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RIAA Counsel Richard Gabriel Addresses The Court  (Source: Wired Threat Level)

The Jury Found Jammie Thomas Guilty and Awarded $222,000 in Damages  (Source: Wired Threat Level)
The RIAA adds a notch to its belt of legal victories

“This is what can happen if you don’t settle,” said RIAA attorney Richard Gabriels, speaking to reporters just outside the Duluth, Minnesota Courthouse, minutes after Jammie Thomas was found liable for copyright infringement to the tune of $222,000.
 
Thomas, a single mom with two kids, left the courthouse without comment and did not speak with reporters.
 
Under the username “Tereastarr,” Thomas was found sharing just over 1,700 files via the Kazaa network on February 21, 2005. Of those 1,700 tracks, 24 were named – including music from popular artists such as AFI, Green Day, and Aerosmith – and for each one she was held liable for $9,250 worth of damages, coming to a grand total of $222,000.
 
Brian Toder, Thomas’ defense attorney, maintained that there existed no proof that Thomas was the person behind the keyboard, noting that Thomas or her computer may have been the victim of zombie botnet, spoofing attacks, or malicious crackers. “All we know is that Jammie Thomas didn’t do it,” said Toder, adding that Thomas was “not the person marauding as Tereastarr.”
 
This defense did not appear to hold up as it was found that Thomas used “Tereastarr” all around the internet, including online shopping, chat services, e-mail, and even dating services. The offending songs were linked to her cable modem’s MAC address, as well as her home IP address.
 
Gabriels called Thomas’ defense “misdirection, red herrings, and smoke and mirrors.”
 
Complicating Thomas’ defense was testimony from an ex-boyfriend saying while he had never seen her actively downloading music, she did have her hard drive replaced a month after her computer was picked up in the RIAA’s dragnets. Toder said that this was due to hard drive problems – something Thomas’ ex-boyfriend remembered her complaining about beforehand – but the RIAA argued that she had it changed to cover her tracks.
 
Forensic scientists could not find any evidence of file sharing on her new hard drive, and her old hard drive was not admitted as evidence.
 
Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas, as Thomas’ loss is more formally known, was the first lawsuit of its kind to proceed before a jury as well as a landmark case that set precedent heavily favoring the RIAA in future legal battles. U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ruled that one could be guilty of copyright infringement merely by the act of making copyrighted songs available for download; as a result the RIAA did not need to establish that Thomas at her computer at the time her was accessed by investigators, nor did they need to prove that anyone actually downloaded the music she offered.
 
While the RIAA no longer publishes the number of lawsuits it’s filed in its four-years-and-counting legal campaign against file sharers, many publications speculate that that number stands anywhere between 18,000 and 36,000 lawsuits, with untold more settling long before the actual trial.


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RE: Wait a minute....
By darkpaw on 10/5/2007 9:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
Good evidence for the defense would have been the original hard drive if she was in fact innocent. Even if the hard drive had a mechanical failure as indicated, she could have paid for recovery service and if the drive did not contain any material that would have been huge for her side. This would have been the best possible evidence she could have presented.

Yes, screenshots can be faked (just like any other document). If they were faked that would have been another avenue of defense that could have been persued. It is possible to prove an image is faked, but the defense only suggested the information could be faked. They did not do anything to show that the computer was infected by a zombie, the logs were faked, or anything. They just presented a bunch of what if scenarios.

When I first heard about this case, I was hoping the lady was definitely innocent and they'd really hand it to the RIAA for their tactics. It just didn't happen though becuase she had zero evidence of innocence and the RIAA had enough circumstantial evidence to convience the jury.


RE: Wait a minute....
By walk2k on 10/5/2007 1:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
Let's be honest here if they positively linked her real name to her Kazaa account that's pretty much all the evidence you need. Kazaa and every other p2p program is about 99.9% used for piracy. Even the completely computer-illiterate members of the jury would know that.


RE: Wait a minute....
By mindless1 on 10/6/2007 9:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely not. Usign Kazaa is not evidence of particular offenses. If you want to claim "oh she must be a bad person", ok, if true, but that's not what the case was about!


RE: Wait a minute....
By borowki on 10/5/2007 7:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
The old hard-drive would have been good evidence if it were actually, eh, the old hard-drive. Unfortunately for Ms. Thomas, the jury got to hear that what she claimed as her old hard-drive was, in fact, a new drive. How freaking stupid the whole thing is. If you're going to tamper with evidence, don't ask Best Buy to do it for you--they keep records.


RE: Wait a minute....
By mindless1 on 10/6/2007 9:20:42 PM , Rating: 2
No, it is not possible to prove a screenshot is faked when it there is no original to contrast against. I guarantee I can 100% reproduce bit-for-bit, what an authentic screenshot of someone infringing would look like.


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