Judge Bars RIAA President Sherman from Testifying, RIAA wins

The first RIAA lawsuit to go to jury trial has resulted in Judge Michael J. Davis barring Recording Industry Association of America President Cary Sherman from testifying. "I don't want to turn this case into a soap box for the recording industry," said Thomas' counsel Brian Toder. Even after Judge Davis' decision, RIAA counsel Richard Gabriel continued to press on, arguing that Sherman is needed to help the jury see the "massive problem of file sharing," and that the RIAA is not out to make money but "to prove a point." Judge Davis remained stalwart, refusing to reconsider.

Capitol Records vs. Jammie Thomas is significant because it is the first case among the RIAA's litany of more than 18,000 lawsuits to make it to jury trial. With most of the suits, the RIAA tends to push for a settlement to avoid costly litigation. Defendants, facing overwhelming legal fees and the costs of going to court, usually settle for amounts that range from around $3,000 to $11,000.

Update: Jammie Thomas was found guilty of sharing copyrighted music online and levied $220,000 in damages against her: $9,250 for each of the 24 songs she was found guilty of pirating.

News source: DailyTech

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24 Comments

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It's a relief to see that the jury was able to recognize this illegal activity on its own without the RIAA's testimony. Shadrack is absolutely right - music piracy is illegal whether the RIAA is parading around or not. The take-home message is perfect: Criminals will be caught and the RIAA's testimony is irrelevant.

The TRUE theives are the RIAA/MPAA. They are the ones stealing the money, they are the ones taking the actual money.

It also just proves the injustice we have in America. We aren't the great country we get made out to be.

This lawsuit will not help the RIAA any more. People will follow the words of Trent Reznor in Autralia, "Steal it. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin'. Because one way or another these ************* will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that that's not right." Of course, he intended it for his albums in his own country; but people from other countries will take that to heart.

Many people will be outraged and find ways to NOT support the music industry. Whether it's by getting music under the table, buying used CD's from eBay, or resorting only to independent labels. The RIAA won't really benefit from this in the long run. But of course, there are still teenages who will also resort to iTunes.

What's scary is that LimeWire and P2P is a trap. People think that what they're doing is totally legal and then they get sued.

everyone knows you don't get anythign for free, i don't knwo anyone that trully believes that downloading music is not wrong, they all knwo it's illegal.

“massive problem of file sharing,” and that the RIAA is not out to make money but “to prove a point.”
what point may that be?? as it seems like the point trying to be made over the years has not been made.. so RIAA stop with the "not out to make money" because that is an outright lie.. we all know the truth and you can also see the truth be told by the canadian music artists right here - http://www.musiccreators.ca/wp/

The courts of the United States of America have torn down the ideology of justice and erected in its place a shrine to capitalism. Justice is dead.

Yes, the courts, congress, the house of reps, state legislatures, chief of police here in town, everybody!! They have all torn down the ideology of justice and erected in its place a shrine to capitalism.

It's all about that almight dollar!!

In the first such lawsuit to go to trial, the record companies accused Thomas of downloading the songs without permission and offering them online through a Kazaa file-sharing account. Thomas denied wrongdoing and testified that she didn't have a Kazaa account.

Kazaa is asking to be caught.

kazaa is doing nothign ilegal, refer to the Sony case with VCR's, sony was cleared of any wrongdoing for VCR's ebing able to copy, i find it funny that sony has changed it's tune now that it looses money through piracy, all in all they can ghet rid of the file sharing apps, however all they are doing is stopping an extremely efficient way of transfering files whcih can and does get used for entirely legal purposes, people copied stuff when all they had was tape decks. piracy will never end

On that account, all mp3 players are illegal, since they allow the reproduction of illegaly obtained music files.

Whether music piracy is "a problem" or not is beside the point and the Judge should bar the president of the RIAA from testifying. Music piracy is against the law regardless of how wide-spread it may be or not be. If the RIAA has solid evidence against Mr. Thomas then they should win their case against him. If the jury has been presented with solid evidence that Mr. Thomas broke the law and still does not vote against him then the Judge will step in and over-turn the jury's decision (or something along those lines).

The voting choices are kinda poor. Although I do not agree with the aggressive practices of the RIAA, I do think that the judge was doing the right thing by baring irrelevant testimony. Just because the judge did the right thing, doesn't mean he is bias against the RIAA...just means he has a head on his shoulders.

Imagine if during a murder trial the prosecutor put a witness on the stand that just talked about how big of a problem murder is in our society. It wouldn't be relevant, and the jury shouldn't hear about it to make their decision regarding a single case.

Shadrack said,
holy cow! Now that is unfair.

Well, want to take back what you said earlier? Music Piracy may be illegal but fining some one $220,000 should be illegal!

SacrificialSoldier said,
Well, want to take back what you said earlier? Music Piracy may be illegal but fining some one $220,000 should be illegal!

Its like sending pot smokers to prison for 20 years....

SacrificialSoldier said,

Well, want to take back what you said earlier? Music Piracy may be illegal but fining some one $220,000 should be illegal!

exactly! ... cause i think it's FAR FAR worse for those pri*ks (RIAA) to fine you 220K to the average joe than it is to steal alot of mp3's... cause it hurts the average joe FAR more than it hurts the music industry.

bottom line there never going to stop piracy... it's just not realistic.

ThaCrip said,
bottom line there never going to stop piracy... it's just not realistic.

Yeah! We'll never stop murderers either, so why bother?