Life after being convicted of leaking music online

By | Published on Wednesday 12 October 2011

Ryan Adams

We often hear about the lives of accused file-sharers through their court cases and subsequent appeals. However, it’s less common to hear about how things change for them, and their relationship with music, after their lives get back to normal.

The LA Times has spoken to Rob Thomas, the owner of a Ryan Adams message board, who was prosecuted in 2005, along with another fan, for leaking tracks from the singer songwriter’s ‘Jacksonville City Nights’ album ahead of its release. Thomas received 200 days probation and was briefly required to wear an electronic tag after pleading guilty to the charge.

Thomas explained: “The case ended with my co-defendant and I accepting a plea deal. We were originally charged with felony counts, but were able to plea it down to a misdemeanour. We both received two months of house arrest and two years of probation. I was able to have my ankle bracelet removed a few days early due to good behaviour, and my probation ended a few months ahead of schedule for the same reason. There was no restitution to be paid to the record label, as they were unable to prove that they suffered any monetary loss due to the leak of the four tracks”.

Despite this, Thomas still runs his Adams fansite. Asked how he feels about the singer these days, he said: “It was quite hard to listen to his music for awhile after the case. I had shut the board down while everything was happening, and wasn’t sure if I was ever going to bring it back. After everything was resolved, I decided to bring the site back, as I missed the community that was created there … As of today, I have no problem listening to Ryan’s music. It has all been put behind me, for the most part. I treat him the same as any other artist that I listen to … He has since contacted me explaining that he did everything he could to get the charges dropped, but that it was out of his hands. Whether that is true or not, I’ll never know for sure”.

Read the full interview here.