Jurors in the RIAA trial won't talk

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

Published October 9, 2007 3:52PM (EDT)

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.

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.

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]

By 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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