Woman Accused Of Downloading Music Illegally Goes To Trial
October 2, 2007 at 5:43 AM (PT)
A group of record companies says JAMMIE THOMAS illegally shared everything from ENYA to SWEDISH death metal online. TODAY, she will become the first of 26,000 people sued by the recording industry to take the case to trial.
The BRAINERD, MN resident is accused of illegally sharing 1,702 songs for free on a file-sharing network. Her trial offers the first chance for both sides in the debate over online music sharing to show a jury its version of the facts. THOMAS is accused of violating the song owners' copyrights. Her lawyer says the record companies haven't even proved she shared the songs.
Most of the 26,000 people the record industry group has sued have settled by paying a few thousand dollars. "We think that speaks to the clarity of the law here," said RIAA spokesperson JONATHAN LAMY.
But lawyers for the defendants say they've settled because trials cost tens of thousands of dollars. Thomas's lawyer, Brian toder, said she was determined to fight. "She came into my office and was willing to pay a retainer of pretty much what they wanted to settle for," he said. "If someone's willing to pay a lawyer rather than pay to make it go away, that says a lot."
Thomas is at risk for a judgment of more than $1.2 million. The RIAA is seeking damages set under federal law, of $750 to $30,000 for each copyright violation.