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

May 21, 2012
46 Views
2 Comments

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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2 Comments

  1. Our research team did some digging into this issue and apparently Joel Tenenbaum was offered a deal to settle out of court for $5,000. Apparently, Professor Charlie Neeson and the Harvard Berkman Center misled Joel into believing they had a ground-breaking legal strategy. Joel admitted everything on the stand, saying, in essence, ‘it was like a free record store, every song I wanted was there.’

    In answer to your question, our organization believes the RIAA’s initial policy was counter-productive in building consensus to deal with the personal and financial disaster brought on by illegal downloading. And this policy combined with the highly publicized protest by Lars Ulrich led to a propaganda opportunity for the file sharing community that has dominated the conversation.

    It is the mission of FarePlay to change the conversation, address the false rationalizations and most importantly engage the creative community in participating in an online community where they can communicate with their fans and peers about the devastation of illegal downloading on their ability to be fairly compensated for their work.

    Will Buckley, Williston Class of 1968

    • Mr. Buckley,

      Thank you for your much appreciated comments. It certainly adds quite a bit to the standard online media coverage. I can see why you decided to start your site. It seems like you have many years of experience in marketing and social media. On a different note, it is very cool that you are a Williston alumnus. I am finishing my sophomore year next week. If you have any suggestions on how I can increase traffic to my site, I would love to hear them. Thanks again for your comments.

      Olivia Foster
      Editor, TeenJury
      editor@teenjury.com