Empire Strikes Out, Thomas Strolls…for Now

A few years ago, it was “terrorism.”

In a brilliant display of American jurisprudence, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis dismissed on September 24 last year’s “guilty” verdict (and the accompanying $222,000.00–$9,250 for each of 24 tracks–fine) against Minnesota mom and alleged illegal file-sharer Jammie Thomas. Better still, Judge Davis’s mistrial declaration calls into question the legal foundation of the RIAA’s extortion racket (30,000-plus lawsuits and counting) and urges Congress to change the laws that make such a mockery of America’s legal system possible.

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The incomparable Larry Lessig links Congress, copyright, and corruption at this year’s National Conference for Media Reform

Best of all, the decision returns the number of downloading cases the litigation-crazed, anti-privacy organization has won in court to zero–a number RIAA* boss Mitch Bainwol undoubtedly prefers on other people’s scorecards. Granted, proceeding from hearsay and the flimsiest whiff of circumstantial evidence, some loathsome, malicious, rumor-monger might speculate that it’s the number of skeletons Mr. Bainwol wishes were in his closet, that he may at one time have viewed the world from Jack Abramoff’s Skybox and/or harbored firsthand knowledge of decisions leading to the 2002 New Hampshire phone jamming scandal. But such uncharitable propositions are, at best, pure conjecture. Besides, neither he nor the Association are about to just lie down and admit defeat; even if Ms. Thomas wins the new trial, her day in court could continue for years. Let’s just hope the Sony attorney who, at the first round, swayed like a hockey mom on OxyContin to a typical Journey abomination presented as evidence doesn’t make it to the next. On second thought…

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Journey: They get money for this?

*Recording Industry Association of American,” not “Retrograde Intelligence Army of America,” or “Relentlessly Idiotic ‘A-word (plural) we don’t use in IPR blogspace’ of America.” We swear.

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