RIAA v. Thomas Heads to Supreme Court

It’s said that “Good men never die”, and it seems to hold true for bad court cases too. The court case between Thomas and the RIAA has now been dragging on for more than 5 years, but the home stretch might be in sight as the case comes to the US Supreme Court

This case is notable for being both the first major file-sharing case in the US over the P2P activity of a regular user; multiple court cases and the vast swings in damages; and the size of the damages awarded, despite the lack of evidence. (For those commenters that like to claim she stole, had it been a theft case, she’d have won years ago)

The appeals court sent things back to the original $222,000 award back in September, which has now paved the way for an appeal to the US Supreme Court, if it’ll hear it (they didn’t hear Tenenbaum, or Harper).

It’s unlikely to go well for Thomas as the Supreme Court is very pro-copyright, putting work back under copyright that had already entered the public domain in a case earlier this year.

Nor will the artists allegedly harmed by piracy benefit much. In the (extremely unlikely) event of Thomas finding some way to come up with the cash, it won’t go to the artists, as we’ve seen before with the Limewire settlement last year, or the Pirate Bay case. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if the artists were being billed for the hundreds of thousands of dollars this case has cost to prosecute.

The only winners out of all this are music industry lawyers, and what does that say for how well copyright is working?


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