US Judge May Grant Thomas New Copyright Infringement Trial
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis who presided over the only file sharing case to actually go to a jury stated that he might have erred with one of his instructions to the jury, and is considering granting a new trial. The case centers around the Recording Industry Association of America’s lawsuit against Jammie Thomas. Judge Davis noted that, under federal case law, infringing a copyright likely requires actual dissemination of the pirated content, not merely making copyrighted works available.
Last October, Davis instructed jurors that infringement occurs the moment a Kazaa user makes copyrighted music available to others from their share folder. Now he is dismissing this instruction and stating that it is a “manifest error of the law.” Now this could be monumental. Davis has scheduled a July 1 hearing on wether or not to try the case.
The jury eventually found Thomas liable for infringement and awarded the music industry plaintiffs $222,000 for 24 songs. In fact, it took jurors only five minutes to conclude that Thomas was liable after three days of testimony.
In response, an RIAA spokeswoman said, “if we have to re-try the case, we will do so without hesitation.”