Thursday, June 18, 2009

Closing arguments in Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset - Plaintiffs

Mr. Reynolds thanks the jury again for his service and begins his closing argument.

He contends that many theroies and possiblites of what happened in this case were raised by the defendant for the first time yesterday. He argued that Mr. Sibley for the defense didn't talk about the evidence in his closing, because he couldn't. Mr. Reynolds argues that the evidence shows she did it.

He explains to the jury the two elements that Plaintiffs must prove to show copyright infringement. First, that they own and control the copyrights for the works in question. He spent a few minutes referencing the record company executive testimony and the copyright registration which he contends proves that they do in fact own copyrights in all the works in the case. He then explains that Plaintiffs rights were violated by the defendant downloading or distributing the sound recordings.

He then went back to reference Mr. Sibley's closing and noted to the jury that he used words such as "sentence" and "guity" and that those words do not apply here because they only apply to criminal cases. He explained that they will be instructed to find based on the greater weight of the evidence whether or not Ms. Thomas-Rasset violated their copyrights, to which he says they have.

He speaks about the evidence of infringement was that:

  • It happened
  • She did it and knew it was wrong

He then went on to explain the MediaSentry evidence. They found a user distributing 1702 sound files using the username tereastarr@KaZaA. He then explained again that they would not see evidence of anyone else tereastarr@KaZaA was distributing music to, because the KaZaA application does not keep these logs. But based on the evidence they could be certain that distribution did happen to more parties that just MediaSentry.

He then went on to argue that there is no question that these works were reproduced, and that the metadata in some works (showing the pirate ripping group descriptions in a few tracks) prove that these were not ripped by Ms. Thomas-Rasset, but downloaded from the internet. He also stated that there is no question that someone with the tereastarr username did it.

He asked the jurors to ask themselves the question "Did Jammie Thomas-Rasset do it?"

He then displayed on courtroom monitors a visual he hoped would demonstrate his points.

The exhibit showed five items: a cable modem MAC address and IP address, the tereastarr username, that her computer was password protected, that she was sent instant messages, and that the shared folder music matches her musical tastes. All five things were represented somehow in graphical form with a red arrow from each to a name in the middle of the screen: Jammie Thomas.

He then talked to the jury about each of these five things. Charter showed that the IP address and modem MAC address a the date and time in question was linked to an internet account that she subscribed to.

The tereastarr username was one that she used. Yesterday was the first time she had ever mentioned somsone else close to her family may have used that username.

Her computer was password protected, and only she had access to the tereastarr account. Again Mr. Reynolds brings up that yesterday was the first time there was testimony indicating other people could use the family account on the machine.

He said MediaSentry evidence confirmed that instant messages were recieved by the computer that they were sent to.

He pointed that over sixty artitst in the shared folder are artists that match the music tastes of Ms. Thomas-Rassets, and lists several bands which she has admitted to enjoying which he does not believe are household names to the jury. He again mentioned that yesterday was the first time she testified about music in the shared folder that was not a match to her musical tastes.

Mr. Reynolds continued on the musical tastes comparison a bit longer, bringing to light some of yesterdays testimony that there were some songs in the shared folder with offensive words. Ms. Thomas-Rasset testified that some of this music didn't match her tastes. Mr. Reynolds pointed out some songs from her own collection that had offensive words. He asked the jury to decide if Ms. Thomas-Rasset would be offended by this music she claims to not match her tastes.

He pointed out to the jury again that there were sixty or more artists in the shared folder that she did enjoy.

The argument the turned to Ms. Thomas-Rasset's previous knowledge about Napster. Mr. Reynolds again spoke about her previous study of Napster in college and her subsequently finding out that the service was not legal. He then tried to paint the picture that someone with this knowledge about computers and Napster he was surprised that she would not have known about KaZaA before this trial.

He claims that what the jury has gotten from Ms. Thomas-Rasset is misdirections, accusations, and new evidence, and that was Plaintiffs offer is none of this.

He stated that MediaSentry found evidence of infringement in 2005, but the songs could have been downloaded much earlier. He again claimed that the CDs she had bought were not relevant and not the source of the music given the metadata evidence about "pirate ripping groups". He contended to the jury that even with Ms. Thomas-Rasset's new accusations it is still more likely than not that she did it.

Mr. Reynolds then turned to the testimony about the hard drive. He stated that they don't know what happened to the hard drive, and whether Ms. Thomas had it when Plaintiffs asked for it or not. But what she did do is deliberatley give both her own and Plaintiffs a new hard drive for expert examination. He states that she deliberately gave the wrong dates for the purchase of the computer and the replacement of the hard drive to cover up evidence. He asked the jury to decide if she has changed her story.

Mr. Reynolds then talked about damages. He states that they never asked for or demanded $3.6 million dollars from Ms. Thomas-Rasset. He said they offered to settle the case for $5,000 many years ago and that she refused to take responsibility.

He then responded to Mr. Sibley's argument that the record company executives that found this case important had all left. He stated that they are busy trying to maintain their business so they can continue to employ many people in the recording industry and that Plaintiffs have not abandonded the courtroom, as Ms. Pariser, plaintiff's representative has been present throughout the entire trial. He then responded to attacks he claims defendant has made against Dr. Jacobson. He states that Dr. Jacobson is trusted to do work for many police departments, government agencies, and given testimony to the U.S. Senate. He argues that those people trust Dr. Jacobson and that the jurors should as well.

He then tells the jury that credibility of all witnesses is for them to determine and that even the defendant does not believe the new possiblities that were presented yesterday. He states that copyright infringement has a huge effect on the recording industry, the evidence states Ms. Thomas-Rasset did it, refused to accept responsiblity and tried to hide it.

He then talked about the damages the jury could award, again stating that copyright infringement has a huge effect on the industry. He argued that the jury can consider many factors, mentioned that the need for deterence was great, and that ultimately the amount of damages to award was completed in the jurys decision.

He ended his closing by asking the jury to hold Ms. Thomas-Rasset responsible.

The court took a 15 minute recess before the jury was charged. They were read the jury instructions and began selecting their foreperson and deliberations at 11:00AM. They will break for lunch as 12:00 and resume at 1:00PM. Deliberations will continue until 5:00PM, unless they conclude earlier.

1 comment:

Alter_Fritz said...

"He then explains that Plaintiffs rights were violated by the defendant downloading or distributing the sound recordings."

So Plaintiffs have even up to the last second not made their mind up what they claim defendant did and charge defendant accordingly! Unbelievable that such "wischi waschi" claims are allowed before courts that allegedly consider themself serious!

"But based on the evidence they could be certain that distribution did happen to more parties that just MediaSentry."

Hm, the tweets and longer postings; where they from some other trial?

What evidence was there that provided this certainty that there was distribution to more parties then just MediaSentry? Did defendant ripped her own CDs, put "ripped by Jammie Thomas aka. tereastarr" in the mp3 commentfield and MediaSentry was able to get such an MP3 from some other defendants computer in another case? If not, how for heavens sake is there any evidence of distribution to any 3rd party then plaintiffs/their investigators?!