Judge Hints at Mistrial in RIAA Case

     MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – A federal judge has indicated that he might declare a mistrial in a copyright infringement lawsuit he decided last October. In Capitol v. Thomas, Judge Michael Davis ruled in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America against a 32-year-old Brainerd woman who posted songs to the Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing application.

     Defendant Jammie Thomas, a mother of two, was fined $222,000 for 24 songs that had been downloaded from her Kazaa account.
     However, at a hearing held Aug. 1 in Duluth, the judge said he believes he may have erred in the jury instructions he gave. At the time, he told the jury that posting the files was a copyright violation.
     Since then, Davis said he has been alerted to legal precedent indicating that mere placement of files on a site is not by itself illegal. Davis said he would make a decision by the end of September.

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