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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Tenenbaum Copyright Case

Posted by: , 18:26 AEST, Tue May 22, 2012

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Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum fails in his attempt to get the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the $675,000 he has been ordered to pay the music industry for sharing 30 songs
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Image/Photo Credit: Mark Fischer @ Flickr, CC

Boston University student and the world's second most famous music pirate Joel Tenenbaum will not get to have his case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The highest court in the land refused Tenenbaum's constitutional challenge of last year's lower court ruling, which ordered the student to pay $675,000 in damages to the the world's biggest music labels.

That particular ruling, made in September last year, reversed two earlier decisions, or rather, reinstated the first jury calculated damages amount. In the first court case, Judge Nancy Gertner had ruled that the jury decision of $22,500 per shared song was "unconstitutionally excessive", and reduced this amount by 10 times, to a total of $67,500 for sharing 30 songs - a decision that Judge Gertner said was still "severe" and "harsh". The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) appealed Gertner's decision, and the appeals court sided with the music industry's copyright lobby, but only on technical grounds. The appeals court felt that Judge Gertner should not have considered the constitutionality of the issue, when there were other means to have the damages reduced.

But with the Supreme Court not wanting to have a say on the constitutionality issue either, the case will now go back to the lower courts, where it is expected that a judge will lower the amount of damages, possibly using a remittitur order.


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