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July 12, 2010
RIAA Gets Slapped; Tenenbaum Still Can't Pay
Almost two years ago I made the prediction that the Cartel would settle its suit against Joel Tenenbaum
- WRONG! Instead, Tenenbaum ended up admitting on the stand that he had shared music files, the judge directed a verdict, and the jury came back with a massive judgment against him
No problem, said the Cartel-infested DoJ which opposed a motion to reduce the damages to the statutory minimum. WRONG! said the judge.
As Nate Anderson explains in a piece for ars technica, Judge Gertner has ruled that the massive award is unconstitutional as a violation of the due process clause. In the US, the notion of due process originates with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which is very simply written but complexly interpreted. In essence, what is at issue here is the fairness of the punishment - sometimes put as the idea that the punishment ought to "fit" or be proportional to the crime. To make the punishment more fit, Gertner slashed the damage award to $67,500.
Anderson's article discusses the similarities and key differences between this situation and the Jammie Thomas case, in which the damages were also reduced but through a different legal strategy. That case is going back around again, and you can bet the RIAA isn't going to sit still for this slap. Tenenbaum maintains he doesn't have even the reduced amount but that's not the point. The RIAA are out for their pound of flesh and will certainly appeal.
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