Skip to comments.Court won't reduce student's music download fine [$675,000!!]
Posted on 05/21/2012 7:49:30 PM PDT by ETL
BOSTON (AP) A former Boston University student who was ordered to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs on the Internet says he will continue fighting the penalty, despite the Supreme Court's refusal to hear his appeal.
Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., said Monday he's hoping a federal judge will reduce the amount, which he called "ludicrous."
A jury in 2009 ordered Tenenbaum to pay after the Recording Industry Association of America sued him. A federal judge called the penalty constitutionally excessive, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
While a judgment is outstanding, the court might hold his passport.
Nail a doctor or lawyer for malpractice and try to collect. They shed assets faster than you can find them and declare bankruptcy. Been there, seen that.
Was the kid jailed?
That is called cruel and unusual punishment in the US. You don’t let the richie rich perverts in entertainment land make slaves out of Americans.
The penalty in this case has absolutely NOTHING to do with ‘justice’. This is an outrage!
Can’t believe people actually still use file sharing sites. This stuff is east to get with out sharing anything. Anything you see or hear in the internet is downloaded to your computer. That’s how it works. Recording what your computer is showing you is easy.
In general I dont think bankruptcy gets you out of court judgement.
The prevailing party simply become a creditor, and gets in line behold the others. (after the secured creditors take the assets pledged as security.)
If he doesn't, I do. In fact this copyright business makes me hate music in general. From now on, it's just birds, for me.
30 songs x $22.5K per. It actually could have been much worse; the range is $750 - $150K per offense. I think the jury saw the endless rationalization and decided he needed a pretty big hammer.
The headline calls it a fine. The article lists it as an award for damages.
A fine isn’t dischargeable AFAIK, damage awards and judgements are.
Schumer proposed such laws just last week.
He wasn't even stealing. Theft is when a thief takes an item and the original owner doesn't have that item anymore. What the guy did is copyright infringement.
As you know, copyright is an artificial right (not a natural one.) It is created by the government as a reward for making useful intellectual property - books, songs, paintings. The law gives the author an exclusive right to make a copy.
The guy violated the rights of the copyright holder by distributing the works without permission. However the penalty (and the law) that they used against him was originally designed for mass counterfeiters. That's where those huge fines come from. A counterfeiter, owner of a vinyl or CD stamping factory, can sell millions of copies before he is caught. The fine was supposed to lessen the appeal of that business. [Of course that didn't work - the pirates simply moved elsewhere. Best thing they did, with all these minimum wage laws and taxes in the USA :-]
This means that the poor guy (very poor, by now) is punished as an industrial counterfeiter, and all courts are happy with that and they don't see a problem. Actual harm from his actions is probably well under $1,000. But nobody wants to calculate the actual harm when it's far more profitable to stick him with a much higher figure.
There is nowhere else for this guy to appeal to. His debt most likely cannot be repaid. Most people struggle for many decades to pay for a house, and many houses are cheaper than this fine.
The most rational strategy for this guy is just to leave the country while he can, to never return. He is done here. Hopefully he has a passport. If not, there are many countries where documents are optional. These aren't very nice places - like Somalia - but he will be free there. With his education (per Wikipedia, he attended Goucher College in Maryland, majoring in physics and mathematics. He is pursuing doctoral studies in physics at Boston University.) he should be able to easily find an excellent job in the 3rd world. Two-bit presidents of African kingdoms still want all the high-tech toys of the world, and they sit on piles of diamonds that are tall enough to pay for this little caprice. The RIAA will not find him as long as he does not advertise his new name and location. The RIAA won't even be trying; the chance of recovery is minimal anyway, just due to him having no money. The RIAA's purpose was simply to scare others into obedience.
“How do you legally continue fighting after the Supreme Court turns you down? “
If I read correctly earlier, the 1st Circuit ruled on some part of the issue (and ruled decisively for Sony etc), and referred it back to the lower court to determine if the award should be reduced.
The SC didn’t say no to that defendent for good, just no for specific issues and no for now.
“Or have it doubled with a really bad one.”
