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Internet, record labels

From The CMU Daily

Jammie Thomas, whose legal team successfully argued that the RIAA had failed to prove that anyone actually did share the music Thomas had made available, and therefore actual infringement had not been proven has proved to be an inspiration in another peer-2-peer file swapping case against a Whitney Harper. She actually admitted to making 37 songs available via Kazaa in court earlier this year, though added as a defence that at the time she was unaware that doing so was illegal. Ignorance of the law isn’t usually a good defence, but the judge in that case, Xavier Rodriguez, expressed sympathy for the defendant and proposed a more lenient damages package of $200 per track. The RIAA weren’t impressed, though subsequently decided to accept the proposed $7400 settlement. Except, now her lawyer is pushing for a full trail in the case, presumably because he knows the US trade body doesn’t have any evidence the files Harper put into her Kazaa sharing folder were ever actually downloaded and, given the Thomas precedent, his client could get away with paying no damages. The RIAA continue to fight the technicality defence used in the Thomas case and launched an appeal against Davis’ retrial ruling last week, requesting their appeal be heard before the retrial itself. If said appeal and retrial go against the trade body, and if Harper’s lawyers use the precedent the Thomas case sets to get their client off, despite her admitting to file sharing, then this could be the beginning of the end for the RIAA’s use of litigation to combat the P2P problem.

CMU Daily 22 nd October 2008 www.unlimitedmedia.co.uk