Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RIAA Awarded $675,000 In Tenenbaum Trial

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the songs-apparently-cost-as-much-as-cars dept.

Music 492

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The jury awarded the record company plaintiffs $675,000 in the Boston trial defended by Prof. Charles Nesson, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. I was not surprised, since exactly none of the central issues ever even came up in this trial. The judge had instructed the jurors that Mr. Tenenbaum was liable, and that their only task was to come up with a verdict that was more than $22,500 and less than $4.5 million. According to the judge, her reason for doing so was that, when on the stand, the defendant was asked if he admitted liability, and he said 'yes.' The lawyers among you will know that that was a totally improper question, and that the Court should not have even allowed it, much less based her holding upon the answer to it."

cancel ×

492 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

bankrupt then what? (4, Interesting)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903555)

A good example of the justice system at work for your average citizen... So really, what happens next? The guy files for bankruptcy. The RIAA doesn't get any money (not that they really intend to get significant income from those cases). What are the consequences for Mr. Tenenbaum? Can't get a credit card for a few years? Needs to get a job? I'm really curious as to what the true consequences will be.

--
fantasy camp for iPhone developers [fairsoftware.net]

Re:bankrupt then what? (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903613)

What are the consequences for Mr. Tenenbaum? Can't get a credit card for a few years?

Few years? I had a secured credit card the day after my discharge and an unsecured one four months later. I'm now four years from my bankruptcy and have 50% of my annual salary in unsecured revolving tradelines (i.e: credit cards) and can get the same interest rates as anyone else.

Yes what people need to remember (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903783)

Is your credit is, in fact, NOT ruined after a bankruptcy. Why? Because you can't file again for a number of years. Thus lenders don't have to worry about you using bankruptcy to just walk on your debts. That doesn't mean your credit is grand, but it isn't worthless. Companies will lend to you since they know you don't have that as a way out.

Re:Yes what people need to remember (2, Insightful)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903823)

Interesting... I wonder what happens as you approach the 8 year mark... when you can file for bankruptcy again.

Re:Yes what people need to remember (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904051)

Not much, assuming you have paid your bills in a timely manner and maintain a low amount of debt. Why would a creditor want to ditch someone with an 8 year history of timely payments?

Your credit score can actually drop a little bit at the 10 year mark when the bankruptcy comes off (7 years for Chapter 13s) but that's a side effect of the way the score model works. Fair Issac (the FICO people) has "scorecards" where they score you against similar people. In a group of people that have filed bankruptcy you might look pretty good. Once that bankruptcy goes away then you are scored against people who haven't filed and may look better or worse when compared against them.

Depends on how you did in the intervening years (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904057)

At that point, the bankruptcy falls off your credit report. So more or less what they look at is your history during that time. All inactive accounts slide off your report after an amount of time, and all bad information. You can look it up as to what goes off when. However if over the 8 years you maintained proper credit usage, you'd have good credit. If you dug yourself in to a deep hole, you'd have crap credit again.

Credit isn't a permanent state. It is intended to be a risk assessment off of your usage history. However it only goes back so far. IF you defaulted on a credit card when you were 20, nobody will know at 40. It isn't held against you for life.

Re:Yes what people need to remember (1)

L0rdJedi (65690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904119)

It's not entirely ruined, but you certainly won't be making any big ticket purchases (ie cars or homes) without getting the highest interest rate they can stick you with. At that point, your history shows that you are not a good risk for high amounts like that.

Re:Yes what people need to remember (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904249)

I think if RIAA ever sues me, I'm not even going to bother defending myself.

- I'll just ignore the extortion letter demanding $500 or else.
- Ignore the summons to court.
- Not bother showing up.
- Just wait for a verdict.

And then I'll have a good laugh about the whole thing, because no way would I pay a 1 or 2 million dollar fine. I'll declare bankruptcy, and then use the verdict as an opportunity to show how evil the record companies are.

- "Look what our country has become? A place where a person has to pay 2 million dollars because he heard 30 streamed songs off the net. Who's next? Your neighbor? Your self? Your child? This is tyranny pure and simple, not liberty." - except from the book, Corporate Slavery - The New Plantation

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903797)

I'm now four years from my bankruptcy and have 50% of my annual salary in unsecured revolving tradelines (i.e: credit cards)

So is your plan to file bankruptcy again? I hope you have a strategy for dealing with those credit card bills because that's a bad situation.

Re:bankrupt then what? (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903977)

So is your plan to file bankruptcy again? I hope you have a strategy for dealing with those credit card bills because that's a bad situation.

Umm, tradeline != debt. My combined credit limit on all (3) of my credit cards is about 50% of my annual salary. My actual debt non-existent as I don't carry a balance on my credit cards and paid off my car/student loans a long time ago.

Re:bankrupt then what? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904015)

Umm, who the hell would know what a "tradeline" is? Just say credit limit; problem solved.

No reason for an "Umm."

Re:bankrupt then what? (-1, Troll)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903819)

I'm now four years from my bankruptcy and have 50% of my annual salary in unsecured revolving tradelines (i.e: credit cards)

Good luck with your next bankruptcy, and thanks for your contribution to society.

Re:bankrupt then what? (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903937)

Go fuck yourself and your condescending superior attitude. My bankruptcy was mainly incurred by medical problems. You ever need to have emergency surgery without medical insurance? Give it a try sometime and let me know how it works out for you.

I attempted to settle my debts for years before I filed bankruptcy only to find that while I was unable to pay them they had increased nearly 400% from the amount I originally borrowed. It's amazing how quickly debt can pile up when they your APR goes up to 34.99% and they keep piling on late/over-the-limit/because-we-can fees every month.

