Day 2 of Tenenbaum trial sees industry folk, family on the stand
Opening arguments Tuesday in Joel Tenenbaum's file-sharing trial covered both the you-don't-know-he-did and the so-what-if-he-did angles the defense advanced in pre-trial discussions, with various witnesses testifying that they hadn't used the "[email protected]" account on Mr. Tenenbaum's machine even as defense lead Charles Neeson told the jury that "Everyone could download [songs] for free. And millions and millions did. Joel was one of those millions."
Writing for Recording Industry vs The People, Mark Bourgeois supplied detailed information on the five witnesses and two items of deposition testimony presented on Tuesday. The depositions were given by Mr. Tenenbaum's sisters, who spoke about their brother's music tastes and said they'd never downloaded from his machine.
The live witnesses were Wade Leak of Sony BMG, who testified that (among other things) every song in Mr. Tenenbaum's shared folder represented a lost sale, and that the RIAA "initiated this litigation campaign to educate the public that P2P file-sharing is wrong"; Chris Connelly, an employee of MediaSentry/MediaDefender, the firm used by the RIAA to search the peer-to-peer networks for sharers; Mark Matteo of Cox Communications, Mr. Tenenbaum's ISP; James Chappel, a high school friend of Mr. Tenenbaum's whom Mr. Tenenbaum once hinted might have done some of that file-sharing; and Dr. Arthur Tenenbaum, Mr. Tenenbaum's father, who noted that he warned his son about sharing several years ago.
The trial is already causing crispiness among observers, many of whom are still feeling a bit frizzy in the wake of the Jammie Thomas retrial. Ray Beckerman in particular seems to have thrown in the towel, stating that he will not comment further on the case: "The Judge's allowing jury selection to go awry, and allowing all sorts of irrelevant material to be adduced in opening statements and in direct testimony, saddens me.... I will just hope that the correct points are eventually touched upon, and that the case will be decided upon the law and the facts, which at this point seems highly unlikely."
Doing double duty at Ars Technica and on his own Copyrights & Campaigns blawg, Ben Sheffner seems to have all but shifted to post-mortem mode, devoting an entire and fascinating post at the end of the day to "Team Tenenbaum's biggest mistake" -- not getting an expert in place to testify as to damages. (The defense offered a potential witness, but more than three months after the deadline to do so.)
Wednesday's calendar is believed to include testimony from Joel Tenenbaum himself, and the plaintiffs say they'll likely wrap up their case Thursday morning, leaving the rest of the week for the defense's presentation and jury instructions -- though squeezing in actual deliberations could be tricky.