Judge Declares Mistrial In RIAA's Only Court Victory

from the jammie-thomas-gets-a-second-chance dept

The RIAA's only court victory in its years-long legal battle against individuals who engage in unauthorized file sharing has been declared a mistrial, and the $222,000 fine against Jammie Thomas has been thrown out. Jammie Thomas may now face a new trial, but this time, the jury will be instructed that the record labels need to have shown actual infringement -- and that simply making files available is not infringement. This is a pretty huge loss for the RIAA, who had been running around like crazy using the Thomas verdict to (a) claim that the courts recognize that "making available" is infringement and (b) that this case somehow proves that file sharers will get huge fines. Yet, now the RIAA is back to having no actual court victories against file sharers, and its "making available = infringement" argument is once again rejected.

Perhaps equally as interesting, in declaring the mistrial, Judge Davis also called upon Congress to change the ridiculous fines that can be levied on file sharers, noting that they seem to be way, way out of proportion to the seriousness of the act:
The Court would be remiss if it did not take this opportunity to implore Congress to amend the Copyright Act to address liability and damages in peer-to-peer network cases such as the one currently before this Court. . . . While the Court does not discount Plaintiffs' claim that, cumulatively, illegal downloading has far-reaching effects on their businesses, the damages awarded in this case are wholly disproportionate to the damages suffered by Plaintiffs.

Filed Under: copyright, jammie thomas, making available, mistrial, trial


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  1. identicon
    Dan, 25 Sep 2008 @ 8:08am

    You know I realize that file sharing reaches alot more more people than it did back in the day when you made a cassette copy for a friend. But I wouldn't have bought the majority of the albums, cassettes or cd's that I have to this day if it hadn't been for those copies. On that note I will never buy a Metallica CD, see them live, or listen to them on the radio ever again due to them selling out to the RIAA. Just goes to show ... Money changes everything and once your rich, your not rich enough. We made them rich, now we are watching them ruin peoples lives. I doubt Jammie ruined anyones life because of her 24 songs, if anything, she just made it so that if someone hadn't heard the songs they might buy the album.

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