But that's not the end of it. Once you are unable to make payments to your original creditors they eventually give up and sell your debt to a junk debt buyer. This entity buys your debt for pennies on the dollar and then attempts to collect 200-400% of the original amount owed. They keep 100% of what they collect. The people from whom you actually borrowed the money don't see a dime.

I have no regrets about filing bankruptcy. It wasn't a hard choice to pick between paying back people I never borrowed money from and moving on with my life.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904019)

They think you have 50% of your salary charged on your credit cards again:

I'm now four years from my bankruptcy and have 50% of my annual salary in unsecured revolving tradelines (i.e: credit cards)

You meant that's your credit limit right?

Re:bankrupt then what? (5, Informative)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904065)

You must be an American, pity you do not have national health insurance program. Sure you may have to wait a bit for elective and non-emergency surgery but at least you don't get bankrupted having emergency surgery. (yes there are a few exceptions, some people die waiting, talking about the vast majority here)

Re:bankrupt then what? (-1, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904127)

You must be an American, pity you do not have national health insurance program. Sure you may have to wait a bit for elective and non-emergency surgery but at least you don't get bankrupted having emergency surgery. (yes there are a few exceptions, some people die waiting, talking about the vast majority here)

So what? I'd rather have our system even with my experience, thank you very much. Filing bankruptcy is not the end of the World. It's a legal preceding. Nothing more, nothing less. If you've properly structured your assets you aren't likely to lose anything that really matters (house, family heirlooms, etc).

I'm sorry but I've never understood the trauma that some people associate with bankruptcy. Our system is designed so that you can start over after experiencing a setback like that. Businesses use it all the time without shame. At the end of the day it's better for society that a business/individual can get a fresh start and remain a productive member of society instead of a debt slave. There isn't any shame in it.

I'd rather have our bankruptcy process and a free market medical system than have yet another intrusion of Government into my life. "Buy this coverage or we'll fine you. Lose weight or we'll fine you. Don't eat that big mac that we've slapped a sin-tax or we'll fine you." I have choices right now. I'm doubtful that anything that comes out of Washington is going to increase the number of choices I have. History suggests the opposite.

Re:bankrupt then what? (5, Informative)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904261)

I'd rather have our bankruptcy process and a free market medical system than have yet another intrusion of Government into my life. "Buy this coverage or we'll fine you. Lose weight or we'll fine you. Don't eat that big mac that we've slapped a sin-tax or we'll fine you." I have choices right now. I'm doubtful that anything that comes out of Washington is going to increase the number of choices I have. History suggests the opposite.

FUD. FUD FUD FUD. Speaking as someone living in America now, having lived most of my life in Australia under nationalized health, and the UK under same, and making my living from the health insurance industry here, the system here is a travesty.

You do NOT get fined for being overweight. You don't get fined for being unhealthy. "I'm not going to let the government decide my health care! Instead, I'm going to praise the land of the free because my health insurer chooses to deny me cancer coverage because I forgot to mention I had appendicitis 20 years ago." "Instead of a government bureaucrat (and very rare is this the case), I'll happily let a HMO accountant with no medical training whatsoever decide what medical coverage I am entitled to!"

Instead, I get to pay $500 a month for health coverage, plus high deductibles, high out of pocket expenses, have no coverage for the things my wife and I desire. In Australia I paid 1% of my income as a tax, or 1.5% when my income hit 45,000 a year. Alternatively, I could opt in for private coverage, and pay as much or as little as I liked, and not have that tax.

"But I don't want to pay because you're unhealthy" - right, because when someone goes into an ER now because they have a cold, and walk out without paying the bill, who do you think eats the cost? Hint: an overnight stay in hospital doesn't really cost $10,000+. For bonus points: pay cash at your chiro for a $45/hour session. Pay through insurance and have them bill $150 for the same session. Think your insurance carrier is making that much on your premiums being invested that they're covering their costs, plus this? Nope, you're paying.

America is the ONLY country in the first world that doesn't have nationalized health care. Why is it you mainly hear about all this supposed dissatisfaction all over the world with their supposedly horrible health care from US news, not the BBC, or AP, or Reuters, or any other news agency actually in these countries? Instead, we pay twice as much per capita for health care than other first world countries, and have substantially worse than average first world metrics on everything from infant mortality, to life expectancy, to diabetes, to heart disease, to cancer. Yet for all this, there are people who continue to trumpet that everything is A-OK here, and that it's the best way to be.

Jobs would be envious of this RDF.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904139)

Have you ever been to a Department of Motor Vehicles or Social Security office in the US? If so do you REALLY think it would be a good idea having an agency like that running a health care system? I think I'd sooner remove my own appendix with a dull spoon.

Re:bankrupt then what? (0, Offtopic)

PRMan (959735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904145)

99.9% of people would rather go bankrupt than die waiting for surgery.

If you were trying to convince me that national health care is better, it really didn't work.

Just saying...

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904121)

If major corporations like AIG or General Motors can file bankruptcy, why can't we?

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

L0rdJedi (65690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904071)

Try applying for a home loan and see how far you get. While you may be able to get some amount, you likely won't be able to get anything significant and you won't be able to get a nice low rate.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904191)

Try applying for a home loan and see how far you get. While you may be able to get some amount, you likely won't be able to get anything significant and you won't be able to get a nice low rate.

Somebody didn't tell my mortgage broker that, because I was approved earlier this year for a 30 year mortgage at 4.75% I've also qualified for 0% automobile financing since my bankruptcy. My main credit card from my local credit union is at 7.9% (not that I ever have a balance on it, mind you).

BK really isn't the hurdle that it used to be. There are some lenders (Amex, Wells Fargo, Citi) that will refuse to deal with you but there's plenty of other people on the national level (not to mention local) willing to step up to the plate.