I think he went that route already.
don’t have exit controls??
ask eduardo saverin whether or not you can leave
even Boner thinks people should be compelled to work the rest of their lives for the ‘privilege’ of being a US citizen for a short period
“How about they get the fine from the sites that make it possible to transfer copies of music illegally?”
There are no “sites”. The transfers occur peer-to-peer. In other words, one computer directly hooked to another computer over the internet. No “site” involved.
They went after the software companies who produced the software that allows peer-to-peer hookups but then some other company writes new software. It’s kind of like a game of cat-and-mouse-on-a-merry-go-round..
Wage a PR war. Use the names of the musicians of the pieces. Name the record company exceutives. Name the plaintiff's lawyers. Tell thier communities these bastards want a lifetime income for a measely few songs. Make an overture to reimburse the loss. Let everyone know the Music industry only wants money. At some point the bastards looking for a pound of flesh will have to face the market.
I could use FR, or any other site that allows posted comments, to do just that.
Makes sense, thanks. Admittedly, I’m not a big follower of the SCOTUS, or any kind of follower at all, actually. Could be wrong, or maybe I’ve just forgotten, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of anybody going back to the Court for seconds, and certainly not thirds. Must not happen very often?
Major difference. Thanks for pointing that out.
...We're not told how many times each song was uploaded -- it could be anywhere from once to hundreds of times. Regardless, each uploaded song means one less sale -- that much less to pay the performers, and production expenses.
Did you mean 'downloaded' here, as in downloaded by others?
Why is it that people, who would never for a moment consider shoplifting a CD, feel entitled to download pirated music?
I suppose it's part of the "entitlement" society we live in today.
I don't think music was ever free to share. There was just so many people doing it it was nearly impossible to do anything about it. Lots of people also copied rented VHS movies, despite the 'scary' FBI warning displayed prior to the start. I remember, as a young teen, copying music from the radio to a portable cassette deck with an external mike. I then strapped the deck onto my self-customized Sting Ray "chopper" bicycle and was the only kid around with a nice little sound system on his bike. The bike had a long chrome chopper fork that I bought separately. A two-tone metal flake with a few layers of clear coat paint job, and a custom-made white leather banana seat that went up the chrome sissy bar. My father, who years earlier did auto upholstery, did that for me. It was a diamond-tuft pattern with black vinyl buttons. Man, I wish I still had that bike, or at least had taken pictures of it. This was back in the late 60s, early 70s. I remember cruising around the neighborhood on the 'chopper' to "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones.
Ralph replies, "Trouble?? I don't even know what I'm talking about!" (he was reading out loud from an almost impossible to comprehend tax law manual)
(a) Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 122 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be. For purposes of this chapter (other than section 506), any reference to copyright shall be deemed to include the rights conferred by section 106A(a). As used in this subsection, the term anyone includes any State, any instrumentality of a State, and any officer or employee of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in his or her official capacity. Any State, and any such instrumentality, officer, or employee, shall be subject to the provisions of this title in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.
(b) The legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled, subject to the requirements of section 411, to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it. The court may require such owner to serve written notice of the action with a copy of the complaint upon any person shown, by the records of the Copyright Office or otherwise, to have or claim an interest in the copyright, and shall require that such notice be served upon any person whose interest is likely to be affected by a decision in the case. The court may require the joinder, and shall permit the intervention, of any person having or claiming an interest in the copyright.
(c) For any secondary transmission by a cable system that embodies a performance or a display of a work which is actionable as an act of infringement under subsection (c) of section 111, a television broadcast station holding a copyright or other license to transmit or perform the same version of that work shall, for purposes of subsection (b) of this section, be treated as a legal or beneficial owner if such secondary transmission occurs within the local service area of that television station.
(d) For any secondary transmission by a cable system that is actionable as an act of infringement pursuant to section 111(c)(3), the following shall also have standing to sue: (i) the primary transmitter whose transmission has been altered by the cable system; and (ii) any broadcast station within whose local service area the secondary transmission occurs.
(e) With respect to any secondary transmission that is made by a satellite carrier of a performance or display of a work embodied in a primary transmission and is actionable as an act of infringement under section 119(a)(5), a network station holding a copyright or other license to transmit or perform the same version of that work shall, for purposes of subsection (b) of this section, be treated as a legal or beneficial owner if such secondary transmission occurs within the local service area of that station.
