Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Labels, government oppose Thomas-Rasset's attempt to avoid third trial

The record label plaintiffs case have filed their brief opposing Jammie Thomas-Rasset 's last-minute attempt to avoid a third trial in the peer-to-peer copyright case. The labels argue that such a late motion for reconsideration -- the trial, which will involve damages only, is scheduled to start Nov. 2 -- is procedurally improper, and that there is no compelling reason to disturb the court's previous ruling reducing the previous jury's $1.92 million award on common-law remittitur (i.e., non-constitutional) grounds.

The Justice Department, which has intervened in the case in defense of the constitutionality of the statutory damages provision of the Copyright Act, also filed a brief opposing reconsideration, citing the long-standing doctrine that courts should avoid ruling on constitutional issues where possible.

With trial set to begin in less than two weeks, I expect a fairly quick ruling from Judge Michael Davis of the District of Minnesota. I'm told that at a hearing last week Judge Davis expressed serious interest in such a motion for reconsideration, but it's far from certain that he will grant it.

1 comment:

  1. Both Davis and Gertner (in Tenebaum) have painted themselves into a corner. As the labels correctly point out, if Davis grants the reconsideration, he is essentially reversing his own conclusion as to a reasonable statutory damage award in this case. Gertner's conclusion that Tenebaum was not on "fair" notice because he couldn't tell where within the range from $750 to $30,000 a jury might award damages won't survive appeal.


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