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World's Dumbest File Sharer demands retrial

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Attorneys for Jammie Thomas, the defendant in the first P2P file sharing trial, have persuaded her to demand a retrial.

Thomas was fined $220,000 by her fellow citizens in Duluth, Minnesota, for making copyright material available for download on Kazaa, so she may have little left to lose.

While the jurors had little difficulty establishing her guilt, Thomas was slapped with a fine designed to deter industrial-scale pirates, such as commercial CD copying operations that can produce thousands of copies an hour. The statutory fine is between $750 and $30,000 per infingement; the jury set Thomas's fine at around $10,000 for every song she made available.

The jurors declined to go for the minimum, one told Wired last week, because they found Thomas's convoluted and improbably defence contemptible.

(Surprisingly, Thomas has retained the attorney.)

Thomas's attorney wants the damages lowered because "punitive" fines may violate constitutional due process protections (for an explanation of how this may work, see here).

Then again, the place to fight such battles is "Congress". And the way to ensure no one is ever sued for P2P file sharing again is to monetise the networks - which can be done for a few cents a week.

Why do these legal pantomimes drag on? Well, just as some people will always be shocked by rude words on the telly, some people will always be shocked by having to pay artists. It's just the way they are. ®

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