(f)(1) With respect to any secondary transmission that is made by a satellite carrier of a performance or display of a work embodied in a primary transmission and is actionable as an act of infringement under section 122, a television broadcast station holding a copyright or other license to transmit or perform the same version of that work shall, for purposes of subsection (b) of this section, be treated as a legal or beneficial owner if such secondary transmission occurs within the local market of that station.
(2) A television broadcast station may file a civil action against any satellite carrier that has refused to carry television broadcast signals, as required under section 122(a)(2), to enforce that television broadcast stations rights under section 338(a) of the Communications Act of 1934.
I remember buying tons of blank TDK and Maxell cassettes back in the 70’s and 80’s and recording stuff off of the radio onto them or whole albums onto them for later playback in the car. Cassettes always sounded rather crappy with their wow and flutter, hiss levels and limited dynamic range but they were good enough to listen to and more importantly, if you ended up liking the tape, the cassette version served as a type of try before you buy advertisement where if you liked it you could then buy the Vinyl album. And that worked and sold a lot of albums. So whats up today? The crappy sounding digital MP3’s of today, crappier sounding than cassette tapes of yore in some ways, should still be free to copy and trade around because, like cassettes, they are decreased quality advertisements that suggest to the listener to get the actual full quality CD if they like what they heard in the mp3. I can’t stand listening to mp3’s in general due to their distortion but if I hear one that I like I will find and buy the full quality, non crushed CD and listen to it.
True, but two of the principles that engender respect for the legal system are:
1. Proportional punishment - making the punishment fit the crime, and
2. Uniform application of the law - People committing the same crime should have a similar punishment.
Both of these seem to be violated here. So this will get people to fear this law in particular but lose respect for the law (and for the RIAA) in general.
Yeah, off with his head! (geesh) What about making the punishment match the crime. It's very, very unlikely he actually caused $675,000 in damages. These are punitive fines, and in my opinion, they are WAY out of proportion to the crime.
Excellent point. Plus, downloads don't directly correlate to sales, because the vast majority that would pirate the music would never buy a copy if that's they only way they could obtain it. They pirate it, because it's free. This student didn't cause $675,000 in actual damages. No way. They're making an example out of him by fining him into debt slavery for life. I don't care what the law says here. This is not justice.
Surveys of the real world often show that to be untrue, unless the bootlegs are sold to others as though they were official recordings when they are not -- that would definitely rob the artist of royalties on a sale. People who are pirates for private consumption now, if they could not pirate, would more than likely record the pieces they would have pirated off the radio instead (this is legal to do for free in the USA), or not bother with the music at all.
(That goes also in the software biz for pirates who pirate just for the sake of pirating. They'd never buy Autocad, etc. in a thousand years and have no use for what they pirated except to say aha we pirated it. To say that cost a sale is silly.)
This sounds like one of those questions on a super advanced college placement test. Quick, can you say what impact this has on satellite and terrestrial TV stations? In 500 words or less?
The law says it is not theft, but infringement. You can't steal something that doesn't exist physically. Stealing means you took something from someone and they no longer have it. Copying intellectual work isn't stealing as the owner still has the original. Courts have ruled this is not theft. At any rate the award, or fine, is way in excess of the so called "loss". I say so called because this kid would never have bought the 30 songs if he couldn't copy them and so they didn't really lose anything.
Courts have distinguished between copyright infringement and theft, holding, for instance, in the United States Supreme Court case Dowling v. United States (1985) that bootleg phonorecords did not constitute stolen property and that interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud.
The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright... an infringer of the copyright. In the case of copyright infringement the province guaranteed to the copyright holder by copyright law is invaded, i.e. exclusive rights, but no control, physical or otherwise, is taken over the copyright, nor is the copyright holder wholly deprived of using the copyrighted work or exercising the exclusive rights held.
I can't make money legit? Fine. Watch this.
Oh, and as an organized crime figure, my first few whacks would be at anyone that heads up RIAA.
