Labels Urge Judge To Uphold Decision In 1st Piracy Trial
August 5, 2008 at 5:26 AM (PT)
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP and other record labels urged a judge to let stand the $222,000 jury verdict against JAMMIE THOMAS, the first person to go to trial to challenge online music-piracy claims, reports THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC.
U.S. District Judge MICHAEL J. DAVIS in DULUTH, MN said he may order a new trial if he decides jurors failed to consider whether 24 songs made available on the Internet by THOMAS were downloaded by anyone other than the music industry's investigation firm, MEDIASENTRY INC.
DONALD VERRILLI, the record labels' lawyer, told DAVIS at a hearing MONDAY (8/4) that dropping the OCTOBER jury verdict against THOMAS would set the standard too high for proving actual distribution of music in copyright-infringement cases, because Internet piracy "happens under a veil. It just can't be true that millions and millions of people can do what Ms. THOMAS did and be free of copyright violations," VERRILLI said at the hearing. "That's the same thing as saying there is no longer a right of distribution."
The jury in OCTOBER told THOMAS, a 31-year-old mother of two, to pay $9,250 for each of 24 songs she downloaded from the file-sharing program KAZAA. Her attorney, BRIAN TODER of MINNEAPOLIS, requested a new trial, arguing the fine was unconstitutionally severe. TODER also contends the jury instruction was incorrect.