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SCOTUS Refuses To Hear Tenenbaum Appeal

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the pay-up dept.

Music 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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Kick-backs (0, Troll)

buk110 (904868) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068467)

I'm sure the RIAA will give some of that money back to the lobbyists whom influenced the decision to not have the case heard. Justice for those that can afford it makes this country great

Re:Kick-backs (3, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068591)

Umm, that's not how lobbying (or kickbacks) works. Lobbyists work *for* the RIAA, so they are the ones who will now give the kickbacks to the judges deciding in their favor ;)

I HAVE AN IDEA! (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069075)

Let's ask for damages SO HIGH that he won't EVER be able to legitimately purchase from us for AS LONG AS HE LIVES!

Shit, Mom was right! I'm the smartest muthafocka in all of Los Angeles!

Re:Kick-backs (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068765)

It's called a salary.

Re:Kick-backs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069039)

No, its called bribery. I know you were joking but these people are screwing all of us over money & power.

Re:Kick-backs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068983)

Perhaps someone should shove a stick of TNT up the anus of the head of the MAFIAA and light the fuse. Then rape with an electric hand mixer and murder the minions in Government whom are in collusion with the MAFIAA.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068493)

At what point does corporate America get the clue that people will actually start leaving over this kind of penurious legal system? Lots of other G7 countries out there...

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068513)

Yes, lots of other G7 companies where the same RIAA/MPAA companies and their subsidiaries also exist.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

themaneatingcow (1430127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068685)

Yes, lots of other G7 countries where the same RIAA/MPAA companies and their subsidiaries also exist.

There, fixed that for y- wait, nevermind....

Re:Wow (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068651)

Lots of other G7 countries out there...

Well, by *definition* there are exactly 6 other G7 countries. Though now it's called the G7, so there are 7 others. Not sure if that counts as "lots". Even less sure what the G7/G8 has to do with all of this.

Re:Wow (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068699)

At what point does corporate America get the clue that people will actually start leaving over this kind of penurious legal system?

When such a thing actuall happens? Apperently not yet or even any time soon...

The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Insightful)

tomkost (944194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068501)

They have failed us more so than the other branches of government. They should protect us from unreasonable laws, judgements and crimes. But they are now a rubber stamp for abuse. Sure, they throw us a bone every now an then (cops can't throw a GPS on your car anytime the feel like it), but for the most part, they confirm the abuse of the constitution and the ongoing pillaging of this country by the special interests with deep pockets.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068569)

Not really.
Historically the Supreme Court has left decisions to the lower-level State and Circuit Courts, while they maintain a hands-off policy. They only hear a case where there is discrepancy (multiple union courts reaching opposite conclusions) in order to set an official precedent for the union judges.

If anything I would say the Supreme Court and its lower branches have shown FAR more fidelity to the constitution than the other 2 branches, or the Member States, which often act as if the Constitution does not exist.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Insightful)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068813)

If anything I would say the Supreme Court and its lower branches have shown FAR more fidelity to the constitution than the other 2 branches, or the Member States, which often act as if the Constitution does not exist.

Well, yeah. But that's an extremely low hurdle. Kinda like being the fastest snail, or the best-tasting turd.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068613)

I disagree. The legislative branch (i.e. Congress) is most at fault here. If you think the default solution to society's problems is for the judicial branch to override the laws of the land, you are asking for trouble. That's appropriate in a few cases, but it's better to blame those who wrote the bad laws in the first place.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068797)

But it doesn't help to blame the RIAA lawyers.... oh wait...did you mean the people who passed the bad laws?

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069099)

If you think the default solution to society's problems is for the judicial branch to override the laws of the land, you are asking for trouble.

Given that the vast majority of new laws are blatantly unconstitutional, that's precisely what I would expect the judicial branch to be doing.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068639)

The Supreme Court's job is not to protect you from the democratic system. If you don't like the current set of laws, running around like an over-caffeinated teabagger shouting "Unconstitutional! Unconstitutional!" isn't going to help.

