million) verdict against a Boston University graduate student who was found
liable for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs online, saying the jury
damage award against a person who gained no financial benefit from his copyright
infringement is “unconstitutionally excessive.”
the largest music companies who said he violated copyright rules.
The jury found him liable and assessed the damage award last July.
and asking the court for a new trial or reduced damages.
three times the statutory minimum – and said the new the amount “not only
adequately compensates the plaintiffs for the relatively minor harm that
Tenenbaum caused them; it sends a strong message that those who exploit
peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully download and distribute copyrighted works
run the risk of incurring substantial damages awards.”
harsh,” Gertner said, noting that the law used by the jury to penalise Tenenbaum
did not offer any meaningful guidance on the question of what amount of damages
awarded in my independent judgment. But the task of determining the appropriate
damages award in this case fell to the jury, not the court.”
mean that Tenenbaum’s actions are condoned or that wholesale file-sharing in
comparable circumstances is lawful.
jury award was unconstitutional and trimmed it to about $2 250 per song, but he
said he also cannot afford paying the reduced damages.
still seems ridiculous in light of the fact that you can buy them for 99 cents
on iTunes. I mean, $675 000 was also absurd.”
sympathetic, saying that the group will appeal the court ruling.
judgment for that of 10 jurors as well as Congress. For nearly a week, a federal
jury carefully considered the issues involved in this case, including the
profound harm suffered by the music community precisely because of the activity
that the defendant admitted engaging in.”
award is in line with previous court decisions to curb excessive jury awards
that targeted businesses.
damages imposed by juries were out of control, were unpredictable, and imposed
crippling financial costs on companies.
businesses, ruling that excessive punitive damages awards violated the
companies’ right to due process of law. These decisions have underscored the
fact that the constitution protects not only criminal defendants from the
imposition of ‘cruel and unusual punishments,’ but also civil defendants facing
arbitrarily high punitive awards.”
judge in Minneapolis also drastically reduced a nearly $2 million verdict
against a woman found liable last year of sharing 24 songs over the internet,
calling the jury’s penalty “monstrous and shocking”.
penalty a jury imposed against Jammie Thomas-Rasset to $2 250 per song, or about
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