Printed from http://www.electronista.com

Supreme Court rejects file-sharer appeal over $675k fine

updated 05:19 pm EDT, Mon May 21, 2012

Previously lowered then reinstated damages award upheld

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal against a $675,000 damages award to the RIAA and Sony in a file-sharing trial, reports Wired. Attorneys for Joel Tenenbaum, formerly a Boston college student, argued the defendant should be protected against "unrestrained discretionary jury damage awards against individual citizens for copyright infringement," but was denied by the court without further comment.

The original trial by jury, one of only two file-sharing cases to have gone to trial, awarded $675,000 to the plaintiffs. Judge Nancy Gertner of Boston reduced the verdict to 10 percent, or $67,500, calling the award based on the Copyright Act's damages provisions "unconstitutionally excessive." After receiving a petition from the Obama administration, a federal appeals court found the reduction by Judge Gertner to be incorrect, arguing that a non-constitutional power of "remittitur" should have been employed, and thus reinstated the full award.

In the other file-sharing case, Jammie Thomas-Rasset of Minnesota had a $1.5 million award to the RIAA lowered to $54,000, with a comment from Judge Michael Davis against the reward size, claiming it to be "so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportionate to the offense and obviously unreasonable."

Harvard legal scholar Charles Nesson, representing Tenenbaum, urged the justices to look into the case. A judge's damage reduction by remittitur would have to be accepted by the plaintiff, which in cases such as these is unlikely to be accepted. The situation could therefore lead to repeated trials, dubbed by Nesson as an "endless litigation rathole."

The RIAA has since diverged from the tactic of suing individuals over file sharing, possibly due to modest out-of-court settlements being unprofitable, however the previous lawsuits are believed to have targeted thousands of peer-to-peer sharers.



By Electronista Staff
Post tools:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

Sponsor

Recent Reviews

DoxieGo Portable Scanner

Sometimes, people need to scan things, but having a computer at hand to do so isn't exactly feasible. Maybe it's the home of a relativ ...

Dell AD211 Bluetooth speaker

For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solution ...

VisionTek 128GB USB Pocket SSD

USB flash drives dealt the death blow to both the floppy and Zip drives. While still faster than either of the old removable media, sp ...

Sponsor

toggle

Most Commented

 
toggle

Popular News