First Consumer P2P Trial Underway In Minnesota
Jurors are beginning to hear evidence in the first unauthorized peer-to-peer file-sharing suit against a consumer that has reached trial. Jammie Thomas, a single mother, chose to fight rather than setJurors are beginning to hear evidence in the first unauthorized peer-to-peer file-sharing suit against a consumer that has reached trial. Jammie Thomas, a single mother, chose to fight rather than settle the copyright infringement suit filed by six major labels.
Opening arguments began after the jury was selected today in the federal District Court in Duluth, Minn. The first witness for the plaintiff labels will be Jennifer Parisen, head of litigation for Sony BMG Music Entertainment, who is expected to testify about ownership of certain recordings.
The labels are suing for infringement of 26 recordings, a sample of the 1,702 audio files they claim Thomas shared over Kazaa just after 11 p.m. ET on Feb. 21, 2005.
The labels claim that on that night, their investigator, SafeNet, detected an individual using a specific IP address and the username tereastarr@kazaa to distribute 1,702 audio files in the individual's "shared" folder on her computer. Charter Communications was identified as the ISP associated with the IP address.
After the labels filed a "John Doe" lawsuit for copyright infringement, Charter responded to a subpoena, identifying Thomas as the subscriber on that day in February. The labels claim that Thomas also used the tereastarr username for multiple purposes for many years.
Thomas, who argues that the labels are following the motto "Kill them all; let God sort them out," is expected to challenge the documentary proof of ownership of each sound recording and the alleged lack of proof that Thomas was the individual who actually downloaded the music files.
Court documents reveal that Thomas is hoping to disprove ownership by any one of the label plaintiffs in order to recover attorney's fees from the label or labels that can't prove ownership in court. The recordings include titles by Janet Jackson, Richard Marx, Journey, No Doubt, Green Day, Sarah McLachlan and Godsmack.
Among those testifying for the labels will be RIAA president Cary Sherman, lawyers from the major labels, investigators involved in the case and possibly others. Thomas is the only witness expected to testify to support her defense.
The trial could wrap up as early as this week, but is expected to conclude no later than next week.