back to article RIAA filesharing target Jammie Thomas wins retrial

The judge in Jammie Thomas' challenge to her landmark $220,000 fine for sharing music over KaZaa has declared a mistrial, forcing yet another court case. Thomas' case was the only federal filesharing trial the RIAA had won. Minnesota Federal beak Michael Davis said he had given an incorrect instruction to the jury on the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now that just made my day!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Maybe common sense will win after all

    Yes, its wrong for people to share material unlawfully. But its even MORE wrong that there is no simple and economic mechanism to allow a person to LEGALLY share a small number of copies and pay only a sensible small charge for the right to do so.

    Lets suppose the profit on a track is around 10 pence. The exact figure is unimportant, the principle applies any way.

    So, if somebody makes 5 copies of 10 tracks -- whether on CD or by file sharing, that's £5 that needs to be paid for the right to do so legally.

    An economic mechanism using paypal micropayments COULD be set up, and the rights holders would lose just a few percent of that £5. Indeed, itunes shows that small scale payments are perfectly feasible. What is absolutely NOT needed is a megalithic collection agency such as MCPS or PRS imposing minimum payments and taking a big cut themselves.

    Until the recording companies come up with an economical method of allowing users to make payments in the order of £5 (and without imposing a penalising administrative overhead) the law needs to state that all such non-profit small scale copying is temporarily legal.

  3. Hywel Thomas

    No sympathy

    I mean. Can't she just get a loan for it ?

  4. Jonathan

    By that logic....

    If I possess a balaclava and a crowbar I'm guilty of theft.

    Making available != distributing copyrighted material.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My god.

    What a lot of wasted money on utter futile lawsuites.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ha ha

    They will find it difficult to prove that the files were downloaded.

    sould be fun.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Jammie dodges fine?

    Here's to a sensible retrial!

  8. Steven Hunter
    Thumb Up

    Meanwhile in Bizzaro world...

    "Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online"

    Wait wait wait. You mean you have to be able to *prove* that the person you accuse of stealing has actually, you know, *stolen* something? You can't just go suing people all willy-nilly and expect them to pay you huge amounts of money without any proof at all of actual wrong doing? Wow... What's next, terrorist suspects actually have rights under US Law?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    copyright lasts to long...

    Someone invents a cure for cancer and gets exclusive rights to make a profit from it for 15 years. Someone writes a song about it and gets exclusive rights to make a profit for a lifetime plus.

    Not exactly what I'd call a fair reward. I agree with rewarding people for what they created but the length of time a copyright lasts is wholly disproportionate to the effort and creativity involved.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re:By that logic....

    And also by the same login, if I have hairy palms then I'm guilty of wanking.........oh wait......

    I do agree that you can't base damages on "assumed" loss of profits. They should have to show how many times each shared song was downloaded and then base the damages on that. The figure they came up with was just plain ridiculous.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    If the RIAA were really smart

    They would try to get the government to do the job for them. Oh, wait..they just bad.

  12. Nasty Gamer
    Thumb Up

    Seriously, this is a good day for the little guy.

    But where did the judge get his new acceptable figures?

    $54 for 24 songs which is the equiv of 3 8-song CDs at $18 a piece?

    Let's use the new gold standard for music sales, iTunes, at $0.99 per song.

    And 100x the cost of the works is still too stiff, since you can steal the actual CD from retail and get far less of a punishment.

    A step in right direction towards fairness, but not quite there.

  13. Ash

    @Maybe common sense will win after all

    Why do we share? So others can benefit from something without having to pay for a whole second identical item. We expect the others to return the favour. "Share and share alike." It's been drummed into us since Primary School.

    Secondly, we need to recognise that music is art. Art doesn't have a cost past what materials were consumed / rented / bought to produce it, and that's the bare minimum price. In this day and age, it is entirely possible to (almost) professionally produce an album with about $3000 in equipment. A decent PC with 4-channel audio input, instruments, microphones, and a mixer. If you don't want to outlay the whole lot yourself, you can rent a recording studio once you've had a play with a cheap microphone and Audacity after shifting your home PC into the garage for a couple of hours.

    Past this point, distribution has become next to free, thanks to the advent of P2P tech, cloud storage, and social networking. We have the ability to look at THOUSANDS of similar artists' work with a simple google search, or even by looking at a fan's myspace friends.

    All we need is to get out of the mindset that an album is a product. It's not, it's an art piece, and art can make a LOT of money for the artist. All that is needed is exposure, and you can get that for free nowerdays just by being good.

    You look at Trent Reznor; He made 1.5m on *300* limited edition vinyl records, just because he signed them and put in some custom artwork! The WHOLE album was CC licensed and free to download anyway!

    Boggles my mind...

  14. Tony
    Thumb Down

    Get with the times

    How very 20th century... Actually requiring some proof to find someone guilty of something.

    Get with the times people! We have evolved beyond the need for 'proof' and the concept of 'habeas corpus'. We should do away with trials altogether as they are a waste of valuable taxpayers’ money that could otherwise be spent on things like extra surveillance and fitting the entire population with tracking devices.

