File Sharing Retrial Begins, RIAA Wins Early Motions
June 15, 2009 at 4:28 PM (PT)
The retrial of JAMMIE THOMAS-RASSET trial for illegal file-sharing has begun in MINNEAPOLIS with jury selection. while the jurists this time appear to be younger -- which ZDNET.COM interpret as good news for the defendant -- the judge has already made two rulings in favor of the RIAA.
Two motions filed by THOMAS-RASSET's promo bono counsel were quickly rejected by Judge MICHAEL DAVIS. One motion asked the judge to block evidence from MEDIASENTRY that found downloaded files from THOMAS-RASSET. "JUDGE DAVIS last week denied the motion because MEDIASENTRY is not subject to MINNESOTA’s private detective registration laws, the federal pen register law doesn't bar the recording of IP addresses, and one has no expectation of privacy when using a peer-to-peer program (since the whole point is to communicate with other users about what files you have and which you want.)"
Defense counsel's attempt to raise a fair use defense on the eve of trial, which previous counsel didn't do in the first trial, was also rejected by the Judge. They did win one objection -- that the RIAA had failed to produce certified copies of their copyright registrations -- but RIAA quickly procured certified copies from the Copyright Office at the last moment.
By allowing the MEDIASENTRY evidence of downloading can come in, the RIAA should be able to prove actual distribution. The lawyer who write the post for ZDNET cited "One last bit of hope, but it’s a long shot. [Defense counsel] is urging the judge to find that even if THOMAS-RASSET is guilty that the statutory fines Congress passed are unconstitutional. That’s an argument for the court of appeals. The U.S. District Court judge won't make that determination, in all likelihood."