We reported earlier that the RIAA had won a jury trial verdict against a Minnesota woman that it claimed had illegally shared music with others through the use of her computer.
Jammie Thomas was accused of sharing music with Kazaa, the peer-to-peer file-sharing service. Thomas told the jury that she did not know if someone else used her computer or a user account to illegally download and share music, but was unaware of it if that had occurred. The jury found for the RIAA and ordered damages to be paid to 6 recording companies.
The jury did not, however, actually find Thomas guilty of “sharing the files” or intentionally acting to do so. Damages were awarded because they found that she had made the files available through her computer and had thus violated copyright provisions.
Thomas and her attorney announced on Monday that they are planning to appeal the verdict based on the federal jury's finding in accordance with one of the Jury Instructions, Jury Instruction No. 15, which provided that “The act of making copyrighted sound recordings available for electronic distribution on a peer-to-peer network, without license from the copyright owners, violates the copyright owners' exclusive right of distribution, regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown.”
The fact that RIAA did not need to prove that the downloaded and distributed songs came from Thomas’s computer or that Thomas had acted intentionally to do so, may be worth appealing. It will at least flesh out the law to provide a better definition of what constitutes “making available” and “distribution,” and perhaps the concept of “intent to distribute” will be considered by the appellate court. We’ll be watching this one and will update you.
Read more here.