Capitol v. Thomas

Last October Jammie Thomas was found liable for copyright infringement for file sharing and hit with a $222 000 judgment. Thomas' case was the first file sharing lawsuit to reach a jury verdict.

On May 15 2008 Judge Michael Davis requested briefing on whether Thomas should receive a new trial. The court said it was concerned that it might have made a mistake by instructing the jury that Thomas could be found liable if she simply made copyrighted songs available in a shared folder. There's good reason for this concern — as EFF noted at the time and several courts have since affirmed "making available" is not a cause of action under copyright law. EFF weighed in as amicus in June of 2008.

On September 24 2008 the concluded that simply "making available" is not a distribution and on that basis granted Thomas a new trial. The judge also called upon Congress to amend the Copyright Act to avoid the award of damages in P2P cases that are "unprecedented and oppressive."

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