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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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Say What?
By foolsgambit11 on 9/25/2008 3:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"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.




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