On Friday February 10, EFF filed an amicus brief I helped write. The case is Capitol Records, Inc. et al. v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset. Capitol had sued Ms. Thomas for unauthorized file-sharing of 24 songs. After a jury awarded Capitol $1.5 million in damages, the trial judge reduced the award to $54,000, which is still many, many times the actual possible damages of about $360 (24 songs times $15/album on which they appear). Capitol appealed, asking that the jury's million-dollar award be reinstated.
EFF's amicus brief discussed two issues. First, it argued that statutory copyright damage awards must pass constitutional due process review, which the jury's $1.5 million award clearly didn't. Second, the brief rejected Capitol's argument that "distribution" of a copyrighted work included merely "making available" the work to others, instead of an actual transfer of unauthorized copies.