Wednesday, October 7, 2009

$22,500 per Song

If you have some students that think there are no consequences to sharing copyrighted music through peer to peer networks, have them read this article. Over the summer, a Boston University graduate student by the name of Joel Tenenbaum was ordered to pay a total of $675,000 in damages for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them online. Now, this is only the second lawsuit of this nature to go to trial, but many students have had to pay thousands of dollars in settlements to record companies in the past. It is important for students to understand that there can be consequences to illegally sharing copyrighted material online. The defendant in the case actually admitted to the charge while on the stand, but his defense is that he had the right to download and share songs under the fair use doctrine of copyright law. His lawyer, Harvard law professor Charles Nesson, was never allowed to argue this position in the original lawsuit and is hoping to in an appeal. This is a very high profile case that could have long lasting effects on how copyright law is enforced on the internet.

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