We are headed northwest next week for the re-trial of Jammie Thomas-Rasset (or as we like to call it, Part Deux). What we know heading into this case: the facts and evidence that compelled a jury of peers to unanimously find her liable and hand down a $222,000 verdict have not changed. We are confident a new jury will see it no differently. It is unfortunate that despite the strength of this evidence, Ms. Thomas has repeatedly refused to accept our offers of a fair and reasonable settlement. We’re left with no other option than moving forward with this case. Her choice, not ours.
Much has been written about the defendant’s new counsel and his interesting past. We can be sure this trial will not be short on fireworks and head-scratching legal maneuvers from the other side. Stay tuned to this site for daily (or semi-hourly, if my thumbs can work the blackberry quickly enough to accurately capture all the Latin legal terminology thrown back and forth).
While we’re on this subject, let’s (again) set the record straight on some of the silly statements espoused by the new attorneys for Ms. Thomas-Rasset:
1) We’ve never once sought maximum damages in our cases against individual downloaders. Claims of astronomical damages may help generate a headline but they bear no resemblance to reality. We let courts and juries decide the appropriate dollar amount for any case that reaches that stage.
2) Settlement discussions and payments are confidential, thus any guess of total collections is grossly overestimated. Suffice to say, this program has never been about the dollars—we lose money on it and any recoveries are a small fraction of the enormous toll wrought upon the music community.
3) The fair use defense is a non-starter across the board. Every court to have considered it in the context of illegal file-sharing has flatly rejected it. Even outspoken academics who would like to grossly expand the definition of fair use agree that it does not pass the smell test in cases like this.