Intellectual Property

$675K Fine for Downloading Music

The recording industry was, of course thrilled


A federal court in Massachusetts today upheld a $675,000 damages award against Joel Tenenbaum, who was accused of illegally downloading 31 songs from a file-sharing Web site and distributing them and was sued by the main recording companies in the U.S.

U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel rejected Tenenbaum's request for a new jury trial, saying jurors had appropriately considered the evidence of Tenenbaum's actions—downloading and distributing files for two years despite warnings—and the harm to the plaintiffs. The penalty is at the low end of the range for willful infringement and below the limit for even nonwillful infringement, and thus was not excessive, the judge ruled.