Sunday, June 14, 2009

Live, from Minneapolis: It's Capitol v. Thomas, Round II

I'm on scene in Minneapolis for the re-trial of accused peer-to-peer infringer Jammie Thomas, which gets under way tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. C.D.T. I'll be Twittering updates throughout the day (@bensheffner) and will do wrap-up blog postings here each night. The parties estimate the trial will take five days.

Among others covering the trial will be the excellent Nate Anderson of Ars Technica, and Marc Bourgeois, an IT administrator who is posting to Ray Beckerman's Recording Industry vs. The People and on Twitter. We shall see whether Bourgeois shares Beckerman's charitable views of the labels and their attorneys.

Here's my trial FAQs, Anderson's preview piece, and one from the AP.

UPDATE: Here's the Minneapolis Star Tribune's preview. The article quotes me and describes me as a "former copyright lawyer for Warner Bros. Records." To clarify: it is true that, while an attorney at O'Melveny & Myers in the early 2000s, I worked on the Grokster litigation, and Warner Bros. Records was one of our clients. However, I was never employed by Warner.


  1. Ben, when you do your updates, can you elaborate on the evidence issues? Your updates and the guys twittering for Beckerman seem to be somewhat at odds. They say only 8 registrations were allowed and most of the documents moved into evidence during testimony were rejected by the Court for lack of foundation. What's the deal? Are they incorrect? Is it that they can just be admitted with another witness? Also, you reported a jury of 12, 7 women, 5 men. One of them reported a jury of 10, 8 women, 2 men.

  2. I'm told all 12 are actual jurors -- 7 women and 5 men -- I saw them myself. It was explained to me that none of them are actually alternates, but if some have to drop off, the jury can still deliberate with fewer than 12. Not sure of the minimum -- will check.

    Some of the documents (relating to subpoena to ISP) came in through the ISP witness. Others still at issue. Not sure of all the facts since much was discussed at sidebar.

  3. Marc-- This is a much more prominent issue in Sweden. It has grassroots populast following to the extent that a political party has made this a priority platform item. There (Sweden) you would be a cutting-edge change agent. Stay well. David Peterson

  4. Ben,

    I tried for my reporting to be detailed, but hopefully without bias. I hope I was successful. There's plenty of other bias out there that the world can do without mine :)

    You provided very good and intelligent updates of the trial and I very much like being able to read multiple first-hand reports of the events.

    Good to see you throughout the week.


  5. @Marc--

    Thank you -- I really appreciate that. I confess that I haven't had a chance to read all of your coverage, but what I have seen was fair, accurate, and extremely thorough. Best,

    Ben Sheffner


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.