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904155)

Pretty much anyone can get a secured credit card. That isn't really issued credit, it's really just you giving a deposit kind of like a gift card and using that balance as your maximum "credit" allowance. However, the secured route can and does help people re-establish a good credit rating.

Re:bankrupt then what? (2, Interesting)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903623)

I can't help but think there's some strategic reason for his actions that will become clearer upon appeal.

Re:bankrupt then what? (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903673)

I can't help but think there's some strategic reason for his actions that will become clearer upon appeal.

I've never heard stupidity described as strategic. The kid relies on a bunch of law students to draft up a dubious defense relying on fair use, then admits to committing the action that the Plaintiff alleges caused them a financial loss. I don't think I would approach a civil action in the same manner......

Re:bankrupt then what? (5, Interesting)

shark72 (702619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903875)

They submitted fair use as a defense with the likely understanding that it would be rejected. This is Nesson's ticket to appeal.

My guess is that Nesson knows he can't get precedent set at the district court level. MGM v. Grokster made it to the Supreme Court, and I think Nesson wants to take this one to the Supremes. Tennenbaum didn't have a chance with the current interpretation of the law (basically "copyright infringement is bad, mmmkay?"), so he's trying to shake things up.

That's just my interpretation. The other possibility is that he's simply an idiot, but it's already established that he's a very smart guy.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904041)

Well he didn't have much of a choice, right? When you're on the stand you can't sit there and squirm and say "I don't wanna answer that." If his attorney doesn't object, he has to answer. But he probably thought that there's no way the judge would allow that to be put on record, and he was wrong. Doesn't matter anyway, it'll give him an appeal.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904205)

Well he didn't have much of a choice, right? When you're on the stand you can't sit there and squirm and say "I don't wanna answer that."

He could have chosen not to testify to begin with, you know.

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904211)

He can plead the fifth. It's not just for criminal court. It can be plead in civil, criminal... any judicial proceedings.

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904045)

Well $675,000 plus interest is equivalent to a life's sentence because that's how long it would take to earn the money. (To be precise - 45+ years at a typical after-tax $10/hour wage.)

A smart lawyer could argue this verdict is unconstitutional since a life sentence is "cruel and unusual punishment" for merely downloading ~$30 worth of songs. If the Supremes agree then that portion of the DMCA Congressional law would be struck-down.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904251)

When I read TFA, I had the thought that this is just what an RIAA shill would say, if put on the stand to help generate a precedent in the RIAA's favour.

Whether this is a good thought or not, I have no idea, but I had it anyway :)

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903775)

Bankruptcy might not help much. It could but,

Some states will not discharge debt less then a year old or judgments against the person until a certain period of time has lapsed.

Also after the bankruptcy reforms, they look at your debt and compare it to your ability to ever pay it off. In some cases, the courts will only discharge a portion of the debt if there is a likelihood of you paying some of it off. The sad/interesting thing about this is that Tenenbaum is a college grad (or soon to be) with a potentially promising career in front of him so it might be likely that the debt goes into consolidation and he pays a percentage of income for a set amount of years.

I had a friend, and to make a long story short, she rented a car and took a bunch of classmates to another state for a college football game. On the way back, a truck hit them and one person was killed with all of them taking an extended stay in a hospital. The family of the kid who died sued her, the trucking company, the rental company, and the insurance (which attempted to bail) and she ended up with something like a $500k judgment. She had to stop going to school and claim the accident made it impossible to function there with the remaining classmates before filing bankruptcy or her lawyer advised that they would just make her make payments instead of discharging the judgment. All of the students were over 21 but she had around 8 people crammed into a midsized car that only had 5 seatbelts and admitted that some of the passengers were smoking pot but claimed she wasn't. That's pretty much what got her, but the insurance ended up paying some and the truck (pickup) was uninsured and the law protected the rental company.

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903849)

Some states will not discharge debt less then a year old or judgments against the person until a certain period of time has lapsed.

Actually it's not up to the states to decide what gets discharged or not. That's Federal Law. The handful of discharge exemptions [cornell.edu] include debts incurred via fraud (you lied on the loan application), tax debts, government backed student loan debts, debts for personal injury caused while driving drunk, child support/alimony and debts owed to the government for fines/criminal punishments.

A civil judgment by RIAA would not seem to fit into any of those exemptions. They won't be able to collect a dime of that money. Of course collecting money isn't the point of the RIAA extortion campaign. The point is to scare people away from file sharing. How's that working for them, anyway?

The family of the kid who died sued her, the trucking company, the rental company, and the insurance (which attempted to bail) and she ended up with something like a $500k judgment. She had to stop going to school and claim the accident made it impossible to function there with the remaining classmates before filing bankruptcy or her lawyer advised that they would just make her make payments instead of discharging the judgment.

Your friend should have had more liability insurance. Failing that she probably should have just accepted the Chapter 13 instead of dropping out of school. They wouldn't have made her pay back the whole debt. She would have to pay whatever she could afford over 3 to 5 years. That could be 100% of the debt (if your friend has a LOT of disposable income) or as little as 10% or less.

Re:bankrupt then what? (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904021)

Then I think you missed one:

willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another entity or to the property of another entity;

I see no reason that file sharing would not easily meet that criteria, particularly if you are so anti-corporation that you try to claim a fair use defense because you are only distributing fragments of a file....

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904005)

Why is alain9404 allowed to keep spamming Slashdot?

Re:bankrupt then what? (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904075)

"Did you do it?"
"Yes."

Whoever was defending him was clearly off the ball letting that one fly past.

I had a cop try that once. I had been (falsely I might add) arrested. Out on bail. After two weeks they found no evidence so when I reported back the good Detective said I was free to go. Then he said:

"So, you're free and go home. So now you're free, tell me, did you do it?"

Clearly criminals aren't very bright if that question is even worth asking.

Re:bankrupt then what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904227)

"Did you do it?"

