Friday, July 31, 2009

What Nonsense: Jury awards $675K in Boston music downloading case

Jury awards $675K in Boston music downloading case

by DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer - Sat Aug 1, 2009 12:57AM EDT

BOSTON - A federal jury on Friday ordered a Boston University graduate student who admitted illegally downloading and sharing music online to pay $675,000 to four record labels.

Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs. The only issue for the jury to decide was how much in damages to award the record labels. Under federal law, the recording companies were entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement. But the law allows as much as $150,000 per track if the jury finds the infringements were willful. The maximum jurors could have awarded in Tenenbaum's case was $4.5 million. Jurors ordered Tenenbaum to pay $22,500 for each incident of copyright infringement, effectively finding that his actions were willful. The attorney for the 25-year-old student had asked the jury earlier Friday to "send a message" to the music industry by awarding only minimal damages. Tenenbaum said he was thankful that the case wasn't in the millions and contrasted the significance of his fine with the maximum. "That to me sends a message of 'We considered your side with some legitimacy,'" he said. "$4.5 million would have been, 'We don't buy it at all.'" He added he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict stands.

read the rest here:

What nonsense. If some guy stole 18 compact disc from Costco would he have been fined $675K? Of course not. Heck, if someone stole the equivalent of thirty songs--about $30--and it was a Federal crime, would the fine have been this high? Of course not. Even the minimum fine of $750 per song would have been a pretty stiff penalty: $22,500. This fine is crap.

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