What constitutes unconstitutional is relatively narrowly defined. Tenenbaum violated laws that have been on the books, in one shape or form, for centuries and are expressly blessed by the constitution. He did so knowingly, willingly, and unnecessarily. He may possibly have been unaware that the violations he committed would result in such a large financial penalty, but it's not as if he's going to suffer prison time, death, or injury as a result of this judgment. At worst, he's going to have to declare bankruptcy, and possibly have his wages garnished for the rest of his life.

Plenty of people suffer worse without breaking any laws. 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. Others are going to suffer the same fate as Tenenbaum not because they did anything wrong, but because the cancer they've contracted that their insurance won't fully cover will result in a seven digit debt.

The Supreme Court ruling on this always struck me as somewhat ludicrous. If Congress does not have the right to set ballpark figures for fines to deter people from violating a law it has a constitutional mandate to pass, then what rights does it have?

You want to change things, get more active in your democratic system. That's it. That's about your only option. That was always your option. You just couldn't be bothered. It's so much easier to whine about how "unfair" everything is, and expect seven judges to agree with you and strike something down as "unconstitutional" because it violates the "It's so unfair, OMG, I didn't ask to be born, you people suck" amendment than it is to actually push for the laws you want.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068721)

You want to change things, get more active in your democratic system

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

You want to change things? Hit the streets.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (4, Insightful)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068805)

Because hitting the streets has been so effective.

Groups of people have money. You think the NRA is funded by gun industry big wigs? Ha. It's funded by the 40-50% of the country who owns guns. Combined action generates money, and gets your cause access.

How many people download songs? They may have been idiot teenagers and college students to start, but they're growing up, getting jobs, starting companies. Go get involved and maybe you'll have a lobby useful enough to write some legislation.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068985)

Groups of people have money. You think the NRA is funded by gun industry big wigs?

Yes, it is, and you're depressingly naive to think otherwise. What, did you just fail to notice that any time some law comes up restricting or banning the importation of foreign guns or ammunition for domestic sale, the NRA doesn't give a damn? They're in the pocket of American arms manufacturers. They don't care how high the price of ammunition gets for the consumer as long as there's a protectionist market on it.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069067)

Because hitting the streets has been so effective.

If standing on Pennsylvania Avenue with a shoulder launched missile aimed at the White House moments before you generously warn the occupants to leave does not get their attention, nothing will ever get their attention. Just blame it on the aliens from Alien Invasion. ;)

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068829)

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? Because people didn't care.

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

Oh, right. Nothing.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (2, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069053)

There is nothing any reasonable person can do to change it, unless you have a miracle plan that you'd care to share. At his point, one cannot attain significant public office without "playing the game". The media is controlled, the voting machines are controlled, and the lawmakers are controlled. The time for working within the system has passed.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068821)

"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.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068827)

So your argument is that a lifetime of at least partial slavery is not cruel and unusual punishment? I'd much rather have 30 days in jail than a verdict that can never be repaid.

At least Tenenbaum can probably move to another country to escape this

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069101)

So your argument is that a lifetime of at least partial slavery is not cruel and unusual punishment? I'd much rather have 30 days in jail than a verdict that can never be repaid.

No, that's not my argument, because that's not what Tenenbaum is facing. He's facing a great big fine, which will either be partially or wholly paid off using bankruptcy, and/or wage garnishment.

He'll be able to pick any job for the rest of his life (or no job), and he'll be allowed to go where-ever he pleases.

If indeed the sentence was "You shall become "at least a partial" slave for the rest of your life", then, yeah, that would be cruel and unusual. But that really would have to involve actual, physical, slavery, not superficial slavery like "Having to pay $100 a month to a court appointed trust". For example, it might mean something like he'd have to spend several days a week, for the rest of his life, working at Lars Ulrich's house, doing whatever Ulrich demands of him, with Lars having the right to prevent him from leaving during that time, and possibly being shackled and denied basic bodily requirements.

But that's not the case. Tenenbaum's in a position that many people get into who haven't committed any crimes get into. He has debts that are very high. So do people who lost their jobs and become unable to afford their mortgages on now underwater properties. So are people who contracted cancer and have whopping create health care bills to settle.

