May 21st, 2012, 20:39 PM
Court won't reduce student's music download fine
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 Monday to hear his appeal.
Joel Tenenbaum, 28, of Providence, R.I., said he's hoping a federal judge will reduce the amount.
"I can't believe the system would uphold a six-figure damages amount for downloading 30 songs on a file-sharing system that everybody used," Tenenbaum said. "I can't believe the court would uphold something that ludicrous."
A jury in 2009 ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000, or $22,500 per song, after the Recording Industry Association of America sued him on behalf of four record labels, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Brothers Records Inc. A federal judge called the penalty unconstitutionally excessive and reduced the award to $67,500, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reinstated it.
The 1st Circuit said a new judge assigned to the case could reduce the award again, but the record labels would then be entitled to a new trial.
Tenenbaum, who said he just graduated Sunday from the university with a doctorate in statistical physics, said he doesn't have the money to pay the judgment.
"I've been working on a graduate student's stipend for six years now and I have no such money," he said.