p2pnet news view RIAA | P2P:- The one major element missing in virtually all the RIAA cases used to be the lack of examination of RIAA so-called expert witnesses, the notable exception being Ray Beckerman’s grilling of Dr Doug Jacobson, whose expert testimony he reduced to rubble.
Jacobson had been using materials supplied by MediaSentry, the “private investigation firm” the RIAA was forced to fire, as p2pnet revealed.
Then in late 2007 the Free Software Foundation launched its Expert Witness Defense Fund, aiming to at least partially level the playing field for the innocent men, women and even children across America who were under under attack by Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s RIAA.
“Our concern was how the RIAA is trying to use this sledge-hammer against the poorest people in society to set precedents in copyright,” the FSF’s Peter Brown told p2pnet today.
The launch of the fund, organized in coordination with Beckerman’s Recording Industry Vs The People, was vitally important and now it’s being used in the Jammie Thomas case, the most significant RIAA lawsuit to date.
Of the 40,000 or so subpoenas issued, it’s the only case the RIAA has ever actually managed to to bring to to trial.
The Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG extortion unit thought it was home and dry when judge Michael Davis told jurors making songs available in a shared folder written to her computer hard drive by Kazaa in and of itself amounted to infringement, even if actual distribution hadn’t been proved.
Jammie, the single mother of two children, was ordered to pay close to a quarter of a million dollars.
However, judge Davis later admitted he”d made a mistake in law and the case is to be heard again on March 9.
Now the FSF defense fund has granted Jammie and her lawyer, Brian Toder, $3,000, to be used to hire technical and expert witnesses to produce evidence for the new trail.
Brown says the FSF still needs contributions so the fund can be used to help other people.
Contributors can expect
- A listing on the FSF “Thank GNUs” web page for donations of $500 or more, if they’d like a mention
- A tax deduction for donating to a registered 501(c)3 organization
- And, the most important part, the satisfaction of helping ordinary people defend themselves against the multi-billion-dollar corporate music industry lawsuits.
Not at all incidentally,FSF Expert Witness Fund four stars out of four:
“Exceptional. Exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its Cause.”
“The first time around, in her October, 2007, trial, she was unable to afford an expert,” says Beckerman.
“This will be the second case in which the FSF has lent a hand, the first being UMG Recordings v. Lindor, where it contributed $2046.92 for the expert and $750.00 for the tech consultant.”
Jon Newton – p2pnet
January , 2009
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