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k0171 BC-MN-MNinBrief 10-10 0688

Minnesota news in brief at 8:58 p.m. CDT

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Juror: Some on music sharing jury wanted to levy $3.6M penalty

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Some of the jurors who levied a $222,000 penalty last week against a Minnesota woman for illegally sharing music online would have liked her to pay the maximum $3.6 million penalty, one juror said.

Jammie Thomas, 30, is one of about 26,000 people the music industry has sued for copyright infringement and the first to take a case to trial.

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The six record companies that sued her accused her of illegally dowloading songs and offering 1,702 for other people to download from her Kazaa file-sharing account. She denied ever using file-sharing software.

The jurors quickly agreed unanimously that Thomas, a mother of two from Brainerd, had infringed the copyrights of all 24 songs examined in the trial, juror Lisa Reinke told The Associated Press Wednesday.

The deliberations then turned to how much Thomas should pay the six record companies that sued her, with the jurors settling on an award of $9,250 per song. They could have awarded the companies as much as $150,000 per song.

——— St. Thomas changes mind, will invite Tutu to speak

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — St. Thomas University President Dennis Dease has decided that Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu will be invited to speak at the university after all.

In a letter to the St. Thomas community, Dease says that he made the wrong decision earlier this year when he said the archbishop would not be invited.

He says now he has all the facts and is changing his mind.

St. Thomas officials had said earlier that Jewish leaders they consulted had believed that Tutu made offensive remarks in a 2002 speech about Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

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The decision to bar Tutu from the campus in St. Paul created an uproar.

——— Minnesota avoids money woes, but economists still wary

ST. PAUL (AP) — Minnesota’s treasury is a bit fuller than state finance officials thought it would be — $58 million more to be precise.

The latest Department of Finance economic update showes that tax payments and other revenue were 1.7 percent above earlier estimates. Overall, the state took in $3.48 billion in those three months.

The update covers July through September. It only considers money coming in the door. A fuller economic picture that factors in expenses is due at the end of November.

The report says the U.S. economy has appeared to make its way through the housing and credit sector’s "potentially damaging squall with only minor damage."

But it notes that the economy is growing slower than forecasters predicted last winter, which could put a crimp in the state’s future revenue.

——— Peace activist enters U.S. Senate race in Minn.

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ST. PAUL (AP) — As Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer kicked off his campaign for the U.S. Senate Wednesday, a crowd of supporters waved campaign signs with a bold green-and-white color scheme — a pretty obvious tribute to another liberal college professor whose underdog success he’d like to replicate.

"We are going to run a grassroots campaign in the style of Paul Wellstone," Nelson-Pallmeyer said, in an announcement speech outside the offices of the incumbent Republican, Sen. Norm Coleman.

Generating grassroots excitement will be key for Nelson-Pallmeyer, who lacks the name recognition and fundraising prowess of fellow Democratic candidates Al Franken and Mike Ciresi. But he predicted that Democrats would respond to a candidate who expresses solid liberal views on issues, including his demand for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, support for a single-payer health care system and making the minimum wage "a living wage."

"Minnesotans are very clear — they are demanding more courageous leadership from Democrats," Nelson-Pallmeyer said. "I have never in my life held my finger to the wind in order to decide what to do."

He also dismissed any fundraising disadvantage, saying, "the DFL endorsement will not be determined by fundraising."

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