Indeed. This is an unintended consequence of draconian laws.If you remove all hope from someone, yet they are 'free', they may well just figure they have nothing to lose, and take more drastic actions than they might otherwise have.
Karl Drega comes to mind.
Crappy sounding digital MP3s? You must be downloading music files from YouTube or some such place. Even there, crystal clear remastered tracks can be found.
I knew somebody who got caught for downloading music illegally, and all she got was a "cease and desist" letter. I guess they decided to make an example out of this guy.
In general I dont think bankruptcy gets you out of court judgement.
The prevailing party simply become a creditor, and gets in line behold the others. (after the secured creditors take the assets pledged as security.)
Whether the judgment is dischargeable in bankruptcy depends upon the nature of the judgment, and whether the creditor objects to the discharge or dischargeability of the debt. Judgments for fraud are generally subject to non-disschargeability, while most other debts are dischargeable. Not sure about copyright infringement.
You're kidding right? Unless you're an extreme audiophile with really expensive hardware, there really isn't a heck of a lot of difference between a CrO2 or Metal tape, which is what I always used back in the day. While the tapes weren't free, they also weren't ridiculously expensive. I agree that digital distribution has made it easier to copy stuff, I don't really think the penalties assigned to this kind of thing have any relationship to any sense of justice or reality.
The ever expanding copyright term has made many people, myself included, not give a damn about copyright, especially for older works (those more than 30 years old) which should be in the public domain if only our congresscritters weren't so easily and cheaply bribed by media companies.
“Ive ever heard of anybody going back to the Court for seconds,”
Even firsts is fairly rare. This one didn’t actually make into the court - they declined to review the circuit decision. That said, I’d say it’s likely that a percentage of the cases that eventually are heard by the court had at one time been turned away with the basic message “let the process run its course before we decide if we want to hear it.”
That might be the case here, although the constitutional issues they raised looked like major reaches to me.
Is it uploading that is the problem or downloading too? Most P2P sites operate by uploading parts of the file as you are downloading it. Is DVR making an illegal copy of a copyrighted program? If technically that is the case, then the same cable companies that are assisting in catching illegal downloaders, are also assisting in illegal copying by renting the DVR equipment.
I am just curious where the line is drawn.
“I am just curious where the line is drawn.”
The devil is in those sorts of details.
The question of DVR recording was settled long ago — when courts and regulators ruled that making VCR recordings of TV shows was legal. Here (in Canada) it is also legal to copy a CD to any other media (e.g. an iPod), for your personal use. Making a backup copy is also legal — you just have to retain possession of the original CD. Making copies for distribution to others (including by means of a pirate web site) remains illegal. I don’t know how U.S. law compares on that point.
AFAIK, both the downloading and uploading of pirated music is illegal — but, enforcement is concentrated on the uploading. The uploader enables all the downloaders.
As for the technical arguments about quality — I will concede most of your points. Tapes (whether reel-to-real, or Cassette) of studio masters could be as good or better than vinyl records. Most people couldn't distinguish between new vinyl records and tapes made from those records, using the best media, and high-end equipment. However, most home copies weren't on the best equipment, nor were they on the best tape media. Nor, would people make hundreds, or thousands of copies to give away to strangers. Inexpensive as the tapes were, they still cost too much for that. Home copying wasn't nearly the threat to the industry that digital piracy is today.
There was commercial piracy “back in the day” — but, those pirates had a much harder time than do today's. They needed to physically copy the records, print cover art, and (most difficult of all) establish distribution channels. They couldn't afford to give away their product — they had to find a profit somewhere between their fixed and variable costs, and the price of legitimate recordings. That put a lot of limits on the damage those pirates of yore could do to the industry. Today's pirates have world-wide distribution channels (the Internet), and near-zero variable costs. Piracy today is an existential threat to the music industry — and, more importantly, to musicians. (As I said in an earlier post, the middlemen of the music industry will be eliminated by legitimate means, through the process of disintermediation. That's not a loss — that's just progress.)
Legal judgments done before filing for bankruptcy are immune, I believe, from bankruptcy protections.
If it takes his whole life to pay this off....even after 3 bankruptcies....that’s what our excuse of a legal system will demand.
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