Defendant knocks Web illiterate juror in RIAA case
Comments made by one of the jurors who found Jammie Thomas guilty of file sharing admits to never having been on the Internet.
Jammie Thomas is hard to rattle.
She doesn't raise her voice or get angry when a reporter asks her to read a story where she is called a "liar" by a member of the jury that found her guilty of copyright violations and ordered her to pay the recording industry $220,000 in damages.
She calmly reads the quotes by juror Michael Hegg that appeared Tuesday in a story by Wired.com. She then draws a bead on where Hegg said he is a father, former snowmobile racer and has never been on the Internet.
"I don't need to say too much, obviously," Thomas told CNET News.com on Wednesday. "They admit that they are computer illiterate. This person (Hegg) has never been on the Internet, so how can he say whether my story is possible? I've been contacted by Internet security experts who said that spoofing my address would have been trivial. Internet illiterate people are not going to be able to understand that."
Thomas was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sharing 24 songs online and infringing on intellectual property. Instead of settling for a few thousands dollars like most of those sued by the group, Thomas is the first to take her case to a jury.
In the interview with Wired's David Kravets, Hegg, a steelworker from Duluth, Minn., said that during deliberations, the jurythat Thomas was guilty. They then spent five hours trying to decide what to award the recording industry. Hegg, 38, said the jurors did not believe her story that someone spoofed her IP address.
"She should have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars," Hegg told Wired. "Spoofing? We're thinking, 'Oh my God, you got to be kidding.' She's a liar."
Thomas, 30, has announced that she intends toby the RIAA. She said she is seeking to argue her case before someone who is more tech-savvy.
But if Thomas can produce experts that can prove its possible her IP was spoofed, why didn't she present them in court?
"We didn't have the money to put those experts on the stand," Thomas said. "(Hegg) can say my story is not true, but at the same time you're talking about a person with no technology background whatsoever. He said his wife is an Internet guru, but his wife wasn't on the jury."
Thomas also was disappointed that the jury may have been punishing her for crimes committed by others.
"We wanted to send a message," Hegg said in the Wired interview, "that you don't do this, that you have been warned."
Thomas doesn't believe the law allows that.
The jury "saw those feeds that showed 2 million people shared using (file-sharing service) Kazaa and they want to hold me responsible for that," Thomas said. "The law states that you can't hold me responsible for the actions of another. This is one of the reasons."
On a separate issue, a Web site created to accept donations from Thomas' supporters has crashed after receiving more than 500,000 visitors, she said. Freejammie.com is being moved to a new host server and should reappear in a few days.
Thomas said the site has raised more than $9,000 and the money will go to pay her legal bills.