And come to think of it, there are worse penalties out there for quite middling crimes. Should peeing behind a bush really result in a sentence that you have to register with the police whenever you move and tell the neighbors you're a "sex offender" for the rest of your life? I'd rather have the $700k fine, thankeweverymuch. Given the scales of what courts consider not cruel and unusual, Tenenbaum's fine hasn't left the pitcher's hand, let alone made it out of the ballpark.

And unlike those people, Tenenbaum got there deliberately. He knew the law, he broke it anyway. He probably thought he wasn't going to get court.

Is $700,000 a fair amount? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. In this context it doesn't matter, in this case. Because in this case we're not talking about fairness. We're talking about what we should expect the courts to overrule as unconstitutional.

The courts aren't there to wipe Congress's ass for them. If Congress believes the only way to protect copyrights is to have these kinds of fines, then that's Congress's decision, the Congress you elected. Your job, as a citizen, is to guide Congress.

If you believe the fine was too much, then you failed in your job.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (4, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068859)

What constitutes unconstitutional is relatively narrowly defined. Tenenbaum violated laws that have been on the books, in one shape or form, for centuries and are expressly blessed by the constitution. He did so knowingly, willingly, and unnecessarily

He's not upset because he thinks the law is unconstitutional. He's upset that the penalty was $600k+ for downloading 30 songs for personal use. Common sense would tell you that is unreasonable and might go against the 8th amendment against "excessive fines."

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068919)

Actually I disagree that commonsense says anything of the sort. Keep reading after the bit you quoted.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068867)

While I agree with you in principle, there's a fair argument that this case *does* fall under those limited protections. It's fairly well established that there are constitutional limits on statutory damages to prevent abuse, and there are reasonable arguments that this case falls beyond that. No reason not to work both angles.

So that's why (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068873)

The Supreme Court's job is not to protect you from the democratic system.

I now understand why the Court refused cert on Citizens United.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068911)

constitutional mandate

There is no constitutional mandate for a copyright system. The constitution expressly allows such a system, but there is no requirement that congress create such a thing, nor is there any requirement that it look like our copyright system.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068929)

The Supreme Court's job is not to protect you from the democratic system. If you don't like the current set of laws, running around like an over-caffeinated teabagger shouting "Unconstitutional! Unconstitutional!" isn't going to help.

...

You want to change things, get more active in your democratic system. That's it. That's about your only option. That was always your option. You just couldn't be bothered. It's so much easier to whine about how "unfair" everything is, and expect seven judges to agree with you and strike something down as "unconstitutional" because it violates the "It's so unfair, OMG, I didn't ask to be born, you people suck" amendment than it is to actually push for the laws you want.

Interesting juxtaposition since the Tea Party not only protested against things being unconstitutional but has also gotten involved in the democratic system. Last time I checked, many people where blaming the Tea Party for stalling the raising of the debt ceiling, electing idiots to congress and taking over the republican party. For good or evil, sounds like those 'teabaggers', as you called them, are doing more then just running around shouting "Unconstitutional! Unconstitutional!" I mean it isn't like they are sitting on their asses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to occupy various streets to protest some vague concept like inequality.

Cruel and unusual (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068937)

The Supreme Court ruling on this always struck me as somewhat ludicrous. If Congress does not have the right to set ballpark figures for fines to deter people from violating a law it has a constitutional mandate to pass, then what rights does it have?

This sounds "cruel and unusual" to me. I wonder if there is any authority that could issue an opinion regarding my concern. The Supreme Court perhaps?

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068941)

Obviously you've never read the Constitution. It forbids the imposition of cruel or unusual punishment. Fining a student $750,000 for downloading a song certainly fits the bill of "unusual" punishment. Copyright was created to protect an artist's income, not to bankrupt a citizen.

>>> running around like an over-caffeinated teabagger

Why the hate on gay love?
C'mon man!

