RIAA v Thomas Post-Mortem

Earlier this month a Minnesota court found Jammie Thomas guilty of copyright infringement for sharing 24 copyrighted songs through Kazaa and awarded the RIAA $222,000 in damages. A few things came to light after trial. First, the jurors did not disagree about Thomas’s guilt, only about the amount of damages she should pay. The 4.5 hours of deliberations started with some jurors believing she should pay the maximum of $150,000 per incident, or $3.6 million total. More moderate views prevailed and they settled on $9,250 per incident. Thomas has moved the court to reconsider the damage award but since the award was on the low end of the possible range I don’t see a good argument to do so.

Second, Thomas is sticking to her story that she is not guilty because someone spoofed her IP address, taking aim at one juror who said he has never been on the Internet. “”They admit that they are computer illiterate. This person (Hegg) has never been on the Internet, so how can he say whether my story is possible? I’ve been contacted by Internet security experts who said that spoofing my address would have been trivial. Internet illiterate people are not going to be able to understand that.” The problem for Thomas is that none of the jurors bought her story. She didn’t offer any expert testimony to support it because, she says, she could not afford to do so. She could afford not to settle–the average RIAA file-sharing suit settlement is $4,000–and chose trial knowing that she could not afford to put on her defense? Sorry, Jammie but that makes no sense at all.

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