Juror: Piracy Verdict Quick, Defendant A 'Liar'
October 10, 2007 at 9:57 AM (PT)
One of the jurors who ruled against JAMMIE THOMAS in the CAPITOL RECORDS V. THOMAS trial told WIRED.COM that it took the panel only five minutes to determine that she was guilty. According to 38-year-old DULUTH steelworker MICHAEL HEGG, the remaining five hours of deliberation was spent in a heated debate on the financial penalty. At least two jurors demanding that she be hit with the full $150,0000 per track fine, while other wanted the minimum $750 fine. The settled on a $9,250 per song fine to reach the final $222,000 figure.
We wanted to send a message that you don't do this, that you have been warned ... She should have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars.
"That is a compromise, yes," HEGG said. "We wanted to send a message that you don't do this, that you have been warned ... She should have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars."
The jury, became convinced that THOMAS was a pirate after hearing evidence that the user name she used on the KAZAA account was the same she used for other Web accounts. Sealing the deal was expert testimony from an RIAA witness who showed that a wireless router was not used, which blew a hole in her defense that a hacker outside her apartment window with a laptop was spoofing her account to download music. "Spoofing? We're thinking, 'Oh my God, you got to be kidding.'... She's a liar," HEGG said.
Adding to THOMAS' liability, according to the jurors, was when she turned over to RIAA investigators a different hard drive than the one used to share music. "She lied," he said. "There was no defense. Her defense sucked ... I think she thought a jury from DULUTH would be naive. We're not that stupid up here ... I don't know what the f**k she was thinking, to tell you the truth."
While her appeal will focus on the jury instruction that made her liable for copyright infringement simply for having a KAZAA file "regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown," HEGG believed that his jury would have found her liable even if the plaintiffs had been required to establish that KAZAA users had actually downloaded the music.
"It would have been a lot harder to make the decision," he said. "Yes, we would have reached the same result."
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