"Yes."

Whoever was defending him was clearly off the ball letting that one fly past.

What is the basis for the objection? Contrary to what you see on TV, where TV-lawyers say "Objection" and nothing else, and the judge then says "Sustained", in real life you must have a basis, for example "Objection, hearsay" or "Objection, calls for an opinion" or some other reason based in the rules of evidence. There is no such thing as an objection merely because you don't want to answer the question or that answering the question will hurt your case.

Note, this was not a criminal trial, where one cannot be compelled to testify against oneself. This was a civil trial. I suppose, there could potentially be criminal issues involved in _some other_ case, which may have allowed him to take the 5th.

someone just (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903609)

bomb the damn HQ of the riaa already, where are the terrorists when you need them? fuck them

Re:someone just (2, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903683)

where are the terrorists when you need them?

Representing Plaintiffs and Defendants, of course!

Re:someone just (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903863)

bomb the damn HQ of the riaa already, where are the terrorists when you need them? fuck them

And here I was thinking the RIAA were the terrorists.

Re:someone just (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903971)

I see the attempt at humor but I'm going to spoil it anyway. For many, the difference between being a terrorist or "something else" is in who and how the term is defined. But the last people to be called terrorists are the ones who have the most influence over government and the writing and enforcement of its laws.

Re:someone just (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904087)

"RIAAti"?

Re:someone just (3, Insightful)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903933)

Dont you know, terrorists never existed in the first place, its just a scam to scare people.

I am still in favor of bombing the RIAA though.

fixed your typo - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904283)

bomb the damn HQ of the riaa already, where are the freedom fighters when you need them? fuck them

What is the point of jury trial? (3, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903651)

If the judge gets to decide the verdict (unless it's a not guilty verdict in a criminal case)? Why not let the judge consult with whomever he/she wants rather than the 12 jurors in this case? If jury trials are not necessary in civil cases, mandate judge trials. At least outrageous fines will become rare. But don't create a farce hidden by an appearance of a right to a jury trial.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903765)

He had a jury trial, he also admitted to doing what he was accused of doing. In a criminal trial that's pleading guilty. Why would they waste time at that point arguing over a point that has already been conceded.

"Your honor, I did it! I admit it."

"That's for a jury to decide son..."

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (5, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903919)

He had a jury trial, he also admitted to doing what he was accused of doing. In a criminal trial that's pleading guilty.

No, its not. In both a criminal trial and a civil trial there are pleadings, and they are distinct from testimony given at trial. What he did was answer an improper question asked of him as a witness (since the question was one of law not of fact) in a way which was harmful, which is not at all the same as pleading guilty in a criminal case.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904245)

Why is this modded interesting?

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904259)

If the point is so clear, just how much time would the Jury spend debating the issue? Even in a criminal trial you could have a defendant yelling "I did it" and the lawyers arguing that he is bonkers. As unlikely as the jury is to buy that, what is the real harm in asking?

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (5, Insightful)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903781)

The judge's role is to decide issues of law, and the jurors' duty is to decide issues of fact.

In this case, both sides agreed that he violated copyright and that he was liable for it. The only issue that then remained was whether he did it "willfully" or not. The jury got to determine this, which determined what his liability was.

He basically walked into court and said, Yes, everything they're saying is true. What sort of result were you expecting?

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903835)

No, he admitted "liability", not "guilt". Those are two very different things. As NYCL pointed out, liability is a question of law that the defendant is not qualified to judge.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (3, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903965)

What he said [arstechnica.com]

"This is me. I'm here to answer," said Tenenbaum. "I used the computer. I uploaded and downloaded music. This is how it is. I did it," he testified before a packed courtroom, whose spectators included an all-star cast of Harvard Law School copyright scholars: Lawrence Lessig, John Palfrey, and Jonathan Zittrain.

"Are you admitting liability for all 30 sound recordings" on which the record labels brought suit, asked the plaintiffs' attorney Tim Reynolds.

"Yes," said Tenenbaum.

Tenenbaum then admitted that he "lied" in his written discovery responses, the ones in which he denied responsibility.

"Why did you lie at that point?" asked Tenenbaum's attorney, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson. "It was kind of something I rushed through," responded Tenenbaum. "It's what seemed the best response to give." At the time he gave the admittedly false discovery responses, Tenenbaum testified that he was being advised by his mother Judith, a family law attorney who works for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903975)

The defendant? Not without review and consideration...which was done by the Judge, who said "Yes, this guy admitted liability and I believe he's accurate in his admission, so this is one thing the jury won't have to worry about" .

The same thing happens with guilty pleas. A judge can refuse to accept a guilty plea if not convinced that the admission is truthful, or complete.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (1)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904061)

Ok, I actually bothered to RTFA, and I agree. It does look a little sketchy.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (4, Informative)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903885)

Jury trials are a right in most civil and criminal cases (lets not start talking about small claims court or other specialized areas). When you file a suit, you have the option of asking for a jury trial if you pay an extra fee. If either party requests a jury, then you get a jury. Only when _neither_ party requests a jury, do you have a bench trial.

Where you are getting confused is that a judge can eliminate issues for a jury if no reasonable juror could come to anything but one conclusion based on the facts. That has nothing to do with consultation outside the jury or with it. To put this into a car analogy, suppose you rear-end someone who was legally stopped a stop light. During trial you admit that you were texting with one hand, sipping a big gulp with the other, hollering at a friend in the back seat, and not looking at the road at all. No reasonable juror would think that you were NOT negligent, thus a Judge could summarily decide that you were negligent in the accident. This gives the jury fewer questions and helps speed along the process of coming to a verdict, for example, on the issue of damages.

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904163)

>>>a judge can eliminate issues for a jury if no reasonable juror could come to anything but one conclusion based on the facts.

