Monday, October 15, 2007

Jammie Thomas Files Motion to Set Aside Verdict in Capitol v. Thomas

As anticipated, Jammie Thomas has filed a motion to set aside the $222,000 verdict against her on the ground that the amount of the verdict is unconstitutionally excessive and disproportionate in Capitol v. Thomas (formerly Virgin v. Thomas)

Motion to Set Aside Verdict*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Commentary & discussion:

Ars Technica
Caveat Emptor
Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review -- MTTLR Blog

Keywords: digital copyright online 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

Contributions to Ms. Thomas's defense can be made via PayPal at or by check, payable to "Jammie Thomas Defense Fund", and mailed to

Jammie Thomas Defense Fund
c/o Chestnut & Cambronne
Suite 3700, 222 South Ninth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402.


pepper said...

Why would Jammie just go after a lesser penalty? Isn't that rather like admitting your guilty? Or once she has her new trial will other things be allowed in? Such as the the previous jurors misdirection from the Judge?

raybeckerman said...

No it's not like admitting anything. It's like trying to get a verdict reduced from $222,000 to $150 or less.

The jury instruction is a subject for an appeal. If this motion is granted there might not be a need for an appeal.

Unknown said...

-={Posted under correct topic}=-

Assuming judgement is reduced to ~ $150 (not likely from my itsy-bitsy knot-hole), might not be an appeal as you suggest. What then becomes of the explicit and unfounded jury instruction that is left 'on the books' - just an interesting, but inconsequential, legal oddity?

raybeckerman said...

I wouldn't find it so "interesting" but yes it would be "inconsequential". It only becomes "consequential" if the 8th Circuit rules on it.

Dan said...


I'm not a lawyer so please forgive any incorrect use of legal terminology that may make me sound foolish. You may have to put on your "layman's" hat while reading the following remarks :)

I'm fascinated by the comparison of statutory damages versus punitive damages as presented by Mr. Toder in his brief.

Wouldn't a finding that statutory damages cannot be considered unconstitutional, on the grounds that they are codified by the legislature, be tantamount to ignoring the precedent set forth in Marbury vs. Madison? It seems to me that, were a court to rule that statutory damages do not need to be scrutinized by the Gore guideposts, such a court would be essentially saying that Congress has a blank check to codify statutory damages that are in effect untouchable by the courts, and hence in disagreement with Marbury vs. Madison.

I can see that the 3rd Gore guidepost is particularly tricky. But it seems hard to rationalize that the 3rd guidepost means that Gore cannot be applied to statutory damages in light of the end result it implies(that of a Congress with limitless power to impose whatever arbitrary statutory damages it whishes).

-- Dan

raybeckerman said...

Statutes are subject to the Constitution, under our system.

Usually the court can find a reasonable construction of the statute (as opposed to the ludicrous construction of the statute which the RIAA suggests) to save its constitutionality.

But in this case, clearly (a) the RIAA's damages theory, and (b) the jury's verdict, are constitutionally infirm. Much lesser verdicts are routinely set aside.