Report: File-Sharing Mistrial A Victory For The RIAA?
September 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM (PT)
While most media sources--especially those sympathetic to the free-P2P perspective--are gleefully reporting the demise of the RIAA's lone court victory against an illegal fire sharer (NET NEWS, 9/24), the attorney for JAMMIE THOMAS noted that one of the judge's remarks in declaring a mistrial still puts the RIAA in the proverbial driver's seat, reports WIRED.COM.
In explaining his change of heart, U.S. District Judge MICHAEL DAVIS ruled that the simple act of making available digital music in an open share folder on a P2P network does not constitute copyright infringement. In essence, "actual" distribution must be shown. However, the fact that RIAA investigative arm MEDIA SENTRY downloaded tracks from THOMAS' shared folder, in JUDGE DAVIS' eyes, "can form the basis of an infringement claim."
That opinion "certainly hurts us," noted THOMAS attorney BRIAN TODER. "One can either have an infringement by violating reproduction rights or by distribution. According to that opinion, there is still a violation of a distribution right if your own people, MEDIASENTRY, does the downloading. That doesn't help us."
Facing what looks like a win-win proposition, the RIAA has yet to decide whether to embrace or appeal Judge DAVIS' decision. "We have confidence in our case and the facts assembled against the defendant," RIAA spokesman JONATHAN LAMY stated. "As with all our illegal downloading cases, we have evidence of actual distribution."