That really sucks.

A judge should not be able to do that, because a jury could decide that the person is guilty, but the law is unjust, and simply nullify the conviction. That's one of the reasons the jury trial was invented - to weaken the power of the State by giving the People an opportunity to "void" wrongful arrests. It's somewhat similar to what the U.S. Supreme Court does, but from the bottom up.

I'm not explaining that too well, so just read more here - "Historical examples of nullification include American revolutionaries who refused to convict under English law,[3] juries who refuse to convict due to perceived injustice of a law in general,[4] or the perceived injustice of the way the law is applied in particular cases..." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification [wikipedia.org]

Re:What is the point of jury trial? (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904275)

Even some of the founding fathers relied on jury nullification as I understand it because British law was seen as unjust. However, no matter how big Slashdot seems, and how notoriously it can overwhelm small sites, the fact is that at least 3 juries have listened to these cases and felt like the defendants ought to pay a substantial fine (Thomas twice and now Tenenbaum). The slashdot demographic is not widespread, merely concentrated here.

People should really understand that jury nullification is simply not a realistic notion generally, and certainly not in Tenenbaum's case where the Jury could easily have expressed its displeasure by going with the $750 level. They went with a figure 30x higher so the idea that would have found him not liable at all by nullifying the law is pretty fanciful.

Why was it improper? (3, Insightful)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903663)

The lawyers among you will know that that was a totally improper question, and that the Court should not have even allowed it, much less based her holding upon the answer to it

For those of us who aren't lawyers, why was it improper?

Re:Why was it improper? (4, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903689)

IANAL, but I'm guessing that "liability" is a legal term, so if you ask a non-lawyer a legal question (do you admit liability), then the answer is meaningless. Think of it as hearsay for experts: if you don't know about a topic, you shouldn't be allowed to comment on the record on that topic. Does the guy understand the legal ramifications of what liability means? I don't.

Now, I must say that I'm not impressed with his defense. Anyone can comment on who the defense lawyer was and whether they did a good job? It just doesn't sound great to admit on the stand to being fully, completely guilty. Criminals tend to get away with a lot of stuff, but not this guy.

Re:Why was it improper? (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903795)

That aside, technically (despite what you will hear to the contrary from judges and prosecutors) it is the jury's job to judge the law as well as guilt:

Fully Informed Jury Association [fija.org]

I am not a lawyer either, but given information at the above link, and the clear history of our legal system, I believe it is improper for a judge to instruct a jury to find one way or another. As someone else pointed out above: if that is proper, what is the point of having a jury in the first place?

Re:Why was it improper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904219)

The jury deals with truth, and the judge deals with law. In particular the jury deals with determining the truth of facts that are in dispute. Therefor: If a fact isn't being disputed, then the jury shouldn't be ruling on that fact.

If the defendant admits something on the stand, and the prosecutor agrees with it, then that fact is no longer in dispute, and there is no longer any need for the jury to deal with it. In these cases it is the Judges job to tell the jury what the answer to rule in relation to questions associated with those facts because they've moved from the realm of truth to that of law.

Re:Why was it improper? (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903955)

IANAL, but I'm guessing that "liability" is a legal term, so if you ask a non-lawyer a legal question (do you admit liability), then the answer is meaningless.

The real issues is that witnesses (even expert witnesses, and even if they are lawyers) in a case testify only to matters of fact (there are times when someone's opinion, particularly a past opinion, on a matter of law may be a relevant fact, whether or not they are a lawyer, but that's different than testifying on the point of law itself.)

Re:Why was it improper? (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903719)

It's amazing what you can find when you RTFA. From NYCL's site:

[Ed. note. The judge's ruling is erroneous. The question : "are you admitting liability" is a legal question, not a factual question, which Mr. Tenenbaum was not qualified to answer. For the Court to base its decision on that is wrong. -R.B.]

Re:Why was it improper? (1)

Grond (15515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904167)

[Ed. note. The judge's ruling is erroneous. The question : "are you admitting liability" is a legal question, not a factual question, which Mr. Tenenbaum was not qualified to answer. For the Court to base its decision on that is wrong. -R.B.]

It's not clear that the question actually meant 'are you admitting legal liability to the charges listed in the complaint.' It could also have meant 'are you admitting that you were liable (i.e. responsible) for the downloading of the files?' That is, "were you the one that clicked 'download?' or did the files get on your computer some other way" This is where a complete transcript would be of use. Context is everything.

Beyond that, the question was 'are you admitting liability?' not 'are you liable?' One can admit liability without rendering a legal opinion. It is very much a factual question, and it is separate from whether he is actually liable. For example, he could be lying or he could be mistaken. Of course, he had no reason to lie and there is a lot of corroborating evidence to suggest that he was in fact liable. Consequently, the judge took all of that evidence, including his admission, into account. The evidence was so overwhelming, in fact, that no rational jury could find the defendant not liable, hence the directed verdict.

As I mentioned elsewhere, Nesson's strategy has always been to give up on liability and argue that the damages are either unconstitutional or otherwise impermissible. Those arguments are for the appellate courts, however, not the trial.

Re:Why was it improper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903739)

A witness is not allowed to give an opinion (except for experts in their area of expertise if pertinent to the issues). The question of "liability" is an opinion that such-and-such facts run afoul of some law. This is the province of the jury, not the witness. You can't call a bunch of witnesses to say "I think he is liable" or "I think he is not" -- witnesses relate facts (opinions like this are not facts), the judge gives the jury the law, and the jury gets to decided whether there is an intersection between law and facts making a party liable.

Re:Why was it improper? (3, Insightful)

indytx (825419) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903957)

The lawyers among you will know that that was a totally improper question, and that the Court should not have even allowed it, much less based her holding upon the answer to it

For those of us who aren't lawyers, why was it improper?

