Jurors in the RIAA trial won't talk

How did a panel decide how much to fine a file-sharer? We may never know.



Farhad Manjoo
October 9, 2007 7:52PM (UTC)

How did jurors decide that Jammie Thomas owed $9,250 for each song she shared on Kazaa? It seems an odd number, doesn't it?

Federal law allowed for Thomas to be fined up to $150,000 per violation. But in a court in Duluth, Minn., last week, where they handed down a pro-industry judgment in the recording industry's first full file-sharing trial, the jury seemed to pick a number right out of their ... heads.

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After the trial, reporters waited to press the flesh with jurors, but the panel walked out without saying a word. The judge had sealed their identities, but Wired's indefatigable David Kravets set out to track them down.

Kravets managed to find and call up three of them -- "an elderly male funeral home operator," "a middle-aged female nurse," and a middle-aged man who had distinguished himself during jury selection for his declaration that he was "computer illiterate." (The defendant, meanwhile, is a 30-year-old woman who, what with the MySpace and the blogging and the online shopping and the YouTubing, seems to consider the Web her second home; a jury of her peers, really?)

But the three jurors wouldn't talk to Kravets. He speculates that given the unpopularity of their decision, they're perhaps scared for their safety.

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That could be true, but I hazard it's that they simply couldn't figure how to operate that new-fangled phone whatchamajig that keeps ringing like a church bell during supper.

RIAA Jurors Keeping Mum [Threat Level]


Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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