Duluth jury decides Brainerd woman must pay $222,000 for downloaded music files
DULUTH, Minn. -- A 12-person jury ruled here today that 30-year-old Jammie Thomas of Brainerd pirated 24 copyrighted music recordings and must pay $222,000.
The ruling could set precedent, determining what proof is needed to find someone liable for copyright infringement.
The verdict ended three days of testimony and questioning in U.S. District Court against Thomas, a single mother of two who was accused of downloading and sharing certain music files. Six recording companies sought damages that could have reached millions of dollars.
The case attracted national and global interest for the first-ever jury trial of someone accused of pirating music files.
Thomas testified Wednesday that she had never heard of KaZaA and never used the peer-to-peer file sharing service on her computer.
But a computer security expert for the recording industry said all computer forensic evidence points to Thomas being guilty of copyright infringement.
Investigators for the plaintiffs provided jurors evidence that the IP address (a number assigned to a subscriber connected to an Internet Service Provider), a modem Media Access Control address and Thomas' username all link her to the pirating.
Minneapolis defense attorney Brian Toder said he and Thomas can't explain what happened, but that it wasn't proven his client shared copyrighted files. Toder offered theories that there could have been a computer party at Thomas' home or someone could have been outside her window with a laptop.
Thomas testified that despite the plaintiffs producing exhibits with her computer identifiers printed next to the computer screenshots, she was not the one who uploaded the music to the file-sharing service. She had no explanation for why she was identified as the pirate.