[JPL] RIAA loses another one
drjazz at drjazz.com
Sun Oct 5 12:23:38 EDT 2008
September 25th, 2008
RIAA loses $222K verdict against Jammy Thomas
Posted by Richard Koman @ September 25, 2008 @ 5:14 AM
The $222,000 verdict against Jammy Thomas for copyright infringement by
P2P is no more. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis dismissed the
verdict <http://government.zdnet.com/images/thomas-ruling-1.pdf> (PDF),
saying it was based on the faulty “making available” theory of
distribution. Thomas will face a new trial, in which the RIAA will have
to prove actual distribution.
The decision means the RIAA now has zero wins at trial, Wired notes.
RIAA’s “making available” theory would hold that someone has distributed
copyright material merely by creating the potential for distribution.
Under the RIAA’s theory, it need not show actual distribution. The judge
soundly denied this legal reasoning:
If simply making a copyrighted work available to the public
constituted a distribution, even if no member of the public ever
accessed that work, copyright owners would be able to make an end
run around the standards for assessing contributor copyright
And Judge Davis went further, “implor[ing] Congress to amend the
Copyright Act to address liability and damages in peer-to-peer network
While the Court does not discount Plaintiffs’ claim that,
cumulatively, illegal downloading has far-reaching effects on their
businesses, the damages awarded in this case are wholly
disproportionate to the damages suffered by Plaintiffs.
Thumbs up from EFF:
EFF applauds Chief Judge Davis’s thorough rejection of the RIAA’s
effort to rewrite copyright law and thereby avoid the trouble of
actually proving any infringement has occurred. And we
wholeheartedly endorse the court’s call to amend the Copyright Act’s
oppressive damages provisions.
One important tidbit, little noticed yet, pointed out by Excess
“distribution to an investigator, such as MediaSentry, can constitute
I will offer an in-depth walk-through of the decision shortly.
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