Jammie Thomas Refuses To Settle: This Is Probably A Bad Idea

from the she's-likely-to-lose dept

Despite the judge in her case pushing hard for the RIAA and Jammie Thomas to come to some sort of settlement in their rather infamous lawsuit, it appears the sides have not come to any settlement, and a new trial will be heard. The case, famously, was the first in which the RIAA actually won, only to have that ruling quickly thrown out after the judge realized he made a "material misstatement of the law" to the jury in suggesting that merely "making files available" should count as copyright infringement (a point of disagreement in different courts right now). There were some other questions concerning certain "misstatements" by execs from the record labels, which could have misled the jury.

While it's good that the judge reconsidered based on the misstatement over "making available," this seems like a case where Thomas probably should have settled. It certainly appears that there is plenty of other evidence that she was, in fact, breaking copyright law. While I think the law is bad and the fines are ridiculous, her chances of winning in court remain slim. Handing the RIAA a case where it has so much evidence on its side doesn't help matters. It's likely that it will win again and will once again use the ruling to tout its ability to win in court. Perhaps the only redeeming factor of such an eventual court ruling is calling additional attention to the ridiculous damages that would be awarded.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, May 13th, 2009 @ 5:22am

    I think mike is wrong on this one

    I heard the latest This Week in Law podcast which featured Jammie's lawyer. I think he may have the guns to take out the RIAA lawyers. This needs to get tested in a court somewhere because in every other case where the RIAA was vulnerable the RIAA has just folded early.

    http://twit.tv/twil23

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish, May 13th, 2009 @ 5:27am

    Other than merely "making available," which is not infringement as of yet, what other evidence is there? I clicked on your "evidence" link and I'm not convinced. Let's assume that she did have and use a Kazaa account, what evidence does the RIAA have that anyone, without authorization, downloaded music from her?

    Or are they going after her for the music she downloaded from Kazaa? That'd be interesting as the vast majority of people erroneously think that merely downing is not infringement.

     

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  3.  
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    Matt, May 13th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    sorry mike, no.

    If you just "settle" it's basically giving press a way to stamp it as "you're guilty" while not benefiting both a: the other people who have been sued for the same things if they are not guilty and b: it doesn't get judges to look this over and say "hmm, maybe something's wrong in what's going on here". Really, copyright reform starts in the courthouse, and doesn't start through settlements.

    If every riaa case was a settlement we'd have a serious gross injustice, and I tihnk you can remember how that worked out last time.

     

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  4.  
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    Captain, My Captain, May 13th, 2009 @ 6:00am

    Don't...

    Do not go quietly into the night...

     

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  5.  
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    bob, May 13th, 2009 @ 6:04am

    Even if She looses

    She could win in appeal, or set a precedent for a lower fine.
    But hell she may win.
    This would be one case where Jury Nullification would send a clear message to the RIAA.

     

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  6.  
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    terry, May 13th, 2009 @ 6:28am

    Wow, I've never seen five of five disagree with Mike.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Since it's not my neck on the line (yet), I'd say fight!!!

    Aye, me mateys!!!

     

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  8.  
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    wammer, May 13th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    RICO the RIAA

    Just stop buying MPAA and RIAA controlled crap. Shop indie. Forget the jerk-off rappers. I can't believe they make so much money I don't hear anyone listening to that crap.
    BUY indie and maybe the music acts will get a clue that getting a record deal is no deal anymore. You've seen the pablum they try to sell us.
    Beyonce pumping us up to an upgrade. The bitches are whores and the rappers are pimps. They sell their bodies for money. Just because we don't touch them. We still have to pay for them.

     

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  9.  
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    shmengie, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    here's a bad example...

    if i offer illegal drugs for sale, isn't that a crime, whether anyone buys them or not? so...

    if jammie says, "here's some songs you get illegally, for free," isn't that a crime, whether anyone downloads them or not?

    i'm just saying, is all.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re: RICO the RIAA

    I bought three CDs last week, all by independent artists. That's three less for the RIAA.

     

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  11.  
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    Tgeigs, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re: RICO the RIAA

    "Beyonce pumping us up to an upgrade"

    I have to say, I think the exact same thing whenever I see that damn commercial. In fact, I wish I could follow her around with a recording of that commercial and then play it everytime she talks about being an "artist" in some interview or whatever.

    There would be Tgeigs in the background with a video player, TV, and a stand, just like we all saw back in high school, playing that section of the commercial where it's a close up of an "upgrade" necklace in her whorish mouth, on loop, over and over and over again.

    Yeah, you're an artist. Just like Anna Nicole Smith.

     

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  12.  
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    Sean T Henry, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    "the vast majority of people erroneously think that merely downing is not infringement."

