Should RIAA Win Against Jammie Thomas Be Tossed After RIAA Admits It Misspoke On The Stand?
from the one-would-think... dept
Well, well, well. This morning when we pointed out that the RIAA’s responses to the whole Howell affair were rather lacking, we missed an important point. In the NPR debate between the RIAA’s Cary Sherman and the Washington Post’s Marc Fisher, while Sherman may have had the stronger case (this one time!), he did make one interesting statement that could have much wider implications. When pushed on the Howell case, rather than admitting he was wrong, Fisher moved on to a different situation: the infamously incorrect statements by Sony BMG exec Jennifer Pariser, who said on the stand, in response to a question about whether it was okay to make a personal backup copy from a CD, that saying so was “a nice way of saying, ‘steals just one copy.'” As we (and many others) pointed out at the time, this statement is blatantly false.
When Fisher brought it up, Sherman responded by saying:
“The Sony person who (Fisher) relies on actually misspoke in that trial. I know because I asked her after stories started appearing. It turns out that she had misheard the question. She thought that this was a question about illegal downloading when it was actually a question about ripping CDs. That is not the position of Sony BMG. That is not the position of that spokesperson. That is not the position of the industry.”
This actually is somewhat believable, as the industry does believe that downloading a single copy is the equivalent of “stealing just one copy,” (even if that’s questionable in itself). However, Sherman also claims “other reporters and bloggers had called about Pariser’s quotes and chose not to write about them after learning she had erred.”
It’s not clear who those other reporters and bloggers are, but it’s a bit surprising that they would then choose not to write about it. After all, it was a recording industry exec admitting she had made false statements under oath — and those false statements were part of the case that helped Jammie Thomas lose her lawsuit. That has folks like Ray Beckerman wondering if the RIAA had notified the judge that Pariser had misspoke. Considering that we never heard the judge tell the jury to ignore those statements, at the very least, it would appear that the jury was never told that Pariser misspoke — which certainly would suggest that Thomas has grounds to call into question that original ruling against her.