Tenenbaum Dinged $22,500 Per Song; $675,000 Total

After admitting flat out yesterday that he downloaded and distributed songs using file sharing software, and that he lied about it, there wasn’t a question of whether or not Joel Tenenbaum would be found guilty. In fact, the judge even said that the question wasn’t even at issue. The only thing the jury had to work out was how much the damages would be, and they didn’t take long at all, awarding $22,500 per song, or a total of $675,000. While a lot less than what the Jammie Thomas jury awarded, it’s still a hefty chunk of change.

I’ve already expressed my distaste for how this trial was handled by Nesson and “Team Tenenbaum,” but honestly, if he was going to just admit that he did it, it’s unbelievable that he didn’t just settle earlier when he had the chance. The only reason to go through with this is if the entire purpose is to create a later constitutional challenge on the statutory rates — which many assume was Nesson’s plan all along. However, if that’s the case, is this really a good test case for that? Gleefully ignoring the law isn’t the sort of thing that I think many judges/justices will find endearing. If this case does move up the appeals chain, one would hope that a better team of folks will handle Tenenbaum’s appeal, and focus on the real legal issues. Of course, even before the appeal, it appears that Judge Gertner is planning to review whether or not the amount appears to be unconstitutional. It seems that particular ruling will be a lot more important than what the jury had to say.

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