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.