A federal judge has granted a new trial to a Minnesota woman convicted of pirating music files in the nation’s first file-sharing trial, ruling that he made an error in the jury instructions that "substantially prejudiced" her rights, the Associated Press reports. Jammie Thomas was convicted last October and a jury found her guilty of copyright infringement for offering to share 24 songs on the Kazaa file sharing network. She was ordered to pay $222,000 to six record companies. On Sept. 24, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis granted her motion for a new trial, while also imploring Congress to change copyright laws to prevent excessive awards in similar cases. At issue was whether the record companies had to prove anyone else actually downloaded their copyrighted songs, as Thomas’ lawyer argued, or whether it was enough to argue, as the industry did, that a defendant simply made copyrighted music available for copying. Relying on a 1993 appeals court decision, Davis concluded in his 44-page ruling that the law requires that actual distribution be shown. In his jury instructions, he had said it didn’t. Thomas said she was "very happy" with the decision, although she said she is not looking forward to going back to court. She was the first of thousands sued by the industry to go to trial…

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