Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
579 F. Supp. 2d 1210 (2008)
Jammie Thomas (defendant) downloaded and distributed copyright-protected songs, using the peer-to-peer file-sharing program Kazaa. Capitol Records, Incorporated and other recording companies (plaintiffs) held exclusive copyrights in 24 sound recordings. The plaintiffs sued Thomas, seeking injunctive relief and statutory damages. During the trial, jury instruction 15 stated that the copyright holder’s exclusive-distribution right was infringed if recordings of copyrighted works were made available on a peer-to-peer network without licenses, regardless of whether the copyright holder showed that the works were actually distributed. The jury was also instructed about the plaintiff’s exclusive right to reproduce copyright-protected works. The jury found Thomas liable and awarded damages of $9,250 per infringement. The jury’s special-verdict form did not specify the basis on which liability was found or the rationale for damages. The district court determined sua sponte that it was necessary to reevaluate jury instruction 15, specifically whether actual distribution was a necessary element for infringement of distribution rights.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Davis, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 176,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.