The world's second most famous music pirate, Joel Tenenbaum, has faced a minor setback this week after the appellate court rejected Judge Nancy Gertner's earlier ruling which reduced the amount of damages Tenenbaum owes to $67,500. But it's not all bad news for the Boston University student.
The RIAA has appealed Judge Gertner's assertions that the original jury awarded damages amount of $675,000 was "unconstitutional". And while it appears the RIAA were successful, the ruling of the First Circuit Court of Appeals suggests that the appeal success was more of a technical victory, than a legal one.
The appeals court felt that Judge Gertner should not have brought up the Constitutional question before using the more appropriate remittitur order. Remittitur would still allow the judge to lower the damages amount, give the RIAA the option to accept the amount, or reject it and seek a new trial, at which time, it would have then been more appropriate to bring up the constitutional issues.
What this means now though is that both parties will have to go back to court and let everything play out, just like Thomas-Rasset case, in which remittitur was also used, rejected, and the constitutional issue was brought up (which has since been appealed again by the RIAA).
But once this case gets to the stage where the constitutional issues are in play, it does look good that any RIAA appeal would at time be rejected based on statements the appeals court have made in relation to this current appeal. The appeals court stated they also felt that the penalties being handed out was harsh. "We comment that this case raises concerns about application of the Copyright Act which Congress may wish to examine," wrote the judges in their summary.