First music download trial-by-jury underway

Duluth (MN) - The Recording Industry Association of America has threatened thousands of users with lawsuits for illegal downloading, but the first one to actually go to trial just began this week.

The RIAA claims that 30-yea old Jammie Thomas shared more than 1,700 songs illegally on Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network.

The lawsuit spells this out by saying, "This individual was distributing these audio files for free over the Internet under the username ’tereastarr@KaZaA’ to potentially millions of other KaZaA users." The RIAA will have to prove this allegation, and also prove that Thomas was in full possession of that account.

As she entered the courtroom in Duluth, Minnesota, Thomas was quoted as saying, "I do know that I didn’t do this, and the jury will hear that I did not do this."

Her main defense is that she replaced her computer hard drive right around the time that online investigators at SafeNet recorded her computer as sharing numerous files over the P2P application. The RIAA will argue she was just trying to cover her tracks.

Thousands of other people have faced the same legal pressure from the RIAA in the past, but they all have settled out of court, usually paying a large fee for each song they pirated. This case will set the first legal precedent for this specific kind of copyright infringement.

The trial is expected to only last a few days.

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