Jammie Thomas jury empaneled, RIAA testimony begins
Twitter is currently doing landmark work in providing a voice for the events in Tehran, but on a much smaller scale, it and larger blogging services served well on Monday as Jammie Thomas-Rasset's second trial kicked off in Minnesota. Several bloggers were present in the audience, and readers following the #riaa tag on Twitter were likewise treated to multiple sources of information.
Some of the observers present are "blawgers" -- lawyers who blog. Marc Bourgeois, blogging for Recording Industry vs. The People this week, was in the house, as was Copyrights and Campaign's Ben Sheffner. In all, Bourgeois estimated in a tweet that 15-20 media folk were present. Not tweeting, however, was the seven-woman, five-man jury -- Judge Michael Davis specifically warned them not to tweet, post, email, text, IM, ping, pong, bing, bada or do anything else about the case that could cause a third trial.
Mr. Sheffner noted that the new jury for the most part knew nothing previously about the case. Many are iPod users, and one of the two college students undergoing voir dire said s/he had previously used Limewire but stopped "because I didn't want to get caught and end up here." He noted that MediaSentry's representative, who spoke about what that service allegedly detected, was a solid witness, and flagged that the certified copies of copyright registerations that were admitted into evidence -- there were eight -- got there despite defense attorney Kiwi Camara's objections. Blogging after hours, Mr. Sheffner elucidated two rather complex points about which both parties were instructed to file briefs overnight. Oral arguments will begin on those briefs at 8:00 am CDT today.
Mr. Bourgeois likewise backed up his tweets with an extensive post, walking readers through the day step by step. He noted that Mr. Camara appears to be pursuing a "prove she did it" line with the jury -- if all else fails, goes the theory, there's no technology that can prove those were her hands on the keyboard. (That's a more likely strategy in a criminal trial than in a civil trial such as this one.)
But it was a journalist who caught certain moments of the trial's human spark on Monday. Writing for Ars Technica, Nate Anderson noted that Kiwi Camara has a way of getting under a witness' skin -- most particularly Sony Entertainment representative Gary Leak's snappish assertion that a $150,000 fine per song seemed fair to him. Anderson notes that Ms. Thomas-Rasset is expected to take the day today; all three of our intrepid social-blog-journal-twitterists are likewise expected to be on the scene and reporting.