bit-tech.net

First RIAA lawsuit going to trial today

First RIAA lawsuit going to trial today

No matter which way this case goes, it's a lose/lose situation for the RIAA thanks to all of the publicity.

The decision of twelve people could possible effect the legal ramifications we face when we share files. Why twelve and why not twelve million? Well, that's because one of the thousands of people that were (and many more still are being) sued by the RIAA is taking it all the way to a civil trial.

Jammie Thomas is accused of illegally sharing 1,702 songs over the KaZaA network stemming from when her shared folder was discovered by SafeNet Inc. in February 2005.

Thomas' lawyers are fighting hard to clear her of accusations of violating copyrights. In fact, their main argument is that the RIAA submitted a document that declared the copyrights belong to companies that are not listed as the copyright holder. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis threw out over 700 pages of documents that the record companies submitted to prove that they owned the copyrights to the songs in question. Thomas' lawyers argued that the documents were too little, too late.

If found guilty of infringement on all counts, Thomas could face a judgement of up to $51 million (£25.3 million) if the jury awards the maximum $30,000 per infringement that is allowable according to federal law.

Normally, people buckle under the pressure of being sued out of existence but Thomas refused to back down to the RIAA.
"She came into my office and was willing to pay a retainer of pretty much what they wanted to settle for," said Brian Toder, Thomas' attorney for the case. "And if someone's willing to pay a lawyer rather than pay to make it go away, that says a lot."

Jury selection begins today and open arguments are expected as well. So sit back, grab your popcorn, and watch in anticipation as this one plays out in court. If Thomas wins, then this could spark a revolutionary movement from those that have yet to settle with the RIAA. However, if the RIAA wins then it will surely be business as usual and we can probably expect a massive surge in the amount of pre-suit letters being sent out.

We already know which side the vast majority of you are taking on this issue so instead, head on over to the forums and discuss how you think this case will play out.

21 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Woodstock 2nd October 2007, 10:23 Quote
good luck, just out of curiosity how much would he have likely been charged with an out of court settlement
Aankhen 2nd October 2007, 10:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstock
good luck, just out of curiosity how much would he have likely been charged with an out of court settlement
"he"? Did you read the article? :p I echo the sentiment, though.
bilbothebaggins 2nd October 2007, 10:28 Quote
"And if someone's willing to pay a lawyer rather than pay to make it go away, that says a lot."
... amen.
Normally I would question themental health of such a person ... but I guess best of luck to her. :-)
fini 2nd October 2007, 10:34 Quote
Can someone explain how $30,000 per infringement (which I presume is each track) makes any sort of sense - or did someone, somewhere just pick that figure out of a hat?
Woodstock 2nd October 2007, 10:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aankhen
"he"? Did you read the article? :p I echo the sentiment, though.

now why didnt that s key work, i really should read my posts before i post
Laitainion 2nd October 2007, 11:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fini
Can someone explain how $30,000 per infringement (which I presume is each track) makes any sort of sense - or did someone, somewhere just pick that figure out of a hat?

Ditto that, it's disgusting how severe the penalties are. I mean, it's basically little more than petty theft (if you stole the CD from a shop, that's what it would be), and while I don't know what the penalty for that is I don't think it's going to be anything more than a slap on the wrist type of thing. I'm going to stop now, 'cos just thinking about it is making my blood boil.
Rahneshin 2nd October 2007, 11:15 Quote
Good for her!

Record companies have been ripping us off for years with their ridiculously overpriced CDs and crappy albums with one or two good songs. They've also been usually ripping off the artists as well by underpaying them and shoestringing them into bad contracts.

I say let the market decide how much recorded music is worth. And if at the moment people think it's worth 0 then so be it. Records don't cost anything to make nowadays anyway and artists make their money by going on tour more than selling records. Why should we shell out our hard earned money so some fat, cigar-chomping record exec can buy a new Bentley? If the music is good enough people will pay.
Cupboard 2nd October 2007, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laitainion
Ditto that, it's disgusting how severe the penalties are. I mean, it's basically little more than petty theft (if you stole the CD from a shop, that's what it would be), and while I don't know what the penalty for that is I don't think it's going to be anything more than a slap on the wrist type of thing. I'm going to stop now, 'cos just thinking about it is making my blood boil.

