High court won’t reduce student’s fine for downloading music

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has refused to take up a Boston University student’s constitutional challenge of a $675,000 penalty for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them on the Internet.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Joel Tenenbaum of Providence, R.I., who was sued  successfully by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally sharing music on peer-to-peer networks. In 2009, a jury ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000, or $22,500 for each song he illegally downloaded and shared.

A federal judge called that unconstitutionally excessive, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston reinstated the penalty at the request of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records Inc. and other record labels represented by the RIAA.

The judge will have a new opportunity to look at the case and again could order the penalty reduced, using different legal reasoning.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.  and Justice Stephen G. Breyer did not participate in the high court’s consideration of the case.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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