A Boston jury has ordered Joel Tenenbaum to pay a total of $US675,000 for willfully infringing 30 songs by downloading and distributing them over the KaZaA peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing network. The figure of $US22,500 per song is closer to the $US222,000 award in the first Jammie Thomas-Rasset trial than the $1.92 million figure from her second trial, but of course they're all ridiculously high penalities. The defendant's case was hamstrung from the start by the judge having ruled out the Fair Use defence to the RIAA firms' claims of copyright infringement and later having directed the jury that it could only return a guilty verdict because the defendant admitted liablity on the witness stand. After three hours of deliberations the jury came up with the stonking fine, which was actually smaller than many had predicted might have been assessed.
Tenenbaum's attorney and Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson told Ars Technica, "it's a bankrupting award." He also said things might have gone differently at trial had the defence been allowed to argue Fair Use. Tenenbaum said that he doesn't have the ability to pay the judgment and that he'll be filing for bankruptcy if the award stands. Of course the RIAA is happy. This is the second high profile case that has actually gone to court and it has proven that the way the law stands P2P users can end up paying thousands of times the cost of a $US1 track if they stick it on a P2P site. Judge Gertner has previously said she will hold a post-trial proceeding to determine whether the size of the award violates the US Constitution.
( www.atomicmpc.com.au )