The groundbreaking case of the RIAA vs. P2P file sharer Jammie Thomas, who was ordered to pay nearly £150,000 in damages for making music available on the net for free, has been overturned.
US District Judge Michael Davis of Duluth told jurors in the original case that simply making the music available was a breach of copyright, and Thomas was found guilty based on that theory.
However, Davis has since changed his mind on that decision, apparently off his own back, and ruled that actual proof of distribution to others needs to be proven.
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This means Thomas has been let off the massive fine, the first of its kind and one that was to lead to more of the same for the millions of file-sharers the world over.
But now, with the RIAA having failed to penalise anyone in court – merely settling out of court with a few thousand alleged copyright infringers – the future looks slightly bleaker in terms of winning back the millions lost in free file sharing.
"Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online – and would solely benefit those who seek to freeload off plaintiff's investment," said RIAA attorney Timothy Reynolds, according to Wired.
However, the re-trial won't deter the RIAA, which believes the case is still a strong one, and the 24 songs downloaded by online detectives from Thomas still make the basis of a decent case.
The world's illegal downloaders wait with bated breath...