Music Fan Owes $675,000 for Illegal Downloads, Court Rules

(FOXNEWS)   Enjoy that song: It’ll cost you.  In 2009, a Boston jury downgraded a ruling against Joel Tenenbaum for illegally downloading music files from $675,000 to just $67,500, deeming the original penalty “unconstitutionally excessive.” Not so fast, an appeals court has ruled.

On Friday Sept 16th, following pleas for further leniency from Tenenbaum and indignant filings from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a federal appeals court revisited the ruling — and decided Tenenbaum ought to pay.

“We affirm the finding of liability against Tenenbaum and in favor of plaintiffs,” U.S. Circuit Chief Judge Sandra Lynch said in the written opinion released Friday — reinstating the $675,000 judgment against Tenenbaum, a 28-year-old graduate student pursuing a physics PhD at Boston University.

A spokesman for the RIAA did not respond to requests for comment.

“We’re pls’ed the crt agreed that the finding of liability was correct and that the d crt erred in finding the verdict unconst,” wrote Jonathan Lamy, senior vice president of communications for RIAA, on Twitter.

Tenenbaum’s lawyers argued that federal copyright laws and the Digital Theft Deterrence Act were not meant to target consumers. Lawyers representing the recording industry argued that the economic impact of illegal downloading is much greater than the sharing of one song.

The case ultimately came down to one of constitutionality, according to the ruling. The appeals court determined that original judge Nancy Gertner did not have the power to reduce damages in a copyright trial.

There’s one ray of hope for Tanenbaum, however: an open question about just how the Copyright Act is being applied.

“This case raises concerns about application of the Copyright Act which Congress may wish to examine,” it reads.

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