    You should just be immediately convicted as soon as you are accused of an offence by a large corporation, lobby group, industry body or any arm of the government. This would free up billions of pounds public money to spend on more CCTV and sub-dermal GPS chips so they can track us by satellite (ID cards are so old hat). Not to mention that it would let all those lawyers get back to doing what they should be doing - Chasing down ambulances and attempting to get the injured party to sue everyone they ever met.

  15. Scottie Taylor

    The system working how it's suppose to?

    "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," a lawyer for the association said in a court filing in May.

    I read this and basically translate it as: Oh, shit, you mean we have to actually prove guilt now?

    Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts... basically they've just been told they can't write blank checks for their lawsuits anymore. A shame, really. They had such a good run. Maybe now they'll have smarter court cases when they do go to trial and win something fairly. Maybe not. But hey, maybe they'll just go under after operating in the red so long. We could only hope.

  16. Kanhef

    re: "would cripple efforts"

    Yes, because they'd actually need to prove their claims. They could download files themselves and claim that as evidence, but that stinks of entrapment and would probably get them thrown out of court.

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  18. Mr Blonde
    Paris Hilton

    ... required by the Recording Industry Ass. of America


    This was a good summary of the RIAA name

    Sucking the creative blood of the creatives is what the RIAA are.

    - and snorting coke off hookers tits is what they need all this cash for...

    Paris, for obvious reasons.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This burden of proof thing ...

    ... is really crippling my efforts to nail people to the wall because I don't like them.

    Totally unreasonable.

  20. phat shantz
    Paris Hilton

    Bloodsucking Parasites

    A study I read (years before Al Gore invented the Internet) revealed that the greater the number of lawyahs in an industrialized society, the faster the productivity decline.

    It was explained that lawyahs do not "produce" anything and only suck the profit and life-blood from any market pipeline.

    To (t)wit: the RIAA.

    The RIAA are nothing but lazy ambulance-chasers who don't want to go to the exertion of "actually" chasing ambulances. They have lobbied and seen to it that the legal code was modified such that they would not actually have to prove their case in a court -- but demand that the plaintiff prove them wrong!

    Vladimir Lenin would have been proud.

    That the Minnesota Federal District Court might may have lodged the proverbial bullet in the proverbial brain of the RIAA is more astonishing than all the RIAA laziness, tyranny, brutality, and bloodsucking combined.

    That the criminally-minded RIAA would suffer a mortal injury from this ruling might well be even more astonishing.

    If so, I'd be ready for the Large Hadron Collider to produce its much-feared Black Hole and swallow us up -- in our best and brightest moment! Go out on top!

    Paris: On Top. My, what a thought.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised but...

    What a jammie thomas.

  22. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Requiring proof of actual transfers

    It's about time.

    Requiring proof is, in my mind, supposed to be the basic necessity to condemn someone in a court of Justice. That this requirement has not been met until now is a shocking display of the lobbying power of that most-distasteful organization that is the Recording Industry Ass. of America.

    And I seriously hope it will indeed cripple the diarrhetic flow of frivolous lawsuits against grandmas without computers and little girls in Primary school.

    It is only logical that if you intend to get a $200,000 fine against someone who earns less than $50,000 a year, you should prove your ass off that you are indeed right and entitled to it.

    The RIAA has done nothing of the sort. It has, however, amply proven that it can fire off lawsuits against anyone for the tiniest, weakest sliver of suspicion, and expect to be handsomely paid for its lack of work.

    Death to RIAA !

  23. Nick Askew

    Let's ignore the rediculous penalty...

    ...and focus on the crime. Is there anyway that all the people who have posted comments such as "You mean you have to be able to *prove* that the person you accuse of stealing has actually, you know, *stolen* something?" are so naiive about file sharing. I mean you install your file sharing client put a bunch of files in a folder and wait. What you are waiting for is for someone to come along and download files which you may or may not legally own. Once those files are on the downloaders machine they no longer legally own them so both parties have taken part in copyright theft. You would have to be supremely stupid to not understand how file sharing works. So the very act of placing copyrighted material in the shared folder is sufficient proof of the intention to commit the act of copyright theft. If the rights holder happens to get there before the crime can happen then that is all well and good.

    "If I possess a balaclava and a crowbar I'm guilty of theft." No! But if you are at the top of a ladder in the middle of the night outside a house you have no connection with and you are wearing your balaclava and carrying the crowbar then you can bet that plod is not gonig to wait for you to actually break in.

  24. Bob. Hitchen

    Re: Let's ignore the ridiculous penalty...

    I'm still not sure what's being stolen here but if it's a crime then due process and proof should be required. Before all the patriots and their scumbag new labour(spit) allies had their way that was how the justice system operated. What's special about these RIAA arse holes are they like exempt from justice. I don't have file sharing software on any box on my network (to my knowledge) but there is a chance even with anti virus that the box has been seeded by some hacker. I'm sick of twats who either work for some branch of government or have like big business corrupted same trying to enforce summary punishment without recourse or adequate checks and balances.

  25. Mark


    Why do artists "create"? Because they want people to feel uplifted. They want to be known. They want the girls.

    They don't want to get a proper job,

    All as right as your misrepresentation of why we share.

    We share because that's what HUMANS DO.

  26. Ash

    Wouldn't happen in Blighty!

    The Met would state that there was "no criminal intent" and drop the charges altogether.

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