Skip to comments.Defendant found guilty in RIAA suit, hit with $220,000 fine
Posted on 10/05/2007 10:27:16 AM PDT by southlake_hoosier
San Francisco (IDGNS) - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won the first of many digital music file sharing cases Thursday against a single mother, with a U.S. jury finding her guilty of copyright infringement and fining her a total of $222,000.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota could have fined Jammie Thomas as much as $3.6 million, but opted not to. She was found guilty of stealing and giving away via Internet peer-to-peer Internet file sharing Kazaa a total of 24 songs from companies including Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Records.
Thomas, a Native American, has two children.
The guilty verdict in its first ever such case is a sign the RIAA may come out victorious on more of the over 20,000 lawsuits it has filed against people in its bid to stop Internet copyright infringement. The industry association has spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns against Internet piracy and has a zero-tolerance policy against the practice.
People have been able to share music, movies, television programs, and other Internet files for years with peer-to-peer Internet sites and software. Some sites remain open, but many have been shut down by industry lawsuits and work to create laws in countries throughout the world. Companies and industry associations say they are loosing billions of dollars a year through Internet and optical disc piracy.
Who owns these copyrights? If the individual music composers own the copyrights, shouldn’t they be the people suing this lady? If the RIAA owns these copyrights, then the RIAA is benefiting from other people’s work.
If you're making the point that the RIAA can accuse me of theft, sure they can. They can accuse you, too. Technically, no one with Internet access is "safe." But the burden of proof is still on the RIAA. If there is no evidence whatsoever on our computers that will prove their allegations, i.e. pirated songs and the like, they have nothing. They cannot trump up evidence that was never there.
My former attorney/boss advised me years ago to keep good records, even receipts paid for by cash, and I do. Not only does Walmart.com have the records of my paid-for downloads, I also have printed receipts of all my purchases, and for good measure, the charges are on my credit card. I can prove my music is legally purchased. Can you?
While I heartily concur that the legal system is being abused here, this is what passes for justice in America. Making an example of a defendant happens all the time. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a joke.