Monday, June 15, 2009

Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset trial; Morning 1

In first morning of the Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset case the parties have dispensed with some pre-trial matters and completed their jury selection.

Matthew Oppenheim for the plaintiffs moved to bar the defense from bringing up before the jury or witnesses the argument that Plaintiff's copyright registrations were invalid under the work for hire doctrine. Mr. Oppenheim argued that this was not an available affirmative defense. The defense argued that it goes towards the burden of proof that Plaintiffs hold copyright in the works they alleged were infringed. Mr. Camara noted that he had no intention of bringing up this issue during his opening or his questioning of witnesses, but reserved the right to ask witnesses questions pertaining to the manner in which the copyights were registered, and what that registration meant. He noted that it would be in a motion to dismiss before the court that the registrations were invalid, and not a question for the jury.

The jury selection proceeded with many questions from the judge regarding music and how the potential jurors exposed themselves to music. Most jurors own portable MP3 players, or know someone close who has. A few jurors had heard of the peer-to-peer technologies at issue in the case, most having heard of Napster or LimeWire. One potential juror had noted that his son had an iPod from which he had received music from a friend. Mr. Reynolds questioned this potential juror and many others on whether or not they had formed an opinion as to whether or not this method of obtaining music was right or wrong. Most indicated that they had not formed an opinion one way or the other, but several brought up that they believed it was wrong if it were illegal. The juror initially questioned noted that if he strongly felt it was wrong he probably would not have allowed his son to do it.

After all parties conferred four potential jurors were dismissed. The man who had indicated his son had gotten music from a friend was one of them, as was one who said that he had friends who used LimeWire and were concerned about being investigated as a result of their use of the software. The other jurors dismissed were a chauffeur and an area attorney.

Opening statements will begin at 1:15PM local time after a recess for lunch.

The parties estimate that this trial will take five or six days to complete, and the judge indicated that given his schedule the total time may be two weeks.

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player

1 comment:

tekel said...

Interesting. I wonder if either side will ask about "mix tapes" or "Mix CDs." I'd bet $50 there isn't a single person in the venire who has never listened to a mixed tape.

And I'd have to think that anyone under 30 and anyone with teenage or college-age kids would be a huge risk for Matthew Oppenheim.