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Court Reinstates $675k File Sharing Verdict 388

FunPika writes with this excerpt from Wired: "A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated a whopping $675,000 file sharing verdict that a jury levied against a Boston college student for making 30 tracks of music available on a peer-to-peer network. The decision by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a federal judge who slashed the award as 'unconstitutionally excessive.' U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner of Boston reduced the verdict to $67,500, or $2,250 for each of the 30 tracks defendant Joel Tenenbaum unlawfully downloaded and shared on Kazaa, a popular file sharing peer-to-peer service. The Recording Industry Association of America and Tenenbaum both appealed in what has been the nation's second RIAA file sharing case to ever reach a jury. The Obama administration argued in support of the original award, and said the judge went too far when addressing the constitutionality of the Copyright Act's damages provisions. The act allows damages of up to $150,000 a track." Update: 09/17 21:32 GMT by S : As it turns out, the article's explanation of the decision is a bit lacking; read on for NewYorkCountryLawyer's more accurate explanation.
NYCL writes, "The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to reach the Due Process issue in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. In a 65-page decision (PDF), which rejected all of Tenebaum's counsel's other arguments, and which otherwise praised Judge Gertner's handling of the trial, the First Circuit felt that under the doctrines of judicial restraint and constitutional avoidance, it was premature to decide the constitutional issue without first disposing of the defendant's motion on common law, remittitur grounds. The Court gave several examples of scenarios which might have occurred, had the lower court decided the remittitur question, which would have avoided embarking down the constitutional path."
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Court Reinstates $675k File Sharing Verdict

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  • Re:asses (Score:5, Informative)

    by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Saturday September 17, 2011 @09:41AM (#37428398) Homepage

    how can a song be worth $150,000? if i leave $1 apples in my yard for someone to take, will 150,000 show up?

    No, apples are a scarce resource. Digital files can be copied indefinitely with no quality loss, thus the scarcity must be created artificially. Apparently the way to do that is by suing fans.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday September 17, 2011 @09:54AM (#37428460) Homepage

    Let's not forget a jury of US citizens actually somehow thought this was appropriate.

    We have a serious stupidity problem in the US that is bringing the nation to its knees... right at hip level to huge money interests... leaving the US begging for a huge money shot.

  • Sorry... (Score:2, Informative)

    by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Saturday September 17, 2011 @10:17AM (#37428592) Homepage

    But Obama is a f***kwad....

    All you bleeding heart liberals are too stupid to realize there is nothing to differentiate this man from George W. Bush. And as for copyrights & patents....he is showing himself to be a pimp for corporation.

    Against the people at every turn. We're not talking about legality. We're talking about the Constitution that says a fine cannot outweigh the crime. Right now, in our courts. Copyright violation is a greater crime than rape. Think about that before you reply...

  • by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Saturday September 17, 2011 @11:03AM (#37428824)

    Similar to British law, in the United States jury nullification occurs when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the weight of evidence, sometimes due to a disagreement with the relevant law.[1] The American jury draws its power of nullification from its right to render a general verdict in criminal trials, the inability of criminal courts to direct a verdict no matter how strong the evidence, the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause, which prohibits the appeal of an acquittal,[2] and the fact that jurors can never be punished for the verdict they return. []

    In fact get the word out, perhaps someone you tell will be on a jury that matters in these types of cases.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17, 2011 @12:52PM (#37429472)

    File sharing is not illegal. Let's get that straight.

    Copyright infringement is.

    And here are the damages that can be assigned per:
    (emphasis is mine)

    504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits5

    (a) In General. — Except as otherwise provided by this title, an infringer of copyright is liable for either —

    (1) the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the infringer, as provided by subsection (b); or

    (2) statutory damages, as provided by subsection (c).

    (b) Actual Damages and Profits. — The copyright owner is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement, and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages. In establishing the infringer's profits, the copyright owner is required to present proof only of the infringer's gross revenue, and the infringer is required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the copyrighted work.

    (c) Statutory Damages. —

    (1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.

    (2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200. The court shall remit statutory damages in any case where an infringer believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that his or her use of the copyrighted work was a fair use under section 107, if the infringer was: (i) an employee or agent of a nonprofit educational institution, library, or archives acting within the scope of his or her employment who, or such institution, library, or archives itself, which infringed by reproducing the work in copies or phonorecords; or (ii) a public broadcasting entity which or a person who, as a regular part of the nonprofit activities of a public broadcasting entity (as defined in subsection (g) of section 118) infringed by performing a published nondramatic literary work or by reproducing a transmission program embodying a performance of such a work.

    (3) (A) In a case of infringement, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the infringement was committed willfully for purposes of determining relief if the violator, or a person acting in concert with the violator, knowingly provided or knowingly caused to be provided materially false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority in registering, maintaining, or renewing a domain name used in connection with the infringement.

    (B) Nothing in this paragraph limits what may be considered willful infringement under this subsection.

    (C) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “domain name” has the meaning given that term in section 45 of the Act entitled “An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.