First Music Case May Get a New Trial

A Minnesota woman ordered to pay $222,000 in the nation’s first music download trial may get another chance with a jury. The issue is whether record companies have to prove anyone else actually downloaded their copyrighted songs, or whether it is enough to argue that a defendant made copyrighted music available for copying. U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis instructed jurors that making sound recordings available without permission violates record company copyrights “regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown.” However, Davis said that may have been a mistake.

He wrote that he researched a 1993 ruling from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Minnesota, that said infringement requires “an actual dissemination of either copies or phonorecords.”  Oral arguments on the question of a new trial are planned for July 1 in Duluth, where the trial was held.

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