Friday, June 20, 2008
Several law professors have filed a brief supporting the position of the only defendant to have gone to trial in a downloading piracy case brought by the RIAA. The profs, variously at the University of Idaho, Villanova University, Southern New England School of Law, University of Minnesota, Hamline University, Suffolk University, Santa Clara University, William Mitchell College of Law, and University of Virginia, support Jammie Thomas's contention that simply making a copyrighted song available for download is not the same thing as actually infringing the copyright owner's rights, if there's no proof that the song is actually downloaded. The judge in the case now says he may have erred in his instructions to the jury. The Chronicle of Higher Education has made a link available to the law profs' brief in the case, in which they explain why they agree that the jury instructions are erroneous, because for several reasons, making something available does not constitute "distribution".