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Nesson Amicus Brief

Nesson Amicus Brief

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Published by Ben Sheffner
Nesson Amicus Brief in Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset
Nesson Amicus Brief in Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset

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Published by: Ben Sheffner on Dec 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Federal Rule 59(d) empowers the Court on its own motionto "order a new trial for any reason that would justifygranting one on a party’s motion."Jammie Thomas has been tried three times, each timeaccording to a script that has led to outlandish juryawards. Clearly something is wrong in the interpretation andapplication of the law that produces and replicates suchresult.
 Amicus Curiae urges the Court, on its own motion, torecognize the errors of the previous proceedings againstJammie Thomas and to enter a judgment in her favornotwithstanding the verdict.
In the defendant's third trial, the Court introducedthe case by twice telling the jurors that the plaintiffs areentitled to a statutory damage award between $750 and$150000 for each of 24 infringements. Tim Reynolds, counsel
CASE 0:06-cv-01497-MJD-LIB Document 431 Filed 11/19/10 Page 1 of 12
for the recording industry, in his opening statement, waspermitted to tell the jury that his clients could have suedJammie Thomas for 1700 infringements but chose to sue foronly 24 infringements, and to urge the jury to award damagessufficient to deter piracy on the net, not just JammieThomas but all music piracy on the net. At trial, executivesof the recording companies were permitted to testify thatpiracy on the net caused half the employees of the plaintiffcompanies to lose their jobs and the companies to lose halftheir value, measured in billions. Despite the fact thatthis trial was to be on damages only, weighty testimony wasadmitted to prove that copyrighted music was downloaded tothe defendant's computer: A digital investigator, anexecutive from an internet service provider, and a forensicexpert were permitted to testify at length. The defendantwas then impeached with evidence that she had not owned upforthrightly to her infringements. At the close of the evidence the Court instructed thejury that it should award between $750 and $150,000 for eachinfringement:
The instructions I am about to give you now are in writing and will beavailable to you in the jury room. All instructions, whenever given andwhether in writing or not, must be followed. Do not allow sympathy orprejudice to influence you. The case must be decided by you solelyand exclusively on the evidence received here in court. You shouldconsider each expert opinion received in evidence in this case, andgive it such weight as you think it deserves.Your verdict depends on whether you find certain facts have beenproved by the greater weight of the evidence. The burden of provinga fact is upon the party whose claim depends upon that fact. Theparty who has the burden of proving a fact must prove it by thegreater weight of the evidence. In order to find that a fact has beenproved by the greater weight of the evidence, you must find that it ismore likely true than not true. It is determined by considering all ofthe evidence and deciding which evidence is more believable.
CASE 0:06-cv-01497-MJD-LIB Document 431 Filed 11/19/10 Page 2 of 12
You should consider and decide this case as a dispute betweenpersons of equal standing in the community, of equal worth, andholding the same or similar situations in life. A corporation is entitledto the same fair trial as a private individual. All persons, includingcorporations, and other organizations stand equal before the law, andare to be treated as equals.This is an action for copyright infringement. A “copyright” is theexclusive right to copy. One who reproduces or distributes acopyrighted work during the term of the copyright, infringes thecopyright, unless licensed by the copyright owner.“Willful” means that a defendant had knowledge that her actionsconstituted copyright infringement or acted with reckless disregard ofthe copyright holder’s rights. You are hereby instructed that a jury ina previous trial has already determined that the defendant’sinfringement of plaintiffs’ copyrights was willful. In this case, there isno issue as to the defendant’s liability for willful copyrightinfringement. As a result, your sole responsibility is to determine theamount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs for the defendant’swillful infringement of the plaintiffs’ copyrights.Each plaintiff has elected to recover “statutory damages” instead ofactual damages and profits. A copyright holder may recoverstatutory damages even if it did not submit evidence regarding actualdamages. Under the Copyright Act, each plaintiff is entitled to a sumof not less than $750 or more than $30,000 per act of infringement(that is, per sound recording downloaded or distributed withoutlicense).Because the defendant’s conduct was willful, then each plaintiff isentitled to a sum of up to $150,000 per act of infringement (that is,per sound recording downloaded or distributed without license), asyou consider just.In determining the just amount of statutory damages for an infringingdefendant, you may consider the willfulness of the defendant’sconduct, the defendant’s innocence, the defendant’s continuation ofinfringement after notice or knowledge of the copyright or in recklessdisregard of the copyright, the effect of the defendant’s prior orconcurrent copyright infringement activity, whether profit or gain wasestablished, harm to the plaintiff, the value of the copyright, the needto deter this defendant and other potential infringers, and anymitigating circumstances.
CASE 0:06-cv-01497-MJD-LIB Document 431 Filed 11/19/10 Page 3 of 12

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