Boston, Mass – Thirty illegal downloads have cost Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum $22,500 each.
A federal jury ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000 to four record labels. It could have been worse: the law allows for as much as $150,000 per track.
Tenenbaum admitted downloading and sharing more than 800 songs – he was apparently a fan of Nirvana, Green Day and The Smashing Pumpkins. The lawyer for the recording studios described him as: “A hardcore, habitual, long-term infringer”.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) welcomed the verdict. “We are grateful for the jury’s service and their recognition of the impact of illegal downloading on the music community,” it said in a statement. “We appreciate that Mr Tenenbaum finally acknowledged that artists and music companies deserve to be paid for their work. From the beginning, that’s what this case has been about. We only wish he had done so sooner rather than lie about his illegal behavior.”
The case is only the second time that an American individual has been convicted of illegal music downloads. Recently, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $1.92 million for downloading 24 songs.
Tenenbaum plans to appeal. He says he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict is allowed to stand.