- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A group of record companies said Jammie Thomas illegally shared everything from Enya to Swedish death metal online. Today, she will become the first of 26,000 people sued by the recording industry to take the case to trial.

The Brainerd, Minn., resident is accused of illegally sharing 1,702 songs for free on a file-sharing network. 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.

Ms. Thomas is accused of violating the song owners’ copyrights. Her lawyer said the record companies haven’t proved she shared the songs.

Most of the 26,000 people the record industry group sued have settled by paying a few thousand dollars.

“We think that speaks to the clarity of the law here,” said Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America.

But lawyers for the defendants said they settled because trials cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ms. Thomas’ lawyer, Brian Toder, said she was determined to fight. He declined to make her available for an interview.

“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.”

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

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