The State of Illegally Downloaded Music

The State of Illegally Downloaded Music

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Only a few short months after Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $1.92 million in damages to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegally downloading and sharing 24 songs, it looks as if a second defendant is about to go down in flames. 

Joel Tenenbaum, is a 25 year old BU student, who along with Jammie Thomas-Rasset was among the 18,000 recipients of letters from the RIAA demanding payment for illegal downloads.  Like many, Mr. Tenenbaum decided to take the matter to trial and had well known lawyer Charlie Nesson at his side.  On the stand, however, Mr. Tenenbaum admitted responsibility for illegally downloading songs on Kazaa.  When asked “Are you now admitting liability for downloading and distributing all 30 songs,” Tenenbaum simply replied, “yes.”

Clearly Tenenbaum and Thomas-Rassetare people without malicious intent who are likely law abiding people.  Nevertheless, they have infringed on another’s copyright and intellectual property and have been brought to court to answer for themselves.  The problem being, that there truly is no defense for such actions.  One can not deny the illegality of it.  A defendant can only ask that the damages be limited.  Unfortunately, Ms. Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $80,000 per song.  If the jury in this case finds similarly, Mr. Tenenbaum could be looking at a 2.4 million dollar bill.

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