Print 113 comment(s) - last by CENGJINYIWEI.. on Jan 31 at 8:08 AM

"Joel Tenebaum fights back with the help of leading internet lawyers"  (Source:
Massachusetts student to pay $22,500 per shared song

Joel Tenebaum, a graduate student at Boston University, is the nation’s second defendant to go to trial against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on file sharing charges. In July of 2009, his case went to federal court where the judge ruled that the defendant pay $675,000 in damages to the RIAA. The only other file sharing defendant to trial against the RIAA was Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who had to pay $1.92 million for sharing 24 songs on Kazaa.

The Obama Administration, which recently asked five former RIAA lawyers to serve in the Justice Department, is supporting the verdict, stating that copyright infringement, "creates a public harm that Congress is determined must be deterred."

In lieu of the tension between the Chinese Government and Google regarding the recent IP theft and  account hacking problems, it isn’t hard to see why the Obama Administration is standing so firmly against copyright infringements. Whether a defendant is sharing files or hacking into a corporation, their act violated copyright laws, and failing to take action could make the administration's policy look inconsistent.

Under the copyright act, fines are determined by the judge and jury and can range from $750 to $150,000 . The Justice Department defends its ruling with the following statement.

The current damages range provides compensation for copyright owners because, inter alia, there exist situations in which actual damages are hard to quantify. Furthermore, in establishing the range, Congress took into account the need to deter the millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights in an environment where many violators believe they will go unnoticed.

Tenebaum’s defense team is going back to work on $22,500 per-song ruling, in hopes of lowering the penalty to $750 per-song.

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RE: Really?
By Spivonious on 1/21/2010 3:22:37 PM , Rating: 0
Because an album costs nothing to produce other than material costs. Are you serious?

RE: Really?
By jimhsu on 1/21/2010 4:19:40 PM , Rating: 5
The "cost" to produce an album is a variable cost, and thus is indeed the material cost+labor. Fixed costs (paying the artist) are sunk costs unless a VARIABLE royalty system is in place. It "costs" the studio no more than the material cost to make a copy of essentially identical information.

RE: Really?
By JediJeb on 1/22/2010 11:00:22 AM , Rating: 3
It "costs" the studio no more than the material cost to make a copy of essentially identical information.

While I in no way agree with the amount of the fine, this statement isn't really true. It also "costs" the studio to promote the album through advertising, overhead for other workers involved with the production of the album, ect...

What I disagree with though is the estimate of what sharing the file cost the record label in lost income. If this is true, 22K+ per song, and this is only one of thousands or even millions of people sharing music,then that would mean the record companies are actually loosing more money than they are making which I seriously doubt. Did they court actually know the number of times the song was downloaded and multiply that by the average retail price of the song? That would mean that each song this person shared was downloaded 22,000 times since you can pick up most music for around $1 per song.

What about songs that are shared that are no longer sold? How could you possibly estimate "lost income" from those? To me the copy right laws should be rewritten so that if a record company does not offer for sale a song for over 1 year they lose all rights to it and they revert to the artist who can then decide if they want to lease the rights to another company. That way the rights stay where they belong, with the artist. And if the artist wishes to offer their music for download for free or a nominal fee they can do it all they want.

RE: Really?
By CHAOQIANG on 1/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By CENGJINYIWEI on 1/31/10, Rating: 0
RE: Really?
By invidious on 1/21/2010 5:16:00 PM , Rating: 5
In a capitalist economy the cost to make the product is largely irrelivant to end pricing. Supply and demand is everything. Obviously there is no demand for physical CDs and if the idiots at the RIAA spend 1% as much on R&D as they do on suing people they would know this.

If the record industry can't make money selling music in a way we want and at a price we are willing to pay then I suggest they get out of the music production industry. Bands will always make music and people will always listen to it, if the recording industry want to profit off of the situation then they need to add value to the process. All they currently do is leach off of the stanglehold that they have for some reason been allowed to maintain over our wallets.

The movie/tv industry have just as much piracy to deal with and they are both thriving because they are adapting to the needs of the customers with things like netflix and hulu.

RE: Really?
By RandallMoore on 1/21/2010 8:01:12 PM , Rating: 5
You are 100% correct. That's why every single artist needs to do what Radiohead did a while back; pay what you think it is worth. Cut the RIAA completely out of the equation and we will break this cycle.

RE: Really?
By Spivonious on 1/25/2010 10:03:10 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, but we're not talking selling price, we're talking losses. If a song costs $1, and this guy was sharing a couple thousand songs to potentially 100,000 people, then it's quite easy to get to six figure losses.

The only problem with cases like this is that they can't prove how many people grabbed a copy of the song. So they go for worst case. Honestly, the guy should have just paid the thousand dollars instead of taking it to court. He really shouldn't be sharing the songs at all.

You can make all the arguments you want about music being overpriced, music not being as good, blah blah, but if you're curious about a song there are plenty of free sample clips. If they're not enough, then spend $1 and grab it on one of the many online music stores. Worst case is that the song is horrible and you lost $1.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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