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (4, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069027)

Eight Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

It is clearly not "narrowly" defined. Excessive is an abstract concept which is intended for the Supreme Court to define since $100 would be excessive when the amendment was written but a $100 now would be reasonable.
Tenenbaum being aware that a large fine maybe imposed is irrelevant.
The suffering of others is irrelevant.
The Supreme Court's job is in fact to protect you from the democratic republic that we have. It is un-American to think otherwise. The entire system is intended as a System of Checks and Balances to protect the People, or did you fail your High School Government and Civics classes. The Hypocrisy of a Nat like you lecturing other about how the US Government works is Sickening, and that you would be willing to exerciser their right to vote and yet be so ignorant of how the system is supposed to work.
The only reason that the Supreme Court shouldn't have listened to it has to do with why they've never come out with a clear ruling dealing with the patent mess, and that is that they've clearly stated that they want the Legislature to fix the mess.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069033)

>>>You just couldn't be bothered. It's so much easier to whine about how "unfair" everything is

Except when we bothered, the Congress didn't listen. TARP bailouts were opposed by 75% of Americans and Obamacare by 70%, and yet the representatives shoved it through anyway. They don't care what the Demos thinks..... they are serving their corporate masters (Federal Reserve banks, Insurance & HMOs). Not us. Democracy doesn't work when the voice of the people is not heard.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068747)

I don't think one can sanely look at $15.6T in national debt and claim it's the Court who has failed us.

Re:The Supremely Stupid Court (3, Informative)

Jerry (6400) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Clueless court (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068511)

That the court doesn't even see that there's a constitutional issue here underscores just how out of touch this court is. Probably better not to get a decision, as it would almost certainly be in favor of the RIAA and extremely punative rewards.

Re:Clueless court (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068553)

Just out of curiosity, are you arguing that the fine is just too excessive, or are you also arguing that there shouldn't be a fine at all?

Re:Clueless court (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068815)

The fine is obviously excessive. That's the constitutional issue. As a matter of good policy, copyright should be abolished. But that's not a constitutional issue.

Re:Clueless court (2)

harperska (1376103) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069047)

As a matter of good policy, copyright shouldn't necessarily be abolished, as that is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Rather, copyright should be retooled to define it as a protection against plagiarism, rather than a guarantee of profits. If I came up with something unique and original, and you went around presenting it as your own work regardless of whether you were charging for it or not, that would be dishonest and fraudulent and without copyright laws, perfectly legal.

But yes, the constitutional issue at hand is the excessive fine, not the sharing itself. And it is unfortunate the supreme court declined to hear the appeal.

Re:Clueless court (4, Insightful)

elbonia (2452474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068703)

He admitted to copying and sharing hundreds of songs according to the article. His defense was that the U.S. Copyright Act is unconstitutional which is obviously a ridiculous and a desperate act which is why the court didn't listen to it.

The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. ------Article I, Section 8, Clause 8

What is exactly is there to listen to when the Constitution makes it clear Congress has the power to enforce copyright?

Re:Clueless court (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068781)

He admitted to copying and sharing hundreds of songs according to the article. His defense was that the U.S. Copyright Act is unconstitutional which is obviously a ridiculous and a desperate act which is why the court didn't listen to it.

The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. ------Article I, Section 8, Clause 8

What is exactly is there to listen to when the Constitution makes it clear Congress has the power to enforce copyright?

Music is neither Science, nor is it useful. Are you sure you weren't looking for a different passage?

Re:Clueless court (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068853)

Music is neither Science, nor is it useful. Are you sure you weren't looking for a different passage?

I don't think you understant what the word useful can mean. Music has a use. It can be used to provide enjoyment.

being of use or service; serving some purpose; advantageous, helpful, or of good effect: a useful member of society.

of practical use, as for doing work; producing material results; supplying common needs: the useful arts; useful work.

Re:Clueless court (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068967)

Music is neither Science, nor is it useful. Are you sure you weren't looking for a different passage?

How is music not useful? Oh, you just mean you don't like any of the music that is produced these days, so you think it is irrelevant. Music has all kinds of uses: protest, political statements, self-expression, even just a way to relieve stress or anger. Music has been used to pass down stories and histories, it brings people together. Even the most remote tribe in Africa or the Amazon has music as an integral part of its society, so obviously it has some benefit. And this doesn't even take into account all the studies that have shown the effects that classical music can have on things like child development.

