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Music Your Rights Online

SCOTUS Refuses To Hear Tenenbaum Appeal 420

quantr writes "The Supreme Court has declined to hear Joel Tenenbaum's appeal. A jury in 2009 ordered Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs. A federal judge called the penalty constitutionally excessive, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it at the request of the Recording Industry Association of America. Tenenbaum's attorney, Harvard law professor Charles Nesson, said he's disappointed the high court won't hear the case. But he said the 1st Circuit instructed a judge to consider reducing the award without deciding any constitutional challenge. Nesson said 'Tenenbaum is just entering the job market and can't pay the penalty.'"
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SCOTUS Refuses To Hear Tenenbaum Appeal

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  • Re:Oil the ol' gun (Score:-1, Informative)

    by MichaelKristopeit420 ( 2018880 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @03:53PM (#40068623)
    "declaring bankruptcy is like an option that you're completely ignoring." - someone not as dumb as you
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @03:55PM (#40068653)

    Looking for facts on the original infractions, I googled and found this [businessweek.com]. An excerpt:

    Suing Tenenbaum were Sony Corp. (6758) and its Arista Records, Warner Music Group’s Warner Bros. and Atlantic labels and Vivendi SA’s (VIV) Universal Music Group. They said he made songs available on various sites including Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa and LimeWire, distributing songs to millions of other people. He continued after being sent a letter from the record companies, and blamed sisters, houseguests and even burglars, the companies said.

    “Tenenbaum undertook these actions even though he was fully aware that they were illegal,” the record companies said. “In fact, his own father warned him that individuals were being sued for such conduct but he did not stop.”

  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @04:18PM (#40068957)

    You can understand now how all those "Trips for judges" paid off for the RIAA and other corporate slim.

    It's an old report, and things have gotten MUCH worse, but from the 2000 report on the Tripsforjudges website:
    "The framers and attenders to our judicial system have taken many steps to help foster the notion of the integrity of its judges. Some relate to smoke and mirrors --the high bench, the black robe, the "all rise" custom when the judge enters the room. Some, like life tenure for federal judges, the codes of conduct promulgated for all judges, are intended to create the climate for integrity.

    All of those steps become meaningless when private interests are allowed to wine and dine judges at fancy resorts under the pretext of "educating" them about complicated issues. If an actual party to a case took the judge to a resort, all expenses paid, shortly before the case was heard, it would not matter what they talked about. Even if all they discussed were their prostate problems, the judge and the party would be perceived to be acting improperly. The conduct is no less reprehensible when an interest group substitutes for the party to the case, and the format for discussion is seminars on environmental policy, or law and economics, or the "takings clause" of the Constitution."

    Greed and corruption by our elected officials are destroying the infrastructure and liberties of this country. When the votes of millions can be negated by a "campaign donation" of millions voting because useless. The John Edwards court case illustrates the kinds of folks who are running for office these days, and the corporate donations are making it impossible for any without corporate funding to get elected.

    All three branches of our system are corrupted and broken, and thus the "checks and balances" are broken as well. Both political parties are cesspools of greed. It is essentially impossible for a citizen to redress grievances, and those using civil disobedience to do so have a Socialist agenda as their goal, not the restoration of Constitutional principles, and all that really needs to be done is to shut down corporate (private or public, or 5013c) influence in politics.

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday May 21, 2012 @04:22PM (#40069015)

    People need to understand the points of this case before trying to discuss it.

    When the plaintiff replies "yes" when asked "Mr. Tenenbaum, on the stand now are you now admitting liability for downloading and distributing all 30 sound recordings that are at issue and listed on Exhibits 55 and 56 of the exhibits?", the distribution liability becomes the biggest dick in his ass.

    This was never about downloading for personal use.

    It's also interesting to note that the original Judge who tried to rule on the constitutionality of the monetary award is now retired and is a colleague of Tenenbaums defence attorney...

  • by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @04:31PM (#40069123)

    Ok, screw the NRA. Buckeye Firearms. Funded almost entirely by individual donations. Run by a volunteer who has to read briefs for his day job in between committee meetings. Has completely rewritten Ohio concealed carry laws over the last ten years.

  • by Eivind Eklund ( 5161 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:04PM (#40069547) Journal

    The system is rigged to prevent any change by average people and you know it. Money buys you access, access buys you laws. Period.

    It is rigged. How do you think it got that way?

    By a problem in the design of the US election system combined with having a large country. The primary problem in the design is that there's a first-past-the-post election system combined with simple plurality voting. This leads to very heavy strategic voting ("Don't vote for a third party or your vote is wasted") locking in a bi-partisan situation (and, through "Attitudes follows behavior", mentality). A secondary problem is the use of campaign contributions for the main thrust of political campaigning; this leads to politicians being dependent on contributors to make the cut.

    This means that for areas where people do not strongly care, the parties will not risk offending the contributors, as that may lead to the loss of the next election.

    Having a large country strongly compounds that. If you have a country of three million people, an industry can spend 2 million in lobbying to do something that takes one dollar from each citizen, and make a million - 50% return on investment. In a country with 300 million, they can spend 200 million for the same law and get the same return on investment.

    An individual citizen's relative voice scales the opposite way.

    This makes a 100x difference in size into a 10,000x difference in relative influence. There's a couple of factors that bring these relative factors back a little bit - primarily, the time of politicians are limited, so you can't apply 100x more lobbying expense effectively in convincing people, and people get demotivated by being such a small cog, so the people that *do* have motivation have more access than they proportionally should. Also, much of the money goes to advertising, and that has some proportionality to the number of people reached; though there is a large fixed base.

    But overall, these things taken together makes it hard to get influence. Things have to really enrage people to get them blocked if there's "bipartisan support".

    Because people didn't care.

    People didn't care because they feel like they have no chance of actually changing things - and unless there's work to fix the system, they're often right.

    Is it beyond all hope? Depends. What are you going to do to change it?

    Oh, right. Nothing.

    I try to convince people that they need to hit the hydra at the base: Election reform. By informing people about it. (I can't vote in the US, and my care for the US internal politics is to a large degree compassion - I think the US people deserve a system of government that isn't unduly influenced by corporations.)

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:15PM (#40069685)

    If someone stole and destroyed my $20,0000 car, and I sued him for 4.7 Million, do you think a court would award me such damages? No, the would laugh me out of court.. So how is it that 30 songs is worth over a half a million? And this is fair and reasonable? Some one please explain it to me..

    To bring the money into perspective, in the widely reported Apple vs. Psystar, Psystar was ordered to pay $30,000 for making about 800 illegal copies of MacOS X for commercial gain. I think the software was sold for $129 a piece at that time. So $675,000 for an unknown number of copies of 30 songs that can be bought for $0.99 each seems a bit exaggerated in comparison.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @05:21PM (#40069759)

    "People are losing their homes because of a combination of a loss of income as they lost their jobs and their mortgages being too high" and this is really as it should be. People are suffering the consequences of their own actions and/or bad planning or luck. There is no force being applied here. This is direct responsibility and IMHO they deserve to loose their houses. You don't always win and you're loss of your house is not my problem.

    As for contracting cancer, hey that sucks. But that is also not my problem. In the end we all get something fatal. This is life as death is a part of life and unavoidable.

    Meanwhile the realtor who convinced you that it absolutely won't be a problem to take that loan and that you'd be an idiot not to walked away with a large check and absolutely no responsibility what-so-ever.

    Personal responsibility is super-important, but business and corporate responsibility? Pshaw! We can't have that!

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