It wasn't improper. FTFA, Tenenbaum admitted his liability during direct examination from the RIAA's attorney. This wasn't a criminal trial, it was civil, and he testified to his own liability. When you admit to the elements of the cause of action, the only thing left is damages. End of story. What a dumbass. I mean, what the f--- was the jury supposed to do? Reward him for admitting under oath that, earlier, he lied under oath and lied on his discovery responses? Please. Juries HAMMER people who get caught lying. There is no more GOTCHA litigation in civil trials in the U.S.A. You're supposed to tell the truth to discovery questions, even if the answers hurt your case. If you don't tell the truth you get hammered. If your lawyer lets you get away with it, he can lose his meal ticket. It's that simple. He lied, and he got popped for it.

On the bright side, at least he can to ditch the "superstar" legal team for someone out of the "bankruptcy attorneys" section in the yellow pages. Hopefully that case will go more smoothly.

Re:Why was it improper? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904025)

I wonder if he has grounds for appeal on the grounds of incompetent representation. From what I've read, it sounds like his legal team was giving him advice ranging between crazy and just plane stupid.

Artists everywhere REJOICE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903695)

... and artists everywhere REJOICE, knowing that the RIAA has expended countless billable hours to smite one of the 18923789738945345 file sharing individuals of the world.

Furthermore, these artists know that they'll all be getting their share of this $675,000 in a rapid and straightforward manner, because the recording industry has never, ever, f****d over the artists before.

Is this the year of clowns? (3, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903721)

How many RIAA/Copyright related lawsuits this year have started off with a hopeful - "Yeah! Damnit! We are taking this one all the way and are going to stick it to the MAN! Fuck him! Fuck the MAN Baby!" only to result in a circus and a horrible verdict for the defendant?

Damn that's depressing, and this one was the one I was actually hoping the guy running the show had some sort of fucking clue/hidden plan that he was going to spring out at the end.

I mean, yes, I'm not particularly fond of the idea of willfull copyright infringement, but I thought at least this would come out to forcing the RIAA to cut out some of their crap.

Re:Is this the year of clowns? (4, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903809)

How many RIAA/Copyright related lawsuits this year have started off with a hopeful - "Yeah! Damnit! We are taking this one all the way and are going to stick it to the MAN! Fuck him! Fuck the MAN Baby!" only to result in a circus and a horrible verdict for the defendant?

Damn that's depressing, and this one was the one I was actually hoping the guy running the show had some sort of fucking clue/hidden plan that he was going to spring out at the end.

I mean, yes, I'm not particularly fond of the idea of willfull copyright infringement, but I thought at least this would come out to forcing the RIAA to cut out some of their crap.

Because the Plaintiffs can pick and choose the cases they bring to court. Why, out of thousands of potential defendants, would you go to court against the one that can destroy your approach?

They don't bring to court someone WE would like to see. In my case, I only download music that I have already purchased a physical copy of, so their case would be a much harder sell.

Re:Is this the year of clowns? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903917)

Your case would be a much harder sell anyway. Think about it: they can no longer use MediaSentry, or MediaSentry's methods, for collecting information. That has already been pretty much shot down. They may have slightly different means, but they all suffer from some of the same weaknesses. Also, courts have been getting harder and harder on RIAA's pretrial strategies, such as coercing settlements, and ex parte discovery.

Re:Is this the year of clowns? (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903947)

I don't pirate music, but I've been considering firing up a VM, having it randomly download one RIAA-copyrighted song per day in a p2p program with uploading enabled, and waiting for my "pay up or get sued" letter.... just so I can use all the defenses these people should be using.

Of course, I have a 4-month-old baby, so I don't think I should risk owing that much money.

Re:Is this the year of clowns? (4, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904033)

Its the RIAA, I'm certain they'd accept the child, they have to feed their lawyers after all you know.

Re:Is this the year of clowns? (2, Insightful)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904165)

That's the problem.
Everyone uses the "I have a family to support so I can't afford to stand to my principles" idea.
That's why nothing good ever happens.

I don't have a family yet, if ever, so I can't say what I'd do in this situation though.

To go Orellian(sp) I am thinking that the people, are the proles?, are doing tasks to help Big Brother is that they have families to support so that need a job.
The family takes presedence(sp) over the bad job.

Re:Is this the year of clowns? (2, Insightful)

tebee (1280900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904179)

I can't help feeling, that , in the eyes of the rest of the world, US "justice" has just become more of a joke.

Firstly, it more and more appears, that who ever has the most money can buy the verdict they want, secondly, everybody, up to and including the Judge herself, seem to be ignoring the law as it is written and making it up as they go along.

Finally, damages in the million dollar range when the actual loss in considerably less than $100, who needs to work and actually produce things when you can sue people?

And this is for something I'm guessing maybe 1 in 5 of the American population have done - maybe the simple solution would for everyone in the USA just to declare bankruptcy now and give all their money to the lawers, it would save a lot of time and tedious court cases.

proportionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903725)

Isn't there something in the US constitution about the punishment being proportional to the crime? $675K is just as absurd as $675M or $675B. They should have just given him the chair, that would've shown those pesky pirates not to fuck with the record companies.

Re:proportionality (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903877)

Kinda puts the $1.9M Thomas-Harris has to cough up in a strange perspective. There seems to be no rhyme or reason yet to how these get awarded.

Re:proportionality (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903973)

This was a civil case, not a criminal case. Still, even in civil cases the award of damages is not supposed to be excessive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

Before you all head off thinking the award will get reduced on appeal though, recall that the US government intentionally murders people (after trial usually). A $675K fine may seem rather un-excessive to the powers that be.

$675000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903743)

$675000? Lol.

