Wednesday, October 03, 2007 reports: Judge Rules Cary Sherman Can't Testify; Defendant Takes the Stand; Evidence Done; Closing Arguments Tomorrow

Some goodies from the excellent trial coverage by David Kravets of

RIAA Defendant Denies Kazaa Use, Admits Liking Music

DULUTH, Minnesota -- The defendant in the Recording Industry Association of America's first copyright infringement trial took the stand here Wednesday to deny that she illegally shared music on Kazaa.

Jammie Thomas was composed but visibly uncomfortable in 75 minutes of testimony. Called to the stand by record industry lawyer Richard Gabriel, Thomas said she was not the Kazaa user "tereastarr" who was caught sharing 1,700 tracks over the file sharing service in February 2005. (Only 25 of the tracks are subjects of the lawsuit).

"Is it your testimony that before this case you have never heard of the online file sharing page Kazaa?," Gabriel asked.

"That's true," Thomas answered.

The lawyer scored his sharpest point against Thomas on the issue of a computer hard drive she had replaced in 2005, after the RIAA's investigators spotted the music cache. She admitted to incorrectly testifying in her deposition that she'd replaced the hard drive in 2004 -- which would have made the Kazaa-free hard drive compelling exculpatory evidence.

She said she'd been confused about dates throughout the deposition. "I was a year off on everything."

But Thomas was unflappable on the issue of her alleged file sharing, even when Gabriel pummeled her with questions that seemed intended to cast her as a copyright scofflaw to the jury.

Gabriel asked Thomas whether she had ever burned CDs, either for herself, or to give away to friends. She admitted she had.

"Did you get permission from the copyright owners to do that?," he asked.

"No," she admitted.....................

Judge Says RIAA President Can't Testify
By David Kravets October 03, 2007 | 4:21:15 PM

DULUTH, Minnesota -- Cary Sherman, the president of the Recording Industry Association of America, made the trip to Duluth for nothing. U.S. District Court judge Michael Davis ruled that Sherman can not testify in the trial of accused music-sharer Jammie Thomas.

"His testimony would not be relevant," Davis told industry attorney Richard Gabriel.

Gabriel argued that Sherman's testimony was necessary so the jury would understand why the RIAA is targeting people like Thomas with multi-million dollar lawsuits: for the deterrent effect......

After some testimony establishing the plaintiffs' ownership of the various music copyrights, the testimony in the trial concluded with the defense calling no witnesses of their own. Closing arguments are set for Thursday morning.
Complete Coverage

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


Daniel said...

On redirect, RIAA attorney Richard Gabriel asked Jacobson whether he believed there was any evidence that the IP address that trafficked the songs was hijacked. "Did you see any evidence of zombies in this case? " Gabriel asked.


Well of course not, Jacobson was looking at the new hard drive. The evidence of zombies, hacking, etc would have been on the old hard drive that was replaced.

jsimmons said...

IANAL but I don't think the defense is as strong as it could be. What does CD ripping speeds really have to do with the question if Ms. Thomas distributed music on kazaa? I think they need to focus on the integrity of mediasentry's data collection techniques and reinforce the notion that an ip does not = person. Am I missing something?

Igor said...

Yes you are missing something...I think the defense was trying to make the point to the jury that she didn't download any of the songs but legally owned every single one...I would think a jury is less likely to find someone guilty of "theft" if they think the person is honest and owns each of the songs in questions...making it seem like a big corporation picking on the little guy...that said you are probably right about questioning the integerity of the data given how many mistakes they already made and given that Media Defender was seeding false songs for at least one of the plaintiffs that they later mistook for real songs (this is not from the trial but from a leaked email archive of media defender). However, it would be hard to question media defender data if you can't afford an expert (though there are probably many "experts" who live in the area who would have probably done this for little to no charge).