RIAA Finally Begins Their Court Battles

October 2, 2007

RIAA Finally Begins Their Court Battles After naming 20,000 people as being copyright infringers, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has finally gotten their first day in court.

Thanks to the intrepid reporting of Ars Technica, there is an excellent account of the first half of the day’s proceedings out-and-about for everyone to read.

The case of Capital Records, et al v. Jamie Thomas started off with jury selection this morning, which went fairly quickly, and included questioning of perspective jurors over their knowledge of music downloading.  One woman was excused for saying the record companies were worrying too much about the act, but most of the other jurors got through with little resistance.

As with any court case, the opposing counsels presented their opening arguments, laying the most basic groundwork of what they planned to cover.  The plaintiffs, while saying Thomas has illegally shared 1,700 songs over KaZaA, are going after only 25 of the files shared.  There is some discrepancy over what dates some communication was sent, which factors in to the defendants stance, and no evidence beyond IP and MAC addresses as to who was actually operating the account that the RIAA had targeted.

After opening statements, the plaintiffs called their first witness, Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG.  Ms. Pariser set the stage for how damaging downloading is to the music industry, and concluded the morning session by demonstrating how the sound qualities of legal and illegal files are exactly the same.

The case is expected to wrap up by Thursday before it is handed over to the jury to decide the ultimate outcome.  We will attempt to keep you updated as things proceed.

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