updated 03:55 pm EDT, Fri July 31, 2009
Student guilty of sharing
A Boston University student has been found guilty of violating copyright laws after he admitted to illegally sharing music could face as much as $4.5 million in fines. In court, Joel Tenenbaum admitted he downloaded and then shared 30 tracks from artists like Nirvana, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins and more, says a Friday report. The statement leaves the court primarily to decide whether or not the infringement was purposeful or unintentional and assign Tenenbaum's penalty. The sum could range from $750 to $30,000 per infringement, or shared song, but a ruling by the jury could bump that number to $150,000 per song.
"Tenenbaum's statement plainly admits liability on both downloading and distributing, does so in the very language of the statute... and does so with respect to each and every sound recording at issue here," read US District Judge Nancy Gertner's ruling in the case.
Tenenbaum was sued by four recording labels, all subsidiaries of Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony Corp. A minimum fine of $750 per song would add up to a total fine of $22,500 for Tenenbaum.
The Tenenbaum case is second federal trial of an individual breaking music industry copyright laws following the highly publicized case against Jammie Thomas-Rassett, which concluded with her being ordered to pay some $1.92 million in fines, or $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was found guilty of sharing.