Reports: RIAA wins $675k in damages from file swapper

Nancy Gohring
4 August, 2009
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A Boston student has been ordered to pay $US675,000 ($A850,000) to the recording industry for illegal file-sharing, according to reports.

Joel Tenenbaum had admitted to downloading and sharing digital music. Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts found him guilty of infringement and left the jury to decide damages.

They were instructed to charge him between $US750 ($A925) and $US30,000 ($A37,500) for each song he downloaded and distributed. On Friday, the jury decided he should pay $US22,500 ($A28,000) per song, according to Ars Technica.

The verdict had not been posted online late Friday and Tenenbaum’s lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment.

The ruling comes a month-and-a-half after another file sharer, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, was also ordered to pay up for infringement. She was initially asked to pay $220,000 but won a retrial, after which a Minnesota jury ordered her to pay $1.92 million, or $80,000 per song. She plans to appeal the decision.

The Recording Industry Association of America has filed around 20,000 lawsuits against people in a bid to stop online music trading and copyright infringement. Thomas-Rasset was one of the first people to receive a guilty verdict in a case backed by the RIAA. Others have settled their suits.

Late last year the RIAA said it would stop filing new lawsuits against individuals for file-trading, but it continues to litigate cases it had already filed.

In a statement the RIAA said it was grateful for the jury’s recognition of the impact illegal downloading has on the music industry.

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