I suppose next you're going to tell us all about how you don't even own a TV either

Re:Clueless court (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068799)

What is exactly is there to listen to when the Constitution makes it clear Congress has the power to enforce copyright?

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

That's what there is to listen to. Unless you're arguing that the Copyright Clause supercedes the Bill of Rights. In that case, why should the 5th and 6th amendments apply either? Are you sure you want to go down this road?

Re:Clueless court (1)

elbonia (2452474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069051)

READ THE ARTICLE

The 1st Circuit said a new judge assigned to the case could reduce the award again, but the record labels would then be entitled to a new trial.

Until there is a final decision on the fine it isn't the concern of the court. The 1st Circuit has to rehear the arguments for the award. Then there can be either an appeal or a whole new trial. The only issue the court decided on was the constitutionality of the Copyright clause.

Re:Clueless court (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068877)

is a financial death sentence really a reasonable punishment? This is worse than many violent criminals get and he will likely live off the grid now and not pay any taxes so the US Gov also loses.

Oil the ol' gun (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068515)

Owing ~$700,000 is like a life sentence of servitude towards RIAA and its CEO/managers.

It will take the rest of this man's life to earn the money & pay it off. And slaves have a right to terminate their masters in order to regain their natural right to freedom. IMHO. "From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is freedom's natural fertilizer." - Thomas Jefferson

 

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

MichaelKristopeit420 (2018880) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068623)

"declaring bankruptcy is like an option that you're completely ignoring." - someone not as dumb as you

Re:Oil the ol' gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068755)

"Bloodthirsty" might be a better term to use instead of "dumb". With a name like cpu6502 it's clearly a sentient AI. Calling it "dumb" could easily anger it. Given its violent political leanings, I don't think we want to make it angry.

Re:Oil the ol' gun (1)

MichaelKristopeit420 (2018880) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069063)

who is "we"?

you're exactly what you've claimed to be: NOTHING.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Oil the ol' gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068923)

You could do that... and then the judge would rule that you filed specifically to circumvent a judgement, rolling the debt over into your post. You'll be untouchable for ten years, and will have accomplished exactly nothing.

This guy's only crime is that he isn't rich.

Re:Oil the ol' gun (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068641)

Slavery is against the law. It stinks that the recording industry can claim absurd penalties like this, but Tenenbaum can at least get a court to declare bankruptcy and move on with his life. (IANAL, somebody correct me if I'm wrong.)

Dischargable? (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068927)

Tenenbaum can at least get a court to declare bankruptcy and move on with his life.

Is this judgment dischargable in bankruptcy? IIRC the law on that kind of thing changed rather dramatically a few years ago.

Re:Oil the ol' gun (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068649)

Instead of murder I just suggest he move out of the country.

While it might make for nice theatrics, advocating murder because you disagree with the outcome of a court case is not right.

Re:Oil the ol' gun (1, Flamebait)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068883)

A couple of points:
1) Murder is generally the only way to get real change accomplished. Look at how America's Founders went about changing things, successfully: a bunch of people were killed. That's what happens in revolutionary wars. However, this is an extremely risky path to take; if you succeed, you're a "freedom fighter", "revolutionary", and become a "Founding Father", revered for centuries afterward. If you fail, however, you're a "terrorist", a "separatist", a "traitor", and you get executed for treason. Successful revolutions generally happen because there's a lot of popular support; basically the people are so pissed they're ready to take matters into their own hands, even if it means risking their lives or safety.

Personally, my take is that, while a lot of people are indeed pissed about the state of affairs in the US today, they're not that pissed; they're still well-fed and comfortable, and happy to go home and watch reality TV.

2) Moving out of the country is a pretty good option these days. It's not like getting on a wooden sailboat, hoping you don't die in a storm, and going to a faraway land and never being able to see your family again; you just hop on a plane to a friendly country, and use Skype to talk to your folks and discuss their upcoming visit to see you. In addition, there's a huge number of Americans ditching this dump lately and moving overseas, to countries like various western European nations, Canada, Thailand, South Korea, Costa Rica, Australia, and many more. The only problem here is that, if you don't already have money (as most American expats do; many are either retired or well-established financially), it can be hard to make such a move. Some countries have strict immigration policies, like Canada, and require you to either have a shitload of cash ready to deposit in a bank in their country ($300k in Canada IIRC), or have a job offer in hand for a company there, and be in a profession they really want to bring people in for (computer-related jobs are high on this list). Other countries don't have much local industry (like Panama), so unless you're going there with a bunch of money to start a restaurant or something, what are you going to do for a living there?

