Skip to comments.Jury Awards $675,000 in Music Downloading Case
Posted on 08/01/2009 8:09:44 AM PDT by Publius804
Jury Awards $675,000 in Music Downloading Case
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsmax.com ...
I wish em luck collecting one dollar.
I am truly surprised a jury went against the little guy....especially in mass-of-2 $h!ts.....
Cash or credit?
If I was on the jury I would have awarded $60. Thats triple damages for each of the twenty $0.99 downloads.
You're not considering the songs he "shared" or illegally distributed from his computer to others on the file "sharing" network.
No music made today to worth that much money....
Then why not make the "others" pay? $675,000 in this case is insane. I can't imagine how a jury could do this to someone for media on a computer. Chances are, anyone that downloaded the crap probably wouldn't have bought it anyway, given no other option.
Really though, this is a great revenue strategy for the record labels. Since their sales have been in the toilet for the past decade, they can just collect millions from lawsuits instead!
This is ridiculous if you ask me. Yes, I know it’s property and all that, but $675,000? Really?
I am. The people who made any further downloads (if any) should be prosecuted for any copyright infringement, and would bay the same $3 triple damages per download. The plaintiff should be made to prove actual damages, not "could have been" damages. The current law stinks.
I've yet to hear an argument how a person who offers files to be downloaded from the Internet is any different from my local tax-funded library. That library has hundreds of music CDs that can be borrowed and ripped to a file on my computer. I can then use those files without paying the artist or publisher.
RIAA offered to settle for $3000. Lesson here is: Don’t broadcast to the world that you have copyrighted music that you will give away free.
“Exhibits B-1 through B-7: MediaSentry screencaps allegedly showing the contents of Joels shared folder on KaZaA”
If this copyrighted work was YOUR work, you'd be singing a different tune (pun intended). The very purpose of "statutory damages" is that it is very difficult to prove actual damages, especially for the "little guy" who gets ripped off by Internet piracy.
Removal of statutory damages would declare open season for stealing the creative work of millions of creative people.
The only way creative artists can avoid being totally screwed by Internet piracy is for a very strong application of severe penalties for infringement.
You can legally buy songs all day long for 99 cents each.
Is that too much to ask of you?
I consider it a bargain for good music and I buy songs on iTunes in that way all the time.
The 30 songs in question in this lawsuit would have cost the Defendant less than $30.
It's his own fault it's going to cost him $675,000.
The next time someone pulls along side of me in their car and decides to “share” their music with me, I hope they have to pay a fine like this. $675,000 isn’t enough.
The kid will declare bankruptcy but that will have it’s own price for him. That aside i am glad for this finding and you can bet it will send a strong message to others who are illegally stealing(I know, I know, it’s redundant) the licensed work of another. This particular individual does not even have the brains or sense to admit what he did was wrong. It’s part of the upbringing of these morons to believe they are entitled to whatever it is they want.
BTW, there was another case not long ago where a kid was also found guilty and was fined over a million dollars.
And what about the people THEY sent it to and the people THEY sent it to and the....get the idea? If I send an email with a file attached to 50 people and they pass it on to 50 people EACH that’s 2500 people who have the song and if THEY in turn pass it on to 50 people each that’s 125,000 people that now have ILLEGALLY taken this artists work without payment to the artist.
What was done here is EXACTLY the way to stop this sort of thing. Your way of charging triple damages or about $3.00 is no deterrent at all since the chances of getting caught are well worth the small penalty.
In a nation of patriots, 50 million people today will download songs in memory of this poor victim of corporate greed. Maybe we need to organize a boycott of CD purchases for week to strike back.
Well, I'll explain the difference to you.
The library "loans" a copyrighted CD to an individual for the individual's listening pleasure. If the individual illegally copies the loaned CD, that is strictly a violation of the law by the individual, and not by the library.
Someone who puts a copyrighted song on their computer to be "shared" knows that anyone who obtains a copy by downloading is violating the law. The "sharer" has no right to put a song out to be downloaded because he does not own the copyright. And, the song offered for download was most likely illegally downloaded from another "sharer" on the file "sharing" network. '
Not when Disney, Sony and other media companies pay huge dollars to congressmen to write the laws. Want to know how long something will be protected under copyright? Check how long Mickey Mouse has been around. Every time Mickey reaches the end of his copyrightable period, Disney slathers the bucks around and they extend the copyright period.
When VCRs first came out, the movie companies tried to have them outlawed. Video rental stores wouldn't exist if the movie companies had gotten their way. The first Disney video tapes had notices on them that it was illegal to rent them. It's also illegal to show copyrighted videos at a public gathering. Yep, if your church has a sleepover for the kids at the church, it's illegal to show Toy Story.
Actually, excessive "statutory damages" are akin to excessive punitive damages and cause harm to society and our justice system in general.
Applying the formula used by this jury to some copyright infringement of just some common PC software which was developed by smaller companies and/or individuals that I am aware of would result in the bankruptcy of a number of Fortune 100 corporations.
Somehow I think that the courts that are willing to sustain a $675,000 verdict against some college student would be a little less comfortable with an 80 billion dollar verdict against an iconic American corporation.
I don’t feel so bad now having spent the morning in a pawn shop looking at old albums and buying a couple for $2 each.
I don’t feel so bad now having spent the morning in a pawn shop looking at old albums and buying a couple for $2 each.
