Feeds

World's dumbest file-sharer: Judge to the rescue

Verdict may be nullified

Top three mobile application threats

The Judge who presided over the first successful prosecution of an American P2P file sharer has hinted that he has changed his mind - and may nullify the trial.

Jammie Thomas sold her knickers online (see pic) after being convicted of copyright infringement last year. A jury of her peers in Duluth, Minnesota wasn't impressed by what they regarded as a time-wasting trial, when she should have copped to a small fine:

"Her defense sucked... I don't know what the fuck she was thinking, to tell you the truth," said jury member Michael Hegg at the time.

Stuff the RIAA! Jammie Thomas fund-raising thong

Jammie Thomas fundraising thong

But now Judge Davis thinks that the basis of the record companies' pursuit of file-sharers sucks, too. It hinges on the prosecution's use of the "making available" argument. Last October, the prosecution successfully argued that leaving songs in a shared folder on a network means making them available, leaving the sharer liable for infringement damages. That's what Judge Davis told the Duluth jury, too. The problem is, the Copyright Act doesn't use the words "making available".

What the Act does do, however, is define five exclusive rights in the copyright 'bundle': Reproduction, adaptation, publication, performance and display. And for sound recordings, it defines "publication" as "offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display".

Which seems clear enough.

But the courts have expressed differing views on the matter. Within the space of a fortnight earlier this year, we saw two courts accept the argument that shared folders aren't publication while another rejected it. (See Is sharing a folder copyright infringement?.)

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.