Media reports around the world trumpeted what Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG’s RIAA called a resounding triumph when a Minnesota jury said Thomas, a single mother of two, owed the Big 4 almost a quarter of a million dollars.
“Unfortunately, by using Kazaa, Thomas acted like countless other Internet users,” Davis ruled when he decided there were grounds for a new trial.
Thomas’ alleged acts were illegal, but common, he wrote, and while her, “status as a consumer who was not seeking to harm her competitors or make a profit” didn’t excuse her behavior, it did make the award of hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, “unprecedented and oppressive”.
This time around, he ruled there was, “no substantial ground for a difference of opinion” on the, “question of law presented,” and allowing the RIAA’s appeal would not “materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation,” says Recording Industry vs the People.
Davis, who’d heard the case, “did a complete about turn, admitting he’d incorrectly instructed the jurors when he told them Thomas had infringed Big 4 copyrights by merely making copyrighted music available via Sharman Networks’ Kazaa file sharing application,” said p2pnet.
When he admitted he’d made an error in law, the RIAA wanted a federal appeals court to second guess his decision.
But, “Let’s step back for a moment,” RIvTP’s Ray Beckerman told p2pnet »»»
The judge vacated the verdict because the first time around he had allowed himself to be misled by the RIAA lawyers.
He`s now researched the issue thoroughly, and knows that he`s right, and that the RIAA was dead wrong.
He`s not going to let himself be snowed again.
Davis hadn’t even scheduled a date for the new Thomas trial when RIAA attack lawyers begged for permission to appeal the Court`s September 24, 2008, decision setting the $222,000 jury verdict aside.
And not at all incidentally, the complete trial transcript of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas now online, notes Beckerman.
“This transcript will be an invaluable aid to those of us representing defendants in RIAA cases,” he say, suggesting among the many interesting things to look for are:
- The early-morning argument on October 4, 2007, where Richard Gabriel convinced Judge Davis to change his mind and accept the plaintiffs’ proffered jury instruction
- The testimony of Jennifer Pariser in which — according to Cary Sherman — she “misspoke”
- The testimony of the RIAA’s expert witness Doug Jacobson
- The testimony of the MediaSentry investigator
- The technology issues relating to the service performed by Best Buy on Ms. Thomas’s hard drive
- The voir dire of the RIAA’s expert and defendant’s counsel’s decision not to object to the expert.
“And on and on ….”
Definitely stay tuned.
Capitol Records vs Jammie Thomas – p2pnet Jammie Thomas v RIAA digest, June 28, 2008
new trial – RIAA vs Jammie Thomas: new trial, September 24, 2008
Recording Industry vs the People – RIAA’s motion for interlocutory appeal in Capitol Records v. Thomas denied, December 27, 2008
p2pnet – RIAA bid to block new Jammie Thomas trial, Oxctober 16, 2008
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