Joining the ranks of federal district judges in Arizona and Massachusetts, District of Minnesota Chief Judge Michael Davis today concluded [44-page PDF] that simply making a music file available in a shared file does not violate copyright law, and ordered a new trial in Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas.Capitol v. Thomas: Judge Orders New Trial, Implores Congress to Lower Statutory Penalties for P2P (Thanks, Corynne!)
The case made headlines last year as the first peer-to-peer file-sharing case to go all the way to trial. In October 2007, a jury held Thomas liable and awarded $222,000 in damages to the record companies, based in whole or in part (it wasn't clear) on an instruction that merely making a file available violates a copyright owner's distribution right. Earlier this year, Chief Judge Davis said he was concerned that he might have made a mistake with that instruction and asked for more briefing on whether Thomas deserved a new trial. EFF, joined by Public Knowledge, the United States Internet Industry Association, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association filed an amicus brief urging the Court to reject the RIAA's making available theory.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.