A Primer on the Most Notorious File-Sharing Case
Late Friday (July 22, 2011), the judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas-Rassett case again reduced a jury’s judgment against her to $2,250 per song, this time down from $62,500 a song, for 24 songs. This is the second time he has done so (and the third trial), and in theory, he could do so again and again, ad infinitum. A copy of his order is available here.
Several years ago, the RIAA adopted a strategy of directly suing the users of file-sharing software who used the software to download and distribute copyrighted music over the internet. The way this software typically works is that you create a public folder, which you fill with song files, that other users of the system can access and from which they can download copies of the song files. Most of the accused users settled with the RIAA, reportedly for a few thousand dollars each, but a few fought all the way to trial, arguing variously that file-sharing wasn’t technically a copyright violation, that they couldn’t be linked to the downloads in question, or (less plausibly) that it was a fair use.
One of these stubborn … Read More»