Here’s what happened: Last year, in the first ever file-sharing trial, a jury found Jammie Thomas liable for copyright infringement for offering to share 24 songs on the Kazaa file-sharing network. Thomas got hit with a $222,000 verdict. But last month Judge Michael Davis said he was going to reconsider his trial instructions. At trial, he’d told the jury that merely making songs available for distribution — known in copyright circles as the “making available” standard — was enough to constitute a copyright violation. In other words, the record companies didn’t have to prove actual distribution took place.
Not only has Judge Davis now decided his instructions were wrong, but he’s also imploring Congress to change copyright laws to prevent excessive awards against individuals in similar cases. Here’s the AP story, and here’s a blog post from Ray Beckerman’s Recording Industry v. The People blog, where you’ll find a link to Davis’s opinion.
Full story here.
Wired Listening Post contributor David Kravets has a great recap titled “An Essay Concerning MPAA Understanding of ‘Making Available’ in P2P Context”.