Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Defense testimony of Jammie Thomas-Rasset

Defense called their witness Jammie Thomas-Rasset to testify. She was asked to describe her background and family, which was already alluded to in her previous testimony and relatively well known to the parties.

The first issue Mr. Sibley asked about was the issue of the hard drive. He gave Ms. Thomas-Rasset a chance to explain her deposition testimony where she, as at the last trial, explained that she was off by one year on all of the dates she provided in that deposition. She explained that she did not mean to give incorrect information, but was just confused as to the timing when giving deposition. She asked rhetorically why she would lie when she hired an expert who would be able to tell what happened with the computer.

Mr. Sibley then asked Ms. Thomas that even if all the evidence offered by Plaintiffs was true, if it indicated she was responsible. She testified that it did not, even if it were all true it only led to her computer, not herself. He then asked her to refer to the initial letter she recieved from Shook, Hardy and Bacon and asked her to talk about the first call she made to Plaintiffs in response to that letter. She again testifed that she looked with the operator on the phone for KaZaA, which could not be located. It was also brought to light that this letter nowhere mentioned the date of the alleged infringement, which she took to mean that it was likely within the past six weeks to no more than two months, which is why nothing would have been mentioned about the hard drive being different. He also asked her to read a line about someone reciving the letter who was under 18 that indicated if the recipient was under 18 they would need an attorney or parent/guardian present for all conversations. Ms. Thomas-Rasset testified that she took this to mean that "they sue children".

Ms. Thomas-Rasset then testifed about how her hard drive broke, when her computer froze while her eldest son was playing a game and he hit it, after which it no longer worked. She testified that she brought it to Best Buy for repair and further testified that she never asked for or got her old hard drive back.

Then things got interesting. Mr. Sibley asked that if the jury were to believe all the previous testimony and evidence, should they find her responsible? She testified that she didn't do it and was asked, "Who did?" She offered that it possibly could have been one of her children or possibly could have been Mr. Gervais the boys father and her ex-partner, who had stayed at her apartment for a week or more on three seperate occasions with her childen while she was away. She testified that both her children and her ex had access to the family account on the computer.

Jammie was asked about her rules regarding her kids use of the computer. She said that she had rules, and that the children could not use the computer while she was not home, but she was unable to stand over them and watch them at every moment they were using the computer. She again stated what access the kids had to the computer, including to the internet for some online games. She was asked if her kids always followed the rule, which she said they may not have always, as they had later been caught breaking them.

The testimony then turned to the screenshots of her shared folder. Many pages of screenshots were flipped through to which Thomas saw artists she testified to having no knowledge of in 2005, and in genres of music that she did not enjoy such as extreme heavy and industrial.

She was asked if she's ever stolen music, in response to previous plaintiff testimony that she was a thief. She was asked if she's ever been accused of shoplifting, which she has not, and she testified that she would steal would she steal music she already owned in response to a question phrased similarly.

She was asked if her kids ripped CDs, which she said she believed they may have using Yahoo! Lauchcast into the MP3 format, since her kids could not access music under her account from the family account. She was asked about her oldest son's computer proficiency in regards to whether or not he would be able to perform those tasks, to which she testified that would know how to do that.

She testified that any ripping she did was with Windows Media Player into the wma format, and she did not know the basic steps that would convert a wma file to an mp3 file until Dr. Jacobson's testimony yesterday.

She testified again that she owns over 300 CDs now and about 240 in 2005.

Mr. Sibley then turned and asked about Plaintiffs one piece of evidence which they state links directly to her, and not her computer. The name tereastarr. They claim that tereastarr was her, and that this piece of evidence links to nothing else. She testified that this name was known by her entire family because it was the name she chose when pregnant with her first child for the name for her child if she ever has a daugther. She testified that she would name a daughter with the first name Terea and middle name Starr. She testified that Plaintiffs never asked her about the origin of this name during the entire case.

She then testified about what the case has done to her life, during which she became very emotional, crying at times. She testified that she had to defend against something she didn't do, had used a lot of time and had to put down some money to retain an attorney and that she faced the potential for $3.6 million in damages. She testified to missing school functions for her children and that the case had been a "complete nightname" that started with Plaintiffs attept to "extort" $5,000 from her, and that she didn't think it was something anyone should have to go through.

On cross examination Ms. Thomas-Rasset was again asked to refer to deposition testimony where Mr. Reynolds pointed out some inconsistensies in current and prior testimony regarding her watching her children use the computer. She had previously testified that she watched her children use the computer, she now testifies that she couldn't watch every minute, but that they were not allowed to use the computer while she was not home. She was again asked about restrictions on the family account to which her responses matched her previous statements.

She was asked about her ex-partner staying at her house, and what dates she mentioned that this had occured at her deposition. Her deposition dates were not correct, but she did state at the deposition that she would need to check her records to be sure, which she has since done.

Mr. Reynolds then asked why before today she never stated that her ex-partner knew the family account password to the computer. She stated that she had never before been asked. She was asked if she ever saw any music on her parter from her ex-partner, and she testified that she had not seen any and had never looked.

She was asked if it was possible that others did this, to which she said that it was indeed possible. Mr. Reynolds pointed out a response to her interogatories which she stated that she did not know anyone else who did it. She maintains that this is true since she does not know anyone else did it.

Redirect was short and Ms. Thomas-Rasset was asked about three issues. Was it possible that someone else such as her children did it, which she said yes. Does she believe that one of the other mentioned parties did it, which she testifed no. Finally does she contend that someone else did it, which she also testified she does not.

Testimony then ended for Ms. Thomas-Rasset and the defense rested, without calling their expert witness Dr. Yongdae Kim, who was notably absent from the gallery this morning after having been in attendance the last two days

The final charge conference will be at 2pm today. Closing arguments will begin at 9am tomorrow.

[Ed Note: Updated with proper spelling of Ms. Thomas-Rasset's ex-partner's name: Justin Gervais -M.W.B]

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


Anonymous said...

And here's where Defense really should have hammered home the password and computer access issue -- if Defense made it clear how weak passwords are, and how people other than her used her computer, then her claims of "maybe it was someone else in my house, I dunno" would be more likely to be accepted by the jury.

As it is, I wonder if the jury understands that she was not the only person with access to her machine. With no witnesses and several possible users, it seems clearly unreasonable to assume Defendant used said software.


Anonymous said...

Really? You guys live in a world where you have to sit next to a computer and fight with it to make it do what you want. Not everybody else does, some people have jobs administering servers remotely.

The Pirate Bay (TPB) is a good example. TPB admins live in Sweden, but TPB servers don't.

A remote admin with equal or superior knowledge of computer forensics to the RIAA experts could edit the logs to hide their activities.

Of course nobody would do such a crazy thing before the RIAA litigation campaign became so public unless they were in the "tin-foil hat brigade"

Coincidentally, remote administration, computer forensics, and remote exploitation are all subjects of interest to the tin-foil hats, and all readily and legally available on the internet.

Ms Thomas-Rasset answered questions about the physical security of her computer. Who had physical access to the computer is irrelevant. If the computer was connected to the internet for long enough to upload the songs mentioned in this case, then physical access would NOT be a prerequisite for installing and operating KaZaA.

If you don't believe me, ask google about metasploit