Friday, June 5, 2009

Thomas: other label lawsuits are relevant; 'is this what copyright infringement, and the federal courts, are for?'

The record labels' thousands of other lawsuits are relevant to their case against accused peer-to-peer infringer Jammie Thomas, Thomas argues in a brief opposing the labels' motion in limine seeking to exclude such evidence:
This is the first case in which a jury will be asked to legitimate the RIAA’s litigation campaign. One can be sure that the RIAA, just as they did after the first trial in this case, will hold up a jury verdict on their side as legitimizing their campaign against those who download and share music online. That is what the RIAA is after, not any money that they might collect from Jammie. And if that is what they seek in reality, then Jammie should be allowed to defend herself on the same terms. The question for the jury is — is this what copyright infringement, and the federal courts, are for?
Actually, that is not the question for the jurors who will hear this case. The actual question is: did Jammie Thomas infringe the plaintiffs' copyrights? And, if so, what is the proper amount of statutory damages? The fact that the labels have sued many others besides Jammie Thomas may render the plaintiffs more or less sympathetic in different jurors' eyes. But it's really not relevant to the issues the jury must decide.

1 comment:

  1. While not artfully argued, it appears that what Thomas is claiming is that the RIAA's scorched earth policies are "copyright misuse" and that evidence of the RIAA's tactics overall are relevant to show this fact. Unfortunately, I don't believe that Thomas ever raised "copyright misuse" as a defense, so she may have waived it.


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