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BU Student Copyrights

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 12 years ago

BU student in downloading case concedes he infringed on copyrights

July 30, 2009 03:46 PM
 

A Boston University graduate student fighting the recording industry over illegal downloading and online sharing of music today conceded from the witness stand that he infringed on the copyrights of the 30 songs for which he was sued.

"Are you now admitting liability for downloading and distributing all 30 songs" that are at issue in the civil lawsuit? asked Timothy M. Reynolds, a lawyer for four record labels.

"Yes," Joel Tenenbaum, the 25-year-old graduate student, said near the conclusion of about three hours on the witness stand in US District Court in Boston.

The acknowledgment by Tenenbaum raised the possibility that the recording industry will ask US District Judge Nancy Gertner at the end of the trial to rule that Tenenbaum was liable for copyright infringement and that the jury should only consider the issue of damages.

Gertner has told lawyers for both sides that she wants the jury to get the case Friday. But the plaintiffs are still presenting evidence, and Tenenbaum's lawyers plan to call at least one witness.

Tenenbaum's admission was not entirely unexpected. Earlier on the witness stand, he unapologetically admitted downloading hundreds of songs since around 1999. He also matter-of-factly admitted lying about it in sworn statements to the record labels and falsely blaming it on others who might have had access to his computer at his house in Providence, including his two sisters, friends, and house guests.

After Tenenbaum admitted liability under questioning by Reynolds, the student's lawyer, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson, asked Tenenbaum whether he now thinks what he did was wrong.

"I think it's part of the process of growing up and learning things," Tenenbaum said. "It's nothing I do now or have done in a while."

His suit is only the second of thousands of legal complaints filed by the industry over illegal downloading to go to trial. Most defendants settle such complaints. If he loses, the jury could award the labels as much as $150,000 for each willful infringement, or a total of $4.5 million.

  • Hope he gets hit with the $4.5 mil judgment. Stealing is stealing even if 'everybody else' does it. That's not a legal defense.

    Posted by bert f. July 30, 09 03:31 PM
     
  • This case and the other extortion moves by the RIAA are one of the main reasons why I will never spend another dollar on recorded music again.

    Posted by John July 30, 09 03:55 PM
     
  • If this is the way he is running his defense, why did he go to trial? Is this article leaving something out of the story?

    Posted by puzzled observer July 30, 09 04:22 PM
     
  • If this is the way he is running his defense, why did he go to trial? Is this article leaving something out of the story?

    Posted by puzzled observer July 30, 09 04:33 PM
     
  • these people are snakes the riaa.. they have screwed and left destitue thousands of musicians with worthless contracts and when an artist fights them in court and starts to win the riaa will open up the case in another state,the recording industry will go as far as opening the case in all fifty states so the artist could never finacially withstand defeating them...go ahead and download these snakes deserve what they are getting ..they are no more for artist then there own greed..they have yet to pay back millions of dollars in royalties to artist they screwed in a ruling that gave trhe artist ownership of their own master recvordings

    Posted by skip July 30, 09 04:36 PM
     
  • While I agree this is stealing, a $4.5 million settlement for $30 worth of music is absurd. If he had gone in a store and shoplifted the equivalent in CD's he would get a few months probation tops, the same should apply here.

    Posted by davdev July 30, 09 04:36 PM
     
  • I get a $35 fine for turning righ on red and get the book thrown at me (meaning it will cost me about $1,200 with the increase in insurance so this punk should have to pay the 4.5 million. I agree with #1. Ha, ha, ha. I bet he didn't think he'd get caught. And he lied in swarn statements? Kids a punk. Hopefully mommy and daddy can bale him out of this too.

    Posted by Mary Falcione July 30, 09 04:41 PM
     
  • If I pay for a cd at the store and give it away for free, am i not guilty as well?

    Posted by kevin July 30, 09 04:42 PM
     
  • i haven't paid for music in about 10 years, and don't plan to anytime soon

    anonymous proxy servers for the win!

    Posted by CrackMonkey July 30, 09 05:00 PM
     
  • Music lawyers are the enemy of the musicians...BMI and ASCAP are the same perverted thinkers that shut down live music venues in the name of royalties.... and guess what, they don't care that people have stopped buying music, and can't find entry level venues to hear live music...as long as they can squeeze the last cent out of an unfair and out of date ideology. (A lot like our daily newspapers...)

    Posted by nedfender July 30, 09 05:12 PM
     
  • Yeah, this is bull, the industry is changing, the world is changing. Hop on or get out of the way.