    I do not think that is the case sure some people think that, but the majority of people think that it is okay to download and not upload because all cases (that I have heard about) brought forward have been for sharing files, so they will not get caught.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re:

    IS downloading copyright infringement? That seems like saying that if you buy a folex watch you're guilty of counterfeiting.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Re: here's a bad example...

    Anti-drug laws are not the same as copyright laws.

    You may be trying to say something about morality, and how if it's wrong it's always wrong, but that opens up a whole different can of worms. (Like, why are drugs illegal? Who decides what's right and what's wrong? Is there any real MORAL backing to copyright?)

     

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  15.  
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    shmongifie, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Re: here's a bad example...

    Drugs (at least, the ones you're talking about) are illegal by law.
    Music is legal.

    Drugs are a finite resource.
    Digital Music is an infinite resource.

    Selling illegal drugs is a felony.
    Offering copyrighted songs without license is merely "actionable via lawsuit".

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Re: here's a bad example...

    ...after the judge realized he made a "material misstatement of the law" to the jury in suggesting that merely "making files available" should count as copyright infringement (a point of disagreement in different courts right now)...

    Seems to me like you don't bother to read, or if you do, don't comprehend and just make trollish comments.

    i'm just saying, is all.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    You never want to go into court when someone is trying to make you an example.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    If you've done something wrong.

     

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  19.  
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    Bobby, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: here's a bad example...

    The only reason downloading is a crime is because of big money goons bribing our lawmakers. It was always legal to make a copy and give it away for free, because the companies thought the COST of doing so was negligibal. That allowed them their monoplolies. They said, sure we will let peopel lend their books, copy their books, copy their music and share it with their buds. back then you may only have 10 freidns, and had to spend 5 bucks to tape it. Now that people define friend differently(I mean I have 300 people as my friends in facebook. The pushed legislation to get thier copyright extended to where nothign will ever hit the public domain again. They diferentiated between digital formats and analog formats. They pushed to make it so copy machines won't copy books anymore and you get harassed at a kinko's if you want to print out a LEGAL digital copy you bought.

    I am a computer programmer. I am use to be a consultant. I knwo of three Fortune 100 companies that run software I created, You know what, I got paid, but once. I do nto get residuals. I have to work to earn my money. I do that by creating new products. Let them do the same. We need to go to 15 years ONLY for copyright. Then we will have a rich world of content in the public domain. people will still make their money, and it will force companies and creative "type" to come up with fresh content.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Bobby, I would agree with you, I have no problem with copyright going to 15 years. Problem is, most people here would still violate that and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    backpackadam (profile), May 13th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: here's a bad example...

    I also agree with you. Except your terrible spelling makes me want to cry. Good post though.

     

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  22.  
    icon
    backpackadam (profile), May 13th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: here's a bad example...

    I also agree with you. Except your terrible spelling makes me want to cry. Good post though.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, May 13th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re: Even if She looses

    Unfortunately, no jury in the US is allowed to know about Jury Nullification, and 99% of judges will outright lie to the jury and tell them that they MUST return a guilty verdict if the defendant is proven to be guilty.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: RICO the RIAA

    Shop indie. Forget the jerk-off rappers. I can't believe they make so much money I don't hear anyone listening to that crap.

    Yes! Think of it this way: if Timberlake can put together a song and music video for Saturday Night Live within a week, it should really put it into perspective how easy this stuff is with the right tools.

    It's had over 900k views in 4 days. It's hilarious, but beneath the surface, I think he's parodying the industry.

    (It's called "Mother Lover", warning: NSFW)

     

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  25.  
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    Ray Beckerman (profile), May 13th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

    Strange headline

    Rather a strange headline. Why did you say "Jammie Thomas refuses to settle", as opposed to "RIAA refuses to settle"? Or better yet a neutral headline?

     

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  26.  
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    The infamous Joe, May 13th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Re: RICO the RIAA

    Forget the jerk-off rappers.

    You're missing the obvious/hilarious.

    Their lyrics are almost always about breaking the law in some fashion, and they cry because their copyrights are being infringed upon?

    Glorify murder, theft (the real kind), drugs, etc, but cry like a baby when their song is shared?

    Please.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Strange headline

    Actually, the following is a fair and neutral headline:

    Settlement talks unsuccessful in Capitol Records v. Thomas; trial scheduled for June 15th

     

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  28.  
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    Mike (profile), May 13th, 2009 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Strange headline

    Rather a strange headline. Why did you say "Jammie Thomas refuses to settle", as opposed to "RIAA refuses to settle"? Or better yet a neutral headline?

    Because Thomas came out and said that she would not settle. Thus I think it's fair to suggest that she was the sticking point.

     

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  29.  
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    Easily Amused, May 15th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: here's a bad example...

    Double clicking webform buttons makes puppies cry.

     

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