Oh, wait. You're serious. Let me laugh even harder. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I'm curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903759)

What was this guys defense? It sounds like he took it all the way to court, only to admit to everything he was accused of. Was he even trying to win? or just martyr himself?

$650,000? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903769)

Hmm... that must have been a real big torrent, this guy downloaded, because I haven't seen music worth any money for years.

Anyone got a link to the file(s) he downloaded? Now I'm curious!

Disingenuous summary (5, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903859)

The lawyers among you will know that that was a totally improper question, and that the Court should not have even allowed it, much less based her holding upon the answer to it.

The linked article doesn't give a complete transcript of the questions and answers, so I can't speak to whether the question was 'totally improper,' but as Ray Beckerman (aka NewYorkCountryLawyer) should know, it was the job of Mr. Nesson, not the judge, to object to improper questions. Furthermore, Mr. Tenenbaum was almost certainly deposed prior to trial, and Mr. Nesson would know what questions were likely to come up.

Finally, the offending question is presumably "Are you admitting liability for all 30 sound recordings?" Under FRE 704(a) [cornell.edu] , an opinion as to an ultimate issue to be decided by the trier of fact is admissible (with the exception given in FRE 704(b), which does not apply here).

Lay opinion evidence is limited by FRE 701, which requires that the opinion "(a) rationally based on the perception of the witness, and (b) helpful to a clear understanding of the witness' testimony or the determination of a fact in issue, and (c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702." Crucially, the question was not "Are you liable?" it was "are you admitting liability?" The former might possibly be objectionable, the latter is almost certainly not. In any case, Mr. Nesson did not object and so the point is largely moot.

The only reasons to disregard Mr. Tenenbaum's admission would be if the judge believed he was either lying or mistaken. He had no reason to lie, and since the other evidence makes a strong case that he was in fact liable, his admission fits with that.

In any event, Mr. Nesson's strategy has always been to admit liability but argue that the damages are unconstitutional or otherwise impermissible. He has been very clear about this in his public discussion of this and related cases.

Finally, I'll just add that the right against self-incrimination applies only to criminal cases and has no application here.

Re:Disingenuous summary (4, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904001)

All excellent points. One other thing is that if the defendant's counsel (Nesson or otherwise) never objected to that question and did not properly preserve the objection for appeal, it might not be an appealable issue even if the question was improper.

Re:Disingenuous summary (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904083)

Wasn't he asked to settle right at the start for something tiny like $500? So how can they get $$$ later? Aren't they admitting right up front that it wasn't that big a deal? If they'd caught someone who actually had cost them that much money, or was making that much from blatant piracy/counterfeiting etc, do you think they'd have tried to get only $500 from him originally?

Re:Disingenuous summary (5, Interesting)

pacergh (882705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904047)

Thank you.

Ray Beckerman's summary is disingenuous, which is a shame. Instead of focusing on meaningless small issues in the trial, the overall issues of the case and the posture of the plaintiffs and defendants should be focused on.

I remember an article on ArsTechnica about Nesson getting in on the act. "Oh no, here comes Harvard professors â" the RIAA must be quaking in its boots!"

The sad reality is that Nesson and his crew did just about the job you'd expect from a law clinic â" average, if not below.

That's not to say law school clinics don't provide valuable legal aid, or that they can't have a great case here or there, but it is far from the norm.

Here, you have a professor (Nesson) who has likely not had much courtroom experience over the last many years trying to guide law students who have had little to no courtroom experience in how to defend a complicated, specialized case involving copyright infringement.

The antics of the defense were not those of a principled, strong defense plan. Then again, as the above poster mentioned, it seems the idea was to lay out a possible case for a constitutional challenge to statutory damages.

Besides, the idea that Harvard has some special magic that will win the day does not play out in the real world. The special magic of Harvard isn't trial outcomes, it's networking and job options for alumni.

Nevertheless, maybe the appeal on statutory damages will go through and do some good in the end.

I just feel bad for Tenenbaum.

Re:Disingenuous summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904055)

I think that is probably the most sensible comment that will be written for this story, and it will therefore be modded down in favor of far-fetched conspiracy theories about how the judge was "bought" or rants about how much everyone hates the RIAA.

If you read the Ars Technica link Tenenbaum did not just answer the dubious "are you liable" question, he also answered positively to all of the factual questions about whether he had indeed downloaded the songs and left them in the shared folder to be uploaded. Even if the "liable" question had been thrown out, the other admissions would probably have been fairly damming and appear to cover the key factual questions that the RIAA were trying to prove.

America's last great industry... (-1, Flamebait)

l337 pr0n (934573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903865)

...I fail to see the reason for the outrage against the "MAFIAA" as it's known around here, at least among American citizens. These industry groups lobby for strong copyright protections to...guess what...make money! Which does...guess what...increase the tax base! Which leads to...guess what...social programs and services such as police and schools and roads and the military and all those other good things. When you download songs without paying, it's indefensible stealing. Call it what you will, argue until you are blue in the face that "copyright infringement" is not technically "theft", but the bottom line is that this is a real business that makes real money and supports the economy.

Re:America's last great industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903999)

Which does...guess what...increase the tax base

This is why I keep calling for legalizing and taxing hookers and blow, to ensure that we're getting the maximum taxation from our music dollars.

Re:America's last great industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904007)

Wow. Just no. Back some of that shit up or leave.

Re:America's last great industry... (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904039)

I understand you are merely trolling, Mr. pr0n, but I'll go ahead and link this to explain why you are an idiot. Broken Window Fallacy [wikipedia.org]

Re:America's last great industry... (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904113)

Not so. First, copyright law has been around for a long time. What the RIAA has been attempting to do is extend copyrights far beyond any intent of its original foundations.