Whilst downloading the song may be just petty theft, I think the point is that she was sharing them. Still $30000 seems a lot though...
mclean007 2nd October 2007, 11:35 Quote
Interestingly, I note Radiohead's new album will be available for digital download where the consumer chooses how much they want to pay. Talk about the market finding its own level. I just hope that the download is available in very high quality (pref lossless) without any DRM. If so, I hope people don't abuse it by paying £0.01 just because they can. If I can get this album in FLAC, I will pay a reasonable amount for it (say £5) and hope Radiohead proves this business model can work. If it shows artists can make money out of decent music by trusting the user to pay and not to make pirate copies just beacuse it is DRM free, it could kick start the revolution.
mmorgue 2nd October 2007, 13:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
If it shows artists can make money out of decent music by trusting the user to pay and not to make pirate copies just beacuse it is DRM free, it could kick start the revolution.

That's what I was thinking. I was hoping that in that type of business model, the way to prevent the pirating of the DRM free music is that you the consumer has spent your own ££ on it so why would YOU want to give it away free?

I figured that would be the most 'logical' way to prevent the files from being shared. Of course, that's in a perfect world and places a massive amount of trust on the consumer. But if it worked.. well, why would any artist need the music industries any more? :)
Kurayamino 2nd October 2007, 14:07 Quote
I like the Radiohead idea alot. Maybe they could implement a system that allows people to add some more money if they really like the album. I know if i hated it I wouldnt wanna pay alot for it. If however I did like it, surely I or anyone else would pay more for it? Obviously to a reasonable degree.
Drexial 2nd October 2007, 16:53 Quote
[QUOTE=mmorgue]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
But if it worked.. well, why would any artist need the music industries any more? :)

why does any artist need the industry at all at this point. i listen to a lot of independent or indi label bands that have MASSIVE followings. like one of my favorite hip-hop artists said

"40,000 records sold, 400 grand
**** a middle man, I won't pay anyone else
I'll bootleg it and sell it to the streets my self
I'd rather be that than signed and stuck on a shelf"

Immortal Technique - Freedom Of Speech
CardJoe 2nd October 2007, 18:10 Quote
I like Harvey Dangers approach. Make an album, release it for free on the net and then make a new version of the same album with better quality and a bonus disc of the original recording, extra songs and new covers.

http://www.harveydanger.com/downloads/

Awesome band too. You can read their reasonings here:

http://www.harveydanger.com/press/why.php

This way everyone downloads it and likes it so they get loads of new fans, then those people want to hear more so they buy the album. If they don't like the music that much then they don't have to buy the album. The band doesn't have to be signed either because they can handle the album distribution etc personally. Meanwhile the true fans get something extra and become encouraged by their act of purchasing NOT to pirate the music.
Breach 2nd October 2007, 18:29 Quote
I hope Radiohead sets an example by really doing it themselves without a label. Bands have so much more power than they used to to control their own music. RIAA and labels need to wake up or DIAF.

More power to her, RIAAs uncontrolled bs has gone on long enough.
completemadness 2nd October 2007, 22:52 Quote
Link doesnt goto forums, Interesting suit tho, hopefully he wins :D

Nice somone is standing up to these A*******
Ryu_ookami 2nd October 2007, 23:26 Quote
ok just supposing she does win remembering I know nothing about US law does that mean everyone in the us who settled out of court maybe able to legally attempt to sue for their money back or is it just tough on them.
DXR_13KE 3rd October 2007, 00:12 Quote
i want to know how this ends..... :D
Lowsidex2 3rd October 2007, 00:23 Quote
she'll most likely lose. But hopefully they'll only make her pay $.99 per song she shared...
Bogomip 3rd October 2007, 00:42 Quote
I like radioheads idea, and in total support im going to buy it for £5 despite not liking the band themselfs very much.
Rebourne 3rd October 2007, 01:04 Quote
They have to have proof which is something I doubt they have enough of anyway.
Luukas 5th October 2007, 07:22 Quote
Ludicrous fines ahoy!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7029229.stm
Quote:
A court in the US has ordered a woman to pay $222,000 (£109,000) in damages for illegally downloading music.

The jury ordered Jammie Thomas, 32, from Minnesota, to pay for offering to share 24 specific songs online - a cost of $9,250 per song.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums