by Shana Dines
In a previous article about the lawsuit against Jammie Thomas, we discussed the arguments on either side of the "make available" theory of copyright infringement. Just this week, Judge Davis granted the pending motion for a new trial. The jury award of $222,000 in the Thomas case was considered the pride of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
While this decision strikes a definitive blow to the RIAA's campaign to sue illegal file-traders for copyright infringement, there are still plenty of other cases pending on similar issues. In another case that seemed to be leaning towards the defendants, the RIAA ultimately achieved a small victory earlier this month.
The latest victims are the Howells, a husband and wife from Phoenix, AZ who decided to proceed in court without an attorney. They had been faring relatively well for the past year, successfully blocking two summary judgments, however, the decision was ultimately ill-conceived.
The Howells are now faced with a fine of $40,850 for destroying evidence that was critical to the case against them.