Copyright was never intended to give the copyright owner complete and full rights as though it were a piece of tangible property. The intent of copyright was to give the holder temporary rights to an original work, in order to give artists, writers, and other creators incentive to create... as opposed to simply letting all original works automatically be in the public domain. This incentive to create was (as is clearly stated in the law) intended to benefit the public, because after that temporary period was up, the work reverted to the public domain.

The period of copyright was originally much shorter: about the same as a patent... and if it is reasonable for a patent, it is also reasonable for copyright, for exactly the same reasons: it allows the creator to make money, while also benefiting the public.

The period is longer now because copyright holders (mainly large corporations) lobbied Congress to make it so, in order to profit from it more. It is now up to the life of the creator, plus 50 or 70 years or so... I forget exactly. Now, tell me: how does that benefit the public (the whole original purpose of copyrights)? Someone can write a book, and someone who was born the same year might never live to see it in the public domain! That does not fit very well into my definition of "temporary"!

I should also point out that letting original works and inventions automatically be in the public domain from the beginning has been tried in other countries, and guess what? You end up with a society that on the whole does not create, and does not innovate. (Think, "Soviet Union" during its heyday.)

The desire to work for one's own gain is powerful.

On the other hand, when works never (or almost never) revert to public domain, then you end up with a stratified society, in which the public does not benefit from creativity and innovation... exactly the opposite of what copyright law was intended to establish.

Re:America's last great industry... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904177)

Gah. I hate it when I give a reasoned reply to somebody, then they get modded down so it looks like I am talking to air.

I guess the lesson there is: "Don't feed the trolls."

Re:America's last great industry... (1)

Avidiax (827422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904231)

It is not stealing, it is copyright infringement!

I agree 100% that the money the RIAA's member companies make gets taxed and partly funds the government.

I disagree with the implication that infringement decreases funding to the government. Money not spent on music will be spent somehow (whether saved (and loaned), or spent outright).

So what is lost when a person infringes on the government-granted monopoly that is copyright? Possibly some works would not be created, though I have never heard of a musician or a book publisher or any artist whatsoever going under due to piracy. There's no reason to pirate inferior goods, so the most pirated goods are also those that make enough money from non-pirates and from sale of tangible items (concerts, apparel, etc.). Even in a rampant piracy market like China (where perhaps a few thousand legit copies of a CD are sold), there are new musicians and new songs, etc. The musicians are apparently motivated without the copyright. That would suggest that the constitutional basis for the copyright of music is in danger: the copyright must "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". If the artists make the music without protection of copyright, where's the benefit of copyright in that instance?

Here's the best part of the Ars article... (3, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28903953)

The Tenenbaum litigation was dominated by the larger-than-life personality of Tenenbaum's counsel, Harvard Law School professor [Charles Nesson], who infuriated the plaintiffs, and at times Judge Nancy Gertner, with his unusual litigation tactics. These included making audio recordings of the attorneys and the court, and then posting the results to his blog, and publicizing internal discussions with potential expert witnesses about legal strategy. A sanctions motion against Nesson for his recording practices remains pending.

Moral of the story: Just because some crazy-ass professor has "Harvard" next to his name does not mean he is going to magically get you off. Hell, from the looks of this case this Nesson guy should probably be brought up on sanctions for trying to turn this trial into a circus for his own fantasy-version of fair use. An attorney representing a client is supposed to act in the client's best interest, and not in the best-interest of his political cause. From what I've seen of this Nesson guy, his argument that P2P of complete copyrighted works constitutes "fair use" is completely ridiculous.. just see the four factors reiterated in Acuff-Rose case: There's no transformative use at all, these are all commercial works not some political diatribe, and the guy was distributing complete copyright works online. About his only defense is that he wasn't charging for the works, but that factor alone is never going to win. Oh, I'm sure this new "fair use" theory is popular with other faculty at Harvard and in some bizzaro academic enclaves, but in the real world it was a great way to get his client screwed over. Not that Nesson cares, it will just make for publishing fodder he can push out to a hapless law review that's more wowed by his "Harvard" credentials than by his complete lack of legal reasoning.

Oh, and pending my passage of the bar exam I finished two days ago, yes I will be a lawyer. I also went to a school with a much better copyright curriculum than whatever these jokers at Harvard are pushing.

The Surprising History of Copyright (Karl Fogel) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28904059)

Who pays this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28903985)

I want to see Free Software Foundation paying that bill since FSF assumed an unusual defense of Mr. Tenenbaum.

FSF are lamers! Free software isn't everywhere, in fact... Free Software would not have to exist!
FSF is a shame for the free software community and must disappear ASAP

It's Now A Legal Precedent... (1)

Xin Jing (1587107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904011)

It's clear that now the RIAA can make people pay for copyright infringement and will have an important victory under their belt to back up future litigation in persuit of damages. Whether or not the defendant can pay is irrelevant, there's a court-order backing up the verdict. I don't think RIAA will lose sleep over never collecting $650k, it's the principle. in one fell swoop they have legally consumed an individual. Salami slicing now has a pricetag and it has a poster child.

An ill precedent. (1)

delire (809063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904097)

Joel Tenenbaum was a teenager at the time of his conviction, accused of downloading 7 songs [harvard.edu] from a file sharing network.

This bodes bad weather indeed. If money is what sustains the flesh, we have here a case of cannibalism.

(Somewhere, a barman in a life-jacket pours Scotch for a passenger while the cruiser sinks..)

Give it up, NYCL (2, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28904267)

It's clear that the game is rigged. Here, with the defenses all tossed out before the case even got to the jury. Worldwide, as the Pirate Bay trial with the judge being the next best thing to a card-carrying member of the copyright cartel. All your presence does is legitimize the system by making it look like something other than the RIAA and its allies steamrolling over those without the resources (including paid-off legislators and fellow-traveler judges) to fight them.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>