Saturday, June 13, 2009

Minn woman who lost music-share suit gets replay;, 6/13/09

Steve Karnowski, AP Writer, via; Minn woman who lost music-share suit gets replay:

"The Minnesota woman who became the nation's only music file-sharing defendant so far to go to trial is getting a replay two years after losing the case.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a 32-year-old mother of four and self-described "huge music fan," will be armed with aggressive new lawyers when her retrial begins in federal court here Monday.

The lawsuit is among the last vestiges of an anti-piracy campaign that the recording industry ultimately dropped amid widespread criticism. The Recording Industry Association of America said in December it had stopped filing lawsuits like these and would work instead with Internet service providers to cut access to those it deems illegal file-sharers. But the recording industry plans to proceed with cases that are already filed.

Thomas-Rasset is the rare defendant who has fought back.

Music companies have filed more than 30,000 similar copyright lawsuits in recent years against people they accused of illegally swapping songs through Internet file-sharing services such as Kazaa. None of the others has made it to trial yet.

Faced with huge legal bills, most settled for an average of about $3,500, even if they insisted they had done nothing wrong. Thomas-Rasset's new lawyer, K.A.D. Camara, notes the settlements add up to more than $100 million; the RIAA contends its legal costs exceeded the settlement money it brought in.

The lawsuits have turned into a public relations nightmare for the recording industry, putting music companies in the position of going after their most ardent fans...

Corryne McSherry, a staff attorney with the digital-rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the new defense team is taking a creative approach. She said it would have been interesting to see how all the cases that settled might have turned out if those defendants had free lawyers who were willing to push as hard.

"This case could end up being the tail end of a frankly shameful and certainly failed campaign to go after users," McSherry said."

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