Blown To Bits

Battle of the Experts in the Jammie Thomas Case

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 by Harry Lewis

This is the sole case of copyright infringement by downloading that had actually gone to trial, prior to the case of Joel Tenenbaum in which Professor Charles Nesson is active. The Thomas case, which we discuss on page 198, is being re-tried after the judge threw out the first decision. Today Thomas’s expert, Prof. Yongdae Kim of the University of Minnesota, filed his report, which includes a strong attack on the evidence against Thomas and also on the report of the opposing expert. The site “RIAA v. the People” has a good summary, and a hotlink to Kim’s full report. For me the killer sentence is this:

MediaSentry claims to have much experience in identifying individual committing copyright infringement. However, they insist that their methods are proprietary and thus cannot be subject to scrutiny by an impartial third party. No academic studies exist of their internal investigative techniques, methods, software, data collection practices, or even employee training in retaining collected data in a way that would allow for it to be used as evidence at a trial.

MediaSentry is the private police force of the RIAA, of which Nesson also complains. How on earth can one defend oneself against a private investigator who makes a claim about what you did but says that its methodology for gathering the evidence is proprietary and even the judge can’t review it?

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