A hearing in the Joel Tenebaum file-sharing case on Tuesday addressed whether or not the court should reduce the $675,000 jury verdict. A larger award was recently reduced in the Thomas-Rasset file-sharing case. Tenebaum’s attorney has said the decision against his client “produced absurd results.” Now, Tenenbaum may get the award reduced as well, although probably not to the $21 defense attorney Charles Nesson has said he should pay (that comes out to $0.70 wholesale for the 30 songs in question).
The Boston Globe describes U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner as being “openly sympathetic” to Tenenbaum. She did not fault the plaintiff for bringing the case but asked if Tenenbaum’s penalty was severe. “Is there another case in the galaxy that’s held up damages to that degree?” she asked the plaintiff’s attorney. A member of the plaintiff’s team confirmed with blogger Ben Sheffner the Globes characterization of Judge Gertner’s statements.
“The idea that somehow Congress carefully considered this statutory damage against someone like Tenenbaum is completely figmentary,” Nesson is quoted as saying in an article at Law.com. “You don’t interpret a statue to produce absurd results or unconstitutional results.” Plaintiff’s lawyer, Timothy Reynolds, disagreed, saying that Congress did not “foresee the exact technology” used by Tenenbaum but anticipated this very scenario.
“The damages were substantial,” Reynolds said. “This defendant engaged in this conduct for years.”
The plaintiffs in the Tenenbaum case are Altantic Recording Corp., Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records Inc. and UMG Recordings Inc.
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