Jamie Thomas is the single mother of two who lost a copyright infringement lawsuit earlier this month to the music industry. The $222,000 damage award represents $9,250 for each of 24 recordings Ms. Thomas allegedly placed on Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file sharing network on which millions of users exchange unauthorized copies of recordings.
Ms. Thomas plans to appeal the judgment based on the argument that merely placing the recordings on Kazaa and making them available for download is insufficient for copyright infringement liability. She will argue that in order to win the lawsuit, the music industry should have been obligated to prove her actions resulted in a distribution of those recordings which would only occur if people actually downloaded the recordings placed on the network. There are legal arguments on both sides and it will be interesting to see how the appeals court rules on the question of whether “making available” is equivalent to “distribution”.
There are other elements of this case that intrigue me.