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"We think our case speaks to the clarity of the law here."
—-Jonathan Lamy, RIAA
FIRST FILE-SHARING
SUIT GOES TO TRIAL
RIAA Accuses Minnesota Resident of Illegally Sharing 1,702 Music Files
If you thought the Phil Spector trial was wacky, wait until you get a load of this.

A group of record companies accuses Jammie Thomas of illegally sharing music files, including Enya and a Swedish death metal band.

The Brainerd, MN, woman will become the first of 26,000 people sued by the RIAA to have their case come to trial.

Thomas is accused of illegally sharing 1,702 songs for free on a file-sharing network and violating the song owner’s copyrights. Her trial offers the first chance for both sides in the debate over online music sharing to show a jury its version of the facts. Her lawyer says the record companies haven't even proved she shared the songs.

Most of the 26,000 people the record industry group has sued have settled by paying a few thousand dollars. Thomas' lawyer, Brian Toder, said she was determined to fight the suit.

"She came into my office and was willing to pay a retainer of pretty much what they wanted to settle for," he said. "And if someone's willing to pay a lawyer rather than pay to make it go away, that says a lot."

"We think our case speaks to the clarity of the law here," said RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy.

Thomas is at risk for a judgment of more than $1.2 million. The recording association is seeking damages, set under federal law, of $750 to $30,000 for each copyright violation.

Jury selection is expected to be completed and opening statements delivered today in Duluth, MN.

The record companies claim that on Feb. 21, 2005, online investigators at SafeNet Inc. found 1,702 files shared under what they said was a Kazaa account being used by Thomas. The files included songs by Swedish death metal band Opeth, German industrial group VNV Nation and American rock band Chevelle.

"This individual was distributing these audio files for free over the Internet under the user name 'tereastarrKaZaA' to potentially millions of other Kazaa users," the recording association claims, according to court papers.

Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. Records are among the labels involved in the suit against Thomas.

In addition to filing the lawsuits, the industry group has sent 4,000 pre-lawsuit letters, Lamy said.

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