RIAA takes a different approach in music download case

The lead lawyer for the RIAA, which is representing six major music companies, has taken an interesting approach in a case against a Minnesota woman accused of illegally downloading and sharing music on t'Internet.

Instead of asking the jury in the Jammie Thomas case to place a value on the music downloaded or that the defendant had wilfully infringed on copyrights, the lead lawyer has apparently asked them to consider the need to deter others from an activity that that has eaten away at the music industry's profitability.

The legal twist is being watched with great interest by legal experts as, whilst the RIAA has filed around 26,000 lawsuits across the US in recent years, this is the first case to go to trial.

Thomas' lawyer has gone on the offensive, however, and has told jurors that music companies have never proved that she herself had distributed the music.

This, again, is an interesting defence, as the RIAA has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Thomas herself had downloaded and shared the files.

If it is proven that someone else had access to the computer - or that several people had access - then the case could be dismissed.

All in all, an interesting potentially precedent-setting case...