Music sharing lawsuit goes to court

An online music service website.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Some people who've illegally downloaded songs will face the music this week. Or rather, face the music industry in court.
The country's first trial over online music sharing gets underway in Minnesota.
Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: The record industry has sued 26,000 people for illegally sharing music online. Most have settled out of court for $3,000-$5,000.

But Jammie Thomas decided to go to trial. The music labels showed evidence that Thomas uploaded songs from her computer to a music sharing service.

Frank Pasquale of Seton Hall Law School says nothing was too private.

Frank Pasquale: They went into Match.com accounts, a dating service.

A jury will soon decide whether Thomas violated copyright laws and how much she might be fined.

Alfred Yen of Boston College Law School says the size of the fine could put a stop to the music industry's lawsuits against downloaders.

Alfred Yen: A big part of this case is how much money is really at stake. If it's only a few hundred dollars per song, that's not nearly as serious as thousands of dollars per song.

But if the jury finds a big award for the record companies, Yen says the music industry will continue suing its customer base.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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