Joel Fights Back, but it doesn’t sound good

by scotslawstudent

Joel Tenenbaum, of fame, has just received the verdict in his ground breaking music file sharing trial.  I’m currently following this through twitter on @joelfightsback and #jfb and as far as I can tell he’s been found to have willfully infringed copyright on thirty songs.  Given his defence included things like an attempt at the fair use defence and the case law is both suspect and against him that’s not entirely unexpected but still very disappointed.  This case is less significant than the Pirate Bay trial but marked an important step in dealing with file sharing.  It appears the punishing fine stage is still with us.

Here’s the nasty thing.  He’s to pay $675,000 thank you very much.  Ouch.  It’s a fraction of the $4.5m the pursuers wanted from him but that’s still a thick wad of change.

The nice thing about this decision is that it is the very lowest the jury could have possibly given Joel, he did the thing he’s been accused of and so he’s earned a fine.  The fine the jury wants him to get, however, is no where near what the record companies want him to pay.  The difference in opinion is telling.  (Or hey, it might not, US jurisprudence is well outside my degree course. I say it as I read it).  I think it goes as low as $750/song for unwillful copyright violation, rather than willful copyright, which is worse and is what the jury decided in this case.

Additionally, major kudos to the jury in following the rule of law in this case, despite the media hype (which I ‘m sure they didn’t see) surrounding it.

Although not a scratch on Mutu’s eyewatering FIFA penalty, eh?