Supreme Court Lets $675,000 Penalty Stand in Illegal Music Downloading Case

May 21, 2012
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Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University graduate student, has been ordered to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a $675,000 penalty imposed on a Boston University student for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs almost ten years ago.  Without comment, the Court refused to hear his appeal, which means that the lower court ruling will stand.  Joel Tenenbaum discusses the history of his court battle on his website, JoelFightsBack.  The record companies argued, “Tenenbaum undertook these actions even though he was fully aware that they were illegal.  In fact, his own father warned him that individuals were being sued for such conduct but he did not stop.”  TeenJury has previously reported on a teenager who also was subject to large fines for illegally downloading music, but whose appeal was denied.  Practically, however, the impact of the case on music-sharing may be small.  Wired stated that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has since abandoned its strategy of suing all violators, and instead, is working with Internet providers to warn and then stop repeat offenders.

What do you think?  Is this fine excessive?

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