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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 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.

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