Judge Ponders -- $675K Or $21 In File Sharing Case
February 24, 2010 at 4:27 AM (PT)
JOEL TENNENBAUM, the BOSTON UNIVERSITY graduate student who was ordered to pay $675,000 in damages (NET NEWS 7/31/2009) for illegally sharing 30 songs online caused "no more than $21 in damages," said his lawyer, to a federal judge -- asking to slash the jury award or order a new trial.
BOSTON.COM reports HARVARD law professor CHARLES NESSON argued the 1999 federal law that the jury applied when calculating damages caused by his client, JOEL TENENBAUM, had "produced absurd results" and a grossly excessive award that violated TENENBAUM's constitutional rights. If TENENBAUM had, instead, purchased the music legally on iTUNES, NESSON said, he would have paid 99 cents for each, and APPLE would have passed on 70 cents for each to the labels, bringing the total damage to $21.
"The idea that somehow Congress has done this," NESSON said of the federal law passed in 1999, "it's almost like an insult to the Congress."
Lawyers representing the record labels and the RIAA said the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Act was tailor-made for individuals like TENENBAUM. "This defendant has no one to blame but himself," said TIMOTHY M. REYNOLDS, one of the lawyers for SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, WARNER BROS. RECORDS INC., ARISTA RECORDS LLC and UMG RECORDINGS INC.
Judge NANCY GERTNER appeared to side with TENNENBAUM, saying "Is there another case in the galaxy that's held up damages to that degree?"