First Music Download Trial May Go Back To Court

Jammie Thomas, the woman who was ordered to pay six times her yearly salary for sharing music may get another chance to defend herself.

The trial against Thomas, who was fined $222,000 for sharing 24 songs, may go back to court in Duluth, Minn. (The original complaint had 1,702 songs, but only 24 were brought up at trial). Thomas’s case was the first time a defendant had taken a music download case all the way to trial.

The issue is semantic – do the record companies only have to prove that Jammie Thomas made the files available for sharing? Or must they prove that someone actually downloaded them?

The larger, more important issue here: Besides $222,000 (minus legal fees!), there’s nothing here the record industry can win. These punishments aren’t a deterrent to music piracy, and while the music industry is having some tough times, $222,000 doesn’t make a big difference on the bottom line.

All these verdicts do is alienate people who could be customers, if there was a legal, digital method that suited them.

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