Woman To Appeal RIAA $222,000 Verdict
October 8, 2007 at 11:07 AM (PT)
Tech website ARS TECHNICA reports that JAMMIE THOMAS has decided to appeal last week's $222,000 willful copyright infringement verdict. Speaking with her attorney BRIAN TODER on CNN, she said they plan on arguing against jury instruction no. 15, where the judge told the jurors that they could find Thomas liable for copyright infringement solely by making the recordings available over a file-sharing network, "regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown."
Even though two sides can point to previous cases that "prove" their side on this issue, this could be nothing more than a move to renegotiate the size of the judgement. Previously, THOMAS told CNET.COM that U.S. copyright laws are unjust and that the cost of proving her innocence was nearly impossible for someone in her financial situation, "It says in the Constitution that there should be no undue fines," THOMAS said in an interview with CNET NEWS.COM. "I was just fined (9,000% more) than the value of these songs."
I was just fined (9,000% more) than the value of these songs.
Apparently, THOMAS is a variety of reasons for her defense. On top of daulty jury instruction argument of her appeal and her complaint that the judgement was too big, WIRED.COM column reports of another interview where she said, "I want people to know that they are being sued based on hacked, spoofed computers. They should still fight back in these cases ... I have to pay for somebody else's actions."
"I was basically forced into a situation where I had to prove a negative," THOMAS told CNET NEWS, "How do you prove that your IP address was spoofed or hacked. If I could afford an FBI analyst I'm sure it could have been proven. But I don't have the money."
Even if the verdict is overturned on appeal, both sides would have to make decide whether it's worth more cost to continue.The RIAA, of course, has much deeper pockets and seems to have no objection to continuing its admittedly money-losing campaign. For her part, THOMAS has piled up $60,000 in attorney's fees -- even if new attorneys are willing to take on the appeal pro bono.
On her MYSPACE blog, THOMAS said she was reluctant to accept the many offers of financial help she had received to pay off what she called "this ridiculous bill. I have not held my hand out," THOMAS said in her interview. "At best I've asked for information or advice. I have asked attorneys who are willing to help pro bono but it didn't feel right to me to ask (people) to donate to my cause."
Still, in her MYSPACE note, THOMAS listed her attorney's MINNEAPOLIS address for anyone who insists on helping.
In a CNET.COM blog, DECLAN MCCULLAGH speculated that "if the RIAA's smart, its lawyers will offer her some kind of not-entirely-punishing settlement that's one-tenth of today's damage award and strongly encourage her to take it. That would avoid the worst of the negative publicity, but still let the record labels wave around a pretty big club."