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"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 bupkus on 1/21/2010 4:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
If the RIAA can say they have lost money due to piracy and quantify it by using industry wide numbers, then a defendant should then be open to demand that the alleged injured parties quantify and substantiate the amount of that loss due to the defendant.
Also, to face one's accusers should include and require a supported and specific quantification of injuries attributed to the actions of the defendant.

All too often the offices of the judges and prosecutors are just too closely located. They pass by each other in the halls, say hello, get just a little too friendly.

As to the need for better anti-piracy laws, that is just another way of saying, "Hang em High". I might argue that often we either need better enforcement or a more balanced legal system that needs not create "examples to be made of." That just sounds too Chinese Government.

RE: Really?
By killerb255 on 1/21/2010 5:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
After typing my previous explanation of civil vs criminal cases (even though I didn't get the terminology correct), I'm wondering if this is considered a civil or criminal case.

Typically, the plaintiff in a criminal case is "the people of :insert jurisdiction here:," whereas the plaintiff in a civil case is usually a person, group of people, or company.

If the past cases were, indeed, civil cases, then the RIAA doesn't have to quantify the amount of money loss to that degree, as long as "preponderance of evidence" has been met. If these were criminal cases, then this would be a different story altogether--they would have to quantify to that degree to prove guilt "beyond reasonable doubt."

RE: Really?
By Mojo the Monkey on 1/21/2010 6:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
The numbers often do no have to be proved up as direct loss. First, you have to remember that an action is created through federal fine amounts. A civil prosecution of these same cases may or may not be able to rely on the federal fine amounts, but could also go for exemplary/punitive damages for acts of theft acts constituting willful torts.

If you walk up to me and sucker-punch me in the face on the street, my only monetary damages may be 1 tissue for a nose bleed. That doesnt mean I could only recover $0.01 if I took you to court. There is a punitive measure to the recoverable amounts. I could take you for thousands. I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar artifice being implemented here.

RE: Really?
By Mojo the Monkey on 1/21/2010 6:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, (now reading the part of your post about the level of proof for damages) the damages do not have any particular standard of proof. Fact finders (jury or judge) are free to assign their own numbers in damages. Otherwise, they would have to go on "proven/supported" (to whatever degree) numbers from either the plaintiff or defense, meaning they would HAVE to choose between the 2 preferred numbered. This is not the case. Typically, if the losing side brings a motion, there is only a brief review to ensure the amount awarded could have, in some way, been rationally justified by the evidence. This is a VERY lenient standard.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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