    Posted by me July 30, 09 06:23 PM
     
  • Well, the kid had the option of settling for between 3,000 to 5,000 dollars. He refused and wanted to go to court. One lady also did so. She was found guilty and now owes over 1.2 million to the RIAA.

    Gst he wishes now that he paid the 5 grand when the offer was made.

    Posted by Ron Thibodeau July 30, 09 06:26 PM
     
  • How much of this settlement will any of the artist(s) see? My guess is somewhere in the range of 0. What Tenenbaum did was wrong. (although I don't think it is worth a lawsuit) It is just really big company that steals from the artists themselves wanting even more money. The money should go into an account and maybe pay for some of the problems in this nation. Fund an after school program, hire some police, fire, teachers and other people.

    Posted by Alan July 30, 09 08:38 PM
     
  • Ron, he offered $5250 and THEY refused.

    Posted by Jon July 30, 09 08:39 PM
     
  • How much of this settlement will any of the artist(s) see? My guess is somewhere in the range of 0. What Tenenbaum did was wrong. (although I don't think it is worth a lawsuit) It is just really big company that steals from the artists themselves wanting even more money. The money should go into an account and maybe pay for some of the problems in this nation. Fund an after school program, hire some police, fire, teachers and other people.

    Posted by Alan July 30, 09 08:40 PM
     
  • For those who think 'the lady was guilty' or that shoplifting carees a lighter sentence, you clearly dont understand the difference between "civil" and "criminal" trials or "guilt" versus liability. That said, he didn't 'steal' by the traditional meaning. He didn't deprive someone of their product. He copied a copywritten file. I would think this should be a lesser offense than walking into best buy and removing their goods without paying. I dont get how $30 worth of music equals millions. Also, for those calling him a punk, this was standard practice at any college from 1999-2002. Every kid did it and not many realized the moral or ethical consequences. I doubt they are all 'punks' for it.

    Posted by DJ July 30, 09 09:26 PM
     
  • Downloading LOWER QUALITY digital copies of songs is NOT the same as stealing a CD, it's a lesser offense for sure. The RIAA uses outdated and flawed logic, because if the public had any sense we'd DEMAND that the record industry give us a CD for every album or tape that we have ever bought from them over and over.

    Artists don't even NEED record labels anymore, record labels that CHARGE the artists they represent for every STAPLE and nickel and dime.

    Posted by FrankD! July 30, 09 09:45 PM
     
  • If he ends up losing and being fined hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, it won't matter at all. The music industry will not recoup the money from him. They can try to skim money off of his salary, but it will never equal the amount of money they may be rewarded. This is pure folly on the part of the RIAA, their lawyers and the music industry.

    The recording companies are in a lurch trying to figure out how to make money in a day when the internet affords users the chance to trade music over p2p networks. Nowadays, people who purchase music don't buy full-length cds, they're purchasing singles . Thats the ultimate problem for the industry. They need to fix their business model of go the way of the Dodo bird.

 

Comments (8)

marcfrenger said

at 9:08 am on Sep 22, 2009

I believe he should be punished but not to the extent that he was.

kristenpeluso said

at 9:08 am on Sep 22, 2009

I don't think he should have to pay that much. You can't really steal someone's voice. If someone recorded my voice and distributed it, would that be stealing? Maybe if they didn't make music so expensive people would pay for it.

markstanley said

at 9:08 am on Sep 22, 2009

My opinion is that it is garbage that we shouldn't get in trouble for downloading music. The bands make enough money and they shouldn't be worried about fans downloading music.

jaywilliamson said

at 9:09 am on Sep 22, 2009

I hope this guy gets busted because he stole. I laugh at him because that is a really stupid thing to do. I dont care if he goes to prison.

justinfinley said

at 9:10 am on Sep 22, 2009

Like I said in class, you could buy the music and then distribute it and still get in trouble! I think the whole downloading music should be free, they get more fans to worship them which is what the bands actually want.

phillipwhite said

at 9:12 am on Sep 22, 2009

Ummm it's technically sharing and the people that start the "sharing" is the people that buy the CD in the store. Should they be sued too?

mackenziestacey said

at 5:22 pm on Sep 22, 2009

I think it's stupid that he has to pay that much. Downloading music should be free. Buying a CD and distributing it to people is the same thing as distributing music you downloaded. But no one gets in trouble for that.

Jayson Yeagley said

at 7:48 pm on Sep 22, 2009

Thanks for your comments! Hopefully we can keep them going!

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