I don't know much about this Tenenbaum guy other than what the fine summary said, but it sounds like he's a broke college student, about to start his career. Is his degree in CS or engineering or something like that? If so, then he might be able to get a company in Australia or Canada to hire him, and flee this shithole that way. However, countries like that also have strong extradition treaties with the USA, and you can't flee to them to avoid paying court judgments or outstanding debts (they'll extradite you if you don't pay). Generally, the countries where you can flee to are the ones that also don't have much in the way of high-paying jobs for professionals.

Re:Oil the ol' gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069009)

1) Murder is generally the only way to get real change accomplished

Cough. Ghandi. Cough. Alabama Bus Boycott. Cough.

For this, you can surely provide your own murderous conter-examples: WW2, etc.

Let's just say that the proper tactic depends on the situation. FWIW, I used to be sympathetic to the industry. IMHO, the original Napster kids were just greedy little twats who wanted something for nothing. Now, after actions like this, I say screw the industry as hard as you can, as often as you can, and have fun doing it. That'll reduce their supply of money, which is their ammunition.

Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068527)

To charge someone 6 months salary for downloading a song they werent supposed to?

Re:Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (1)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068563)

6 months salary... can I be your butler?

Re:Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068607)

I think they mean 6 months salary PER SONG, I.E. assuming about $45k/year salary which for a college graduate is believable.

Re:Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (1)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068681)

There were 30 counts with the award of 675,000 so I think the OP is saying the 6 months = 1 count = 22,500. Still not a bad wage, but probably commensurate with the average (if not below average) /.er.

Re:Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068631)

I wish I made as much in 15 years as you apparently make in 6 months.

Re:Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068789)

$675,000 penalty / 30 songs = $22,500 / song.

$22,500 / 6 months = $3,750 / month.

Might I suggest finding a better job?

Re:Ah, so its constitutionally acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068729)

Nope. The judgement is for distributing, not downloading. The 'damage' he caused was violation of the copyright holders exclusive rights, authorized by the Constitution and implemented in the copyright act. The only question is whether violation of exclusive rights is worth $22500. The ability of someone to pay for damage they caused is not a consideration.

No ruling from Supreme Court (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068981)

Supreme Court didn't rule that it was acceptable or not acceptable. They just didn't decide not to see the case at this point. When Health Care Reform was first passed their were many appeals sent to the Supreme Court. They ignored them unitll there were conflicting opinions from different courts. There is only one supreme court. They can't hear every case. They rely on the appeals court to filter stuff out.

For the Cause! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068547)

The lawyers got their "cause" and Mr. Tenenbaum got screwed.

You have been chosen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068559)

You have been chosen, Joel. Unfortunate for you, but true nevertheless. Sometimes, this big weird organism that we call the human race gets sick and needs to heal itself. You're the healer. You're also a sacrifice. It's sad, but it happens again and again through human history. This horror has happened to you because it was necessary to prepare you for what you have to do.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_amok

No worries (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068597)

'Tenenbaum is just entering the job market and can't pay the penalty.'

That's what garnishments-for-life are for. Talk to some divorced fathers.

Re:No worries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068675)

Yeah, you fuck some bitch a couple of times and then the fucking feminazi courts make you pay for her god damned crotch fruits. Fucking slimeball courts destoryed MY life to pay for some kids I don't even want.

Re:No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069061)

Next time, post your comments with a different light. ie - take a stick of dynamite, light it, count to 20. (ie, when you get to 6, you'll place the dynamite down between your thighs, and continue counting).

If you didn't want kids, you should have had yourself sterilized. Would have been a favor to the rest of the world from the sounds of things.

Re:No worries (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068689)

Fathers generally have to pay for 18 years, not life. Also that money pays for their children needs, not some recording execs vacations.

