RIAA Has Strong Case Against Thomas

I haven’t blogged much about the case against Jammie Thomas because I don’t share the view of the anti-DRM forces that this is a landmark case (much less that this is “RIAA versus the People” — it’s RIAA versus copyright offenders). The 2002 case against Napster was landmark: it showed that judges don’t view copyright law differently whether data are on vinyl (LPs), paper (books and photos), magnetic tape (8-tracks and audio and video cassettes), optical media (CD, DVD, etc.), or if those data are in digital form — unauthorized redistribution in violation of copyright terms is illegal regardless of the method of redistribution.

The Thomas case is no different, it just shifts the focus from those offering P2P services to those actually using them and making digital copies of copyrighted material available in violation of copyright terms. If anything, this should prove even easier for those like RIAA on the side of protecting copyrights.

There are many articles and excellent blog entries about the case and the way it played out before both sides rested yesterday.

Capitol Records v. Thomas:

Gabriel then proceeded to show the jury the ubiquity of the tereastarr username in Thomas’ online persona. The jurors saw screenshots of her pogo.com and match.com profiles and the Start menu from her Compaq Presario PC, all of which had the tereastarr username.

She also admitted discrepancies in her deposition testimony over dates she bought the computer involved in this case and replacing its hard drive. Even among her most ardent defenders, there can now be little doubt that the RIAA has demonstrated that those were her accounts,  that she was the party ripping songs and putting them on Kazaa, and that she even wrote a term paper in which she’d written that Napster was legal (a judge decided very differently).

Her lawyer’s retainer was close to the amount the RIAA offered to settle the case; she’ll far exceed that amount if the jury finds her liable of copyright violation in just one of the songs she’s accused of distributing illegally. That’ll be a high price to make a point. If she even had a point to make.


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