The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has bankrupted PhD student Joel Tenenbaum after a Jury found him guilty of copyright infringement for downloading and sharing 30 songs over the KaZaA peer-to-peer network. The Judge then ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000 in damages to the RIAA, or $22,500 per song.
From Ars Technica, who have been covering the Tenenbaum vs. RIAA case for months:
When asked about the size verdict, Tenenbaum’s attorney and Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson told Ars that “it’s a bankrupting award.” He also felt things might have been different had they been allowed to argue Fair Use. “We were not allowed to speak to fairness,” he told Ars. “I thought we had pretty damn good arguments on Fair Use.”
“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, but I’m thankful that it wasn’t much bigger, that it wasn’t millions,” Tenenbaum told Ars after the verdict was announced. We asked him if he regrets not settling earlier on in the process. “Ask me in a couple of months,” Tenenbaum replied. He also told Ars that he doesn’t have the ability to pay the judgment and said that he’d be filing for bankruptcy if the award stands. Although the jury found that he willfully infringed on the copyrights in question, Tenenbaum said he was “not displeased with the jury considering how the trial went.”
There were a lot of damning circumstances in Tenenbaum’s trial, not the leas of which was the fact that he admitted to deliberately downloading and distributing the music. He also admitted to lying in court documents – not something you want to be doing when dealing with a jury who can ruin your life – as Tenenbaum found out late Friday afternoon when the verdict came down after just 3 hours of deliberation.
At any rate, the RIAA has ruined Tenenbaum’s life in their bid to replace lost revenue with litigation as the music industry crumbles around them, and they just added another feather to their hat.
Let me ask you, Inquisitr readers: Do you have music on your computers or devices right now, or are you sharing songs via P2P?
If so, delete it. Now. And don’t replace it by buying the songs from an industry or artists who can and will cut your throat for being a fan.