Alimony (2)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068977)

At least in Arizona, a divorced woman over 50 can get "spousal maintenance" for the rest of her life, not revisable due to circumstances (e.g. unemployment of the ex-husband, including retirement or disability.) Which might explain some of the 70-something greeters at Wal-Mart.

Re:No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069019)

'that money pays for their children needs'

well, that is the intent but it is not always what happens. kids need clothes? i'll take them shopping next time they stay with me. daycare bill? send it to me. doctor bill? send it to me. i'm paying all of these bills, she gets a new pair of shoes and goes on vacations but she can't even afford to buy groceries for the kids on her own? why the hell were the kids given to her?

sending a check every month to my ex-wife so she can spend it however she wants? not right.

Jail time would have been better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068605)

Tenenbaum would certainly learn his lesson (not wish to go to jail again), and he'd still be able to rebuild his life once he got out.

Re:Jail time would have been better (1)

RedDeadThumb (1826340) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069003)

But with no fine the RIAA does not get paid. The *IAA always must be paid!

Impeachment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068645)

Its time to start impeaching judges. They are no longer working for the good of the american people.

Re:Impeachment (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068951)

Its time to start impeaching judges. They are no longer working for the good of the american people.

Wouldn't it be more efficient to not elect (and/or reelect) the legislators that allowed such exorbitant damage amounts to be legal? No need for a drawn out and expensive impeachment process, just make it clear to legislators that regardless of how much money corporations pay them, if they pass laws favoring those corporations over normal citizens, they will soon be out of office and replaced by someone that represents those who elect him.

Not the most sympathetic victim (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.”

Re:Not the most sympathetic victim (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069081)

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.”

I don't think anyone is disputing that he did the crime, but the question is whether or not the punishment fits the crime. $675K @ $30/hour is 22,500 hours of labor to pay it back. That's 937 days at 24 hours/day, or 2.5 years. Or, working 40 hours/week, that's nearly 11 years of labor.

What are the "real" damages to the recording industry? Especially when that same set of songs likely had dozens (or hundreds, or even thousands) of free download sources, they they weren't downloaded from Mr Tenenbaum, they would have been downloaded from someone else.

Judgment Proof Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068711)

There is no such thing as judgment proof in the US - courts can order him to pay a small % of his wages every single paycheck until the day he dies or pays the judgment. The way it works in the US is that the order to withhold a portion of his check is served on his employer and if the employer fails to withhold the designated amount of money per pay check, the company must pay. How much is withheld depends on his living expenses and how much he makes.

Maybe he won't be able to pay the total sum the lower court decides to impose, but if the restitution is a significant amount, he will be paying via wage garnishment in drips for the rest of his life and his estate will even pay to satisfy the judgment after he is dead.

unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068717)

Fines for this kind of offense should be capped at the same fine one would experience for shoplifting equivalent CD's. This ruling was completely ridiculous, and RIAA represented musicians know it. They should be ashamed to be affiliated with this kind of greedy corporatism.

Re:unfair (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068773)

In what way is distributing unauthorized copies the same as stealing a CD? In no way.

Time to renounce his citizenship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068743)

...and move to Taiwan/Singapore/Shanghai/EU or ueber Germany for a better life abroad.

Trying to be an optimist (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068759)

On the bright side, this method creates destitute and angry people who have their hostile intentions directed toward the recording industry. Hopefully there won't need to be so many of them created before the natural outcome ensues. Hopefully I won't be the next one.

Everyone should be outraged. Even RIAA employees. (5, Insightful)

0x537461746943 (781157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068761)

That fine is way out of line from what a person could ever pay back. I can't even save enough for my 3 kids to go to college let alone 675,000. I can understand they would want some amount of penalty but that is way out of line. Hmmm.... I wonder how much the judges get every year salary. Maybe that is the disconnect. They think the person can just save for 5 years and pay it back. We need a part of the government that is working for the people to look for punishments that are way out of line for the crime. Why don't we have a part of government that does this? They would have to not be allowed to accept third party donations of any kind. Congress is supposed to be doing this job but based on verdicts like this it is obvious they are failing us.