Would have, could have, what if, in my mind (I’m no lawyer) are no substitute for actual proof of damages. “Hard to prove” and low actual damages are not an argument for out of proportion jury awards.
Triple damages for each file downloaded by the defendant is a just award in these cases. The defendant should pay legal fees of the plaintiff as well.
Thats exactly my point. Thanks for reinforcing. The person who makes the illegal download is responsible, not the lender. In the case in question, Tannebaum is the lender library.
It doesn't send a message. For one, the music industry has ceased going after individual downloaders. Apparently, their business plan of "suing ourselves into profitability" wasn't working so well and created something of a backlash. For another, dowloading has become so ingrained that people look at the risks the same way they do driving. Everyone drives. Sometimes people get into accidents and get killed. It sucks to be those unlucky people but I'm not going to stop driving. It's the same for downloading. Sometimes people get caught. Sucks to be them.
My personal views on downloading go something like this. I bought Exile on Main Street on LP. I bought it again on CD. I bought it a second time on CD when my first CD got scratched (after the recording industry told us that CDs were unbreakable). Now I'm suddenly stealing if I download "Rip this Joint" off the internet? I'm taking food from the mouths of MIck Jagger's children? Screw 'em.
Trying to spin a $675,000 loss as a win strains credibility.
You are certainly entitled to your views which are shared by many. However if you are caught and taken to court your excuse will be meaningless because you have broken the law. You are not excused from the law because YOU don't agree with it. This is the problem, or one of them in this country. people have somehow gotten the idea a law does not need to be followed if it is a disagreeable one to an individual. Personally if i were an artist and my work was under license, I would go after you very hard and extract the maximum amount to send a message. Your claim it does no good could not be farther from the truth. news like this spreads like wildfire and thieves being the cowards they generally are will not look for a confrontation that will cost them a ton of money. Equating this to driving a car and having an accident is nonsense because driving a car is NOT illegal.
Iv’e downloaded plenty of songs in the past but hardly any in the past 4 years.
I would say 90% of my songs are at least 20 years old.
The new stuff stinks.
You have a serious reading comprehension problem:
The "sharer" has no right to put a song out to be downloaded because he does not own the copyright.
And, many of the prosecutions have been for people with large numbers of songs on their computer which others could download. They cost record companies far more than someone who just downloads a few songs, but does not keep their computer online with many songs available for download.
Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs.
I know. I just roll the dice. I break laws all the time. I make illegal u-turns. I talk on my cell while driving. I'll run a red light if no one is around. I download music I've already paid for three times. I'm free to take my chances and face the consequences if I'm caught.
Might be worth it if they were really, really good songs.
Yes and another problem is that there are too many damned laws, many of them just designed to enrich one class over another. In this case music copyright holders payed lobbiests big money to get lopsided laws passed. The Federal Code runs to millions of pages. The IRS codes take a bookshelf to hold. Given all this it's not surprising that people have gotten the idea that laws don't need to be followed. I refuse to be a slave. I refuse to be a slave to a man with a whip and I refuse to be a slave to Nancy Pelosi and her 534 friends. I wake up every day knowing that I'm probably going to break some laws, and I go to bed with a clean conscience having done so.
I don't rip off music because I think it's obvious theft, and as has been pointed out the .99c alternative is great.
But I certainly don't agree that I'm under a moral obligation to follow every law passed by the increasingly fascist USofA.
If I was on the jury, I'd have awarded it to him sa compensation for promoting the songs for the record companies.
If I can legally buy a song for 99 cents which wholesales for about 78 cents how is the value to the artists and record promoters total up to more than half a million dollars?
Mindless worship of the law is one of the biggest problems this country has IMO.
You certainly don’t HAVE to obey any laws. All you HAVE to do is pay the penalty, should you get caught.
The defendant has already stated that if the verdict stands he intends to file bankruptcy.
I believe I also read that he was found to have downloaded (don’t know about the sharing) over 600 songs, but RIAA only charged him with 30.
I learned that from Bill and Hillary Clinton, Charlie Rangel, Ted Kennedy, et al (all of whom were Democrats, I might add).
Minimum damages are $750 per infringement. You can’t award $3.
That would actually be copyright infringement. But nice try.
That would actually be copyright infringement. But nice try.,
It's not copyright infringement if I rip my own CD, so why is it copyright infringement if I rip a loaned CD?
Even if I only listen to the library CD, I have less incentive to buy the CD, thereby depriving the of publisher income. Logically, there is no difference between a public libray and what Mr. Tennenbaum was doing.
Even assuming that it isn't copyright infringement to rip your own CD, and I don't believe there is 100% agreement on that subject--ripping the CD that someone else owned is clearly not authorized, so it is an infringement. I suppose the remaining question is whether it is fair use, and I can't see how it would be. Definitely an infringement if there is DRM on the CD--then there is no fair use defense.
Logically, there is no difference between a public libray and what Mr. Tennenbaum was doing.
Well, there is. The library is covered by the first sale doctrine, which allows the copyright holder to control only the first sale of copyrighted material. So the library can lend the materials without fear of copyright infringement, the same way that a used book store can sell books without copyright infringement.
But the first sale doctrine doesn't apply to copying or reproducing, which is what our buddy Tennenbaum was doing. The library can't make a copy of the CD in order to lend it out, and Tennenbaum can't make a copy of the CD to put on his computer.
OK, thanks for the clarification.