Appeals Court Okays $675,000 Fine For Guy Who Illegally Downloaded 30 Songs

joel tenenbaum 1Joel Tenenbaum admitted to illegally downloading music but thought his fine was excessive.

A federal appeals court has affirmed a $675,000 penalty for a guy who illegally downloaded 30 songs when he was in college at Boston University.

Joel Tenenbaum was ordered by a jury to pay the fine to the Recording Industry Association of AmericaBi. He appealed, calling the $22,000-per-song penalty unconstitutionally excessive.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston thought the huge fine was in order, though.

“Tenenbaum carried on his activities for years in spite of numerous warnings, he made thousands of songs available illegally, and he denied responsibility,” the First Circuit ruled.

Federal law stipulates that companies deserve $750 to $30,000 for each incident of copyright infringement and as much as $150,000 if the jury finds the infringement willful, or on purpose, the Associated Press reported.

But when he appealed his decision, Tenenbaum felt he only owed the record companies $450 in total, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The court said Tannenbaum’s logic ignored the “deterrent effect of statutory damages,” according to the Reporter. In other words, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Howard wanted to make an example of him, showing future Internet pirates they will get punished. That’s exactly what Congress intended for reparations in civil cases.


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