Re:Everyone should be outraged. Even RIAA employee (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068897)

Can this ridiculous debt be wiped out in bankruptcy, or is it exempted from bankruptcy proceedings? Even having to deal with a bankruptcy on your credit report for 7 years is pretty harsh for the violation he's found guilty of, but having your wages garnished for life is beyond the pale. Of course, that's what they were hoping for. They needed a poster-boy so nobody would ever reject a settlement offer and go to trial again. Spreading fear was their mission.

What about the jury? (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068777)

The jury awarded the ridiculous damages. You should be asking what is wrong with ordinary Americans that they can so easily be persuaded that inordinate punishments are acceptable. At least in Europe such things can be challenged under human rights legislation, which is presumably one reason why the media companies* in the UK are anti-EU; it has some weird idea that law should be on the side of ordinary people.

*(Barclay Brothers, Murdochs, Rothermeres.)

Re:What about the jury? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068955)

There's a whole wikipedia article on the topic.

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

There is no legal way to charge retail prices like 99 cents at the ITMS.

From what I remember of the case he pretty much did it willfully, which normally would force the charge to be $30K to $150K per song, so he should have to pay around $3M. I have no idea how he got the charge down into the non-willful infringement category of $750 to $30000 per song. Probably there was a lot of circumstantial evidence that he was doing it willfully but no real proof or signed confession so its simpler to go for the lesser charge.

Sounds like you think the jury can pretty much do what it wants. Not in this legal system, no.

I suspect you'd find the injustice of mandatory minimum sentencing to be pretty offensive too.

After the inevitable revolution that we're headed toward, this country will be a much better place to live. The hard part is likely going to be getting there alive.

Fact vs. Law (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068993)

The jury awarded the ridiculous damages.

Based on the Court's instructions regarding the law.

Re:What about the jury? (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069093)

The RIAA was asking for $4.5 million, so maybe this seemed almost reasonable at the time.

Can't pay? (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068785)

Why doesn't she just cash out one of her trust funds to pay for this?

There are always ways (5, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40068817)

Tenenbaum is just entering the job market and can't pay the penalty

Surely he has organs he could sell.

Re:There are always ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40068915)

I fully expect something like this on /. In a few months...

In a new development in the Tenenbaum story, congress is now considering the STOP TERRORISM NOW act at the request if the RIAA. Should it become law all those indebted to corporations making more than 2,000,000 per year would be imprisoned until they pay. The bill is enjoying large bipartisan support as anyone who opposes it is shouted down with "You don't want to STOP TERRORISTS NOW?".

DON'T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN'T PAY THE FINE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069001)

Don't do it !!

Or if you must, and get caught !!, or file for personal bankruptcy, claim you are too big to fail and allow your uncle to cover your ass, or just flip them the bird and say catch me if you can !!

I'm going to Disneyland !! Breaker 1-9. Got yur ears on Good Buddy !! Going 10-10. Catch you on the flipflop !!

Tenenbaum was stupid, so he pays the price. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40069043)

Tough shit for Tenenbaum.

There are plenty of ways to share music with absolutely ZERO chance
of being caught.

* copy it to a hard drive and circulate it among trusted friends.

* buy used CDS, rip them, and then sell them.

* borrow CDs from friends, rip them, and return them.

* borrows CDS from a library, rip them and return them.

In any case, it has been known for years that sharing files via the internet is
risky. Tenenbaum knew this, and yet he persisted in doing it anyway.

What Tenebaum is REALLY guilty of is being stupid. He will now serve as an example
of what happens to you when you are stupid enough to break the rules and get caught
doing it.

The Supreme Court is a bunch of stooges and the RIAA is a bunch of greedy goddamned
Jews, but none of that is going to be changed any time soon. SO the conditions are what they
are and either you learn to swim with these sharks carefully or you learn what it's like to be their
next meal.

Trade - just create 30 original recordings (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40069103)

Seeing as how the value was placed on the content that was distributed, all he has to do is make a material trade of something of similar value. Create 30 original recordings that have not been distributed to anyone at all and hand them over as fair trade value. As these are original and have not been distributed at all they would actually have higher value thant he songs he was found to have distributed as those songs were already available to many people.

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