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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
January 22, 2010
(202) 289-8928
Sydnor Statement on Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, in Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, Judge Michael Davis of the District of Minnesota held that it was just unfair for two separate juries to impose significant damage awards upon a file-sharing defendant. The following statement may be attributed to Thomas Sydnor, Senior Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation:

"Today's decision in Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset begins the end of a protracted farce.  For over two years, Judge Michael Davis has opined that he is both the only federal official and the only Minnesota citizen who can reasonably discern what the Copyright Act means or how it should be applied when a file-sharing defendant falsely accuses her children in order to conceal her intent to aid-and-abet corporations that intended to create global, for-profit copyright-piracy rings.  

"After the first jury in the Thomas case imposed statutory damages of $9,250/song, Judge Davis recklessly opined in dicta that a reasonable jury could have imposed a statutory-damage award of no more than $250/song.  Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas, 579 F. Supp. 2d 1210, 1227 (D. Minn. 2008).  Today, Judge Davis has reversed the judgment of a second jury by finding that his prior dicta were, at worse, no more than 1000% wrong."

"I hope that the Eighth Circuit can soon review this and the equally injudicious display of self-aggrandizing illogic that let Judge Davis conclude that it was entirely unreasonable for three Presidents, three Registers of Copyrights, thousands of Members of Congress, many federal officials and scores of federal judges to conclude that our copyright laws do provide the making-available right required by at least eleven international agreements."

Sydnor is available for comment. Please contact Amy Smorodin at

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation