Music sharer asks for reduced fine, retrial

Joel Tenenbaum was ordered last year to pay $675,000 for sharing 30 songs

The student ordered to pay US$675,000 for sharing music online has asked for a new trial and for a reduction in the amount of damages he must pay.

Joel Tenenbaum, a PhD student at Boston University, was ordered in the middle of last year to pay the damages for sharing 30 songs online. His lawyer, Harvard professor Charles Nesson, argued that the judge should reconsider her decision based on so-called fair use.

In her ruling, Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts said that people who used filed sharing networks before digital music could be legally purchased but who later began paying for such music might be in the clear. She set the introduction of the iTunes music store in 2003 as the end of the period before which people couldn't legally buy music online.

But Nesson argued that since for a time only Mac users could access the iTunes store, which only contained 200,000 songs, a later date should be used. In addition, for years those songs were all encumbered by digital rights management software, he noted.

Nesson suggested that the judge set a date some time after 2007, which was when Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote an open letter urging the music industry to offer digital music without DRM and eventually many did. Tenenbaum was caught sharing music in 2004.

If the judge refuses to reconsider that issue, Nesson is asking her to reduce the damages that Tenenbaum must pay. He is calling upon a precedent set by a Supreme Court case that ruled damages are invalid if they are oppressive and disproportionate to the offense.

"Who could possibly think that a massive and entirely arbitrary verdict of $675,000 for sharing songs valued at (at most) $30 comports with any of our traditional notions of fairness and Due Process?" reads a post on Tenenbaum's blog. The $30 figure is based on the typical $0.99 price tag for most digital songs but does not account for the value of those songs that Tenenbaum subsequently shared with other people online.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags music piracyfile sharingsoftware piracy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?