you know juries can find you innocent if they don't agree with the law, even if you are technically guilty? It's called 'jury nullification'. Tell your friends. Judges aren't required to inform the jury of this right, but it has been upheld as a valid right in appeals courts. Let the jury know next time you're on jury duty. Bring it up tangentially in only vaguely related forums (like this). Let people know about their civic rights and responsibilities.

Minority Report
By wisfal on 9/26/2008 4:04:31 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of Tom Cruise. Kinda sounds like Minority Report...getting arrested for not even committing the crime yet.

Good news
By RMSe17 on 9/26/2008 2:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
If the judge's words about the provision of files equating piracy would have become a precedent, then the resulting description would be very dangerous. What about a computer which is not patched to the latest updates, and gets some sort of a spyware or virus which shares the C:\ ? The user is not even aware that the computer is sharing his music collection in addition to all his documents, but given the wording of the judge, he could be guilty of piracy. Ridiculous.

Be careful what you ask for
By Beenthere on 9/25/08, Rating: -1
RE: Be careful what you ask for
By Bladen on 9/25/2008 7:55:07 PM , Rating: 4
Dude, there are various crimes in various western jurisdictions that cause genuine and actual harm (physical and/or mental/emotional) to people that have no-where near those sorts of punishments.

Next you'll be saying that we should hang jay-walkers in the streets.

RE: Be careful what you ask for
By SavagePotato on 9/26/2008 10:49:14 AM , Rating: 2
Couple teenagers here recently pulled a B&E on the neighbors, fucked up their place pretty good, and put their cat in the microwave watching it scream itself to death.

They got 100 hours community service because they were only 17 years old.

I dare say I would think that the file sharing lady is a little bit less deserving of jail time than these two but go figure.

Child molesters get what on average? suspended sentences or at most maybe a year or two they will actually serve half of. Priorities are really in order if we need to start jailing people for file sharing.

Just out of curiosity where are you going to house 90% of America's college and university students as they serve their jailtime?

By contractcooker on 9/26/2008 1:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO. Exactly. It's the sheer massiveness of filesharing that's the problem. I don't even know why they bother trying to stop it. It's SO INCREDIBLY INEVITABLE AND IT'S ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO HAPPEN TO THE WORLD. God forbid that everyone have access to information. Now people should be paid for their work but what we're seeing here is that the current model JUST DOESN'T WORK. They have to come up with something new because there is no way in hell that they will be able to stop the masses from file-sharing.

RE: Be careful what you ask for
By myhipsi on 9/29/2008 9:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, because of corporate lobbyists and the blurred line between corporation and government, most of the laws enacted these days are there to protect corporations, not individuals. So it makes sense that penalties for crimes against corporations are more severe than crimes against people. When people decide to take their government back, the punishment will again fit the crime.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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