Monday, June 15, 2009

Music cos. vow to show Minn. woman shared 24 songs; Associated Press, 6/15/09

Steve Karnowski via Associated Press; Music cos. vow to show Minn. woman shared 24 songs:

"This case remains the only one out of more than 30,000 similar lawsuits the industry has filed that has made it to trial. The vast majority of the other defendants settled for an average of about $3,500 rather than risk huge judgments and legal bills. [Jammie] Thomas-Rasset's first lawyer put in nearly $130,000 worth of time for which she couldn't pay. Her new lawyers, [Kiwi] Camara and Joe Sibley, of Houston, took the case for free.

Thomas-Rasset lost her first trial in 2007 when jurors awarded the companies $222,000. But U.S. District Judge Michael Davis later concluded he made a mistake in his jury instructions and ordered the retrial.

This time, Davis is expected to instruct the jurors the record companies need to prove that someone actually downloaded the music Thomas-Rasset allegedly made available over the Internet on the Kazaa file sharing service. Last time, he told the jury the plaintiffs didn't have to prove anyone downloaded the copyright-protected songs.

The companies suing are subsidiaries of all four major recording companies, Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, EMI Group PLC and Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment.

Thomas, a mother of four and employee of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government, allegedly used Kazaa, a "peer-to-peer" file sharing service in which users make files on their own computers available for downloading by other users. Although the industry contends she made more than 1,700 songs available, for simplicity's sake it's trying to prove copyright violations on just a representative sample of only 24, including songs by Gloria Estefan, Sheryl Crow, Green Day and Journey."

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