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-- File sharer Joel Tenenbaum, who was found guilty of copyright infringement in July, has filed a motion seeking to reduce the statutory damages of $675,000 imposed by the jury. In the motion, Tenenbaum argues the award of $22,500 per work violates the constitution's due process clause (because it is "so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense and obviously unreasonable") and violates the limits of punitive damages established in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore (which looked at factors such as degree of reprehensibility and disparity between potential harm and punitive damages). As Ben Sheffner pointed out, Judge Gertner already rejected some similar arguments Tenenbaum made before the trial and the Department of Justice had weighed in in defense of statutory damages. In addition, Tenenbaum seeks a new trial, saying P2P downloading in 2004 constituted fair use because DRM-free options were not available until 2007. Sheffner discounts the argument, writing, "I know of no legal support for such an argument; copyright owners have no obligation to offer their works at all (let alone in a particular format), on pain of losing their exclusive rights." (Copyrights & Campaigns)

-- In "Loudness Wars: Why Music Sounds Worse," NPR's "All Things Considered" looked back at the rise in recorded music's loudness. Mastering engineer Bob Ludwig went as far to say loudness could be a reason for lower recorded music sales. That's probably a stretch. The reasons for record labels' malaise - the unbundled album, digital piracy, fewer music retailers - just happened to coincide with the rise in loud, compressed music. And there is anecdotal evidence that young people prefer the compressed sound. Along with the article came a great poster (download 9.5MB PDF file here) that visually depicts the upward trend since 1979. The NPR piece is a look back at how recorded music changed over the last decade. Much has been written and said about the rise of compression in mastering. The Loudness Wars actually has a Wikipedia page For good examples, check out this video at YouTube as well as the related videos listed on the page. (NPR, via Chart Porn)

-- Music attorneys Chris Castle and Amy Mitchell are answering 20 questions for new artists. One post, at Castle's blog, deals with advances. Their post is important to note because common parlance (e.g., "in debt to a label") is technically incorrect. Bank debt and "debt" to a record label or publisher are hardly the same. One can lead to bankruptcy and a low credit rating. The other is a more benign account deficit. With true debt, an artist assumes the risk. In music deals, the label or publisher assumes the risk. As they explain, "It is a popular misconception that artists are 'in debt' to their record companies or writers to their publishers. By any normal definition of 'debt' this is not true for two big reasons and many smaller ones: The advance payment does not earn interest and it does not have to be repaid. The advance is only 'recoupable'-meaning that the advance is applied against earned royalties." (Music Technology Policy)

-- Open source media player Songbird has formed a partnership with Philips to bundle the application in Philips' line of GoGear portable music players. That means Songbird will be customized for GoGear devices. Songbird has partnered with 7digital to supply digital downloads and Songkick for concert tracking. iTunes currently dominates the media player market but partnerships like this indicate competitors are seeking to loosen iTunes' grip. (TechCrunch)

-- On Wed. (Jan. 6) at 10am ET, Trans World Entertainment will host its conference call that will review its holiday sales season. (Press release)

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