After expressing doubts
about the validity of his decision, Judge Michael Davis today declared a mistrial
in the case of Jammie Thomas, the nation’s first and only federal jury verdict against a peer-to-peer file sharer. The move (at least for now) eliminates the $222,000 fine demanded by the RIAA for claims that she “made available” 24 copyrighted songs on the KaZaA file sharing network.
The Judge granted Thomas a new trial, as he said he might do a while back. The issue the court is now considering is whether or not the RIAA had to first prove that other people had downloaded from Thomas’ files or if making them available for download was enough. This is a major blow to the RIAA’s legal campaign against file sharers, as it could finally make them accountable for proving their accusations.
Davis also noted that the original fine levied on Thomas of $222,000 was "wholly disproportionate" to the actual damages the RIAA incurred and urged the Congress to revise the law for peer-to-peer network cases such as this one.