Nov 17 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday
rejected a music downloader's request to rehear his case after
a three-judge panel reinstated a $675,000 judgment against
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals denied Joel Tenenbaum
another opportunity to argue his case against Sony BMG Music
Entertainment, this time before an expanded judicial panel.
Sony sued Tenenbaum, a college student, in 2007 for
violating copyright laws by downloading and sharing music
without permission. Sony requested statutory damages under the
Copyright Act, which provides awards ranging from $750 to
$150,000 for each count of infringement. A jury awarded Sony a
staggering $675,000 -- $22,500 for each of 30 songs.
Tenenbaum challenged the award in district court, arguing
that it was so excessive that it violated his constitutional
due process rights. In response, Judge Nancy Gertner agreed to
reduce the judgment to $67,500, prompting Sony's appeal to the
A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit reinstated the
$675,000 award in September, finding that Gertner committed an
error by immediately reducing the award without first giving
Sony the choice whether to accept the smaller amount or opt for
a new trial. The panel sent the case back to the lower court
with the order to first give Sony that option.
In arguing for a rehearing before an expanded court,
Tenenbaum called that order "a frivolous procedure" that
further denied him due process. He argued that it was
unconstitutional to use the Copyright Act, with its hefty
damages, against a "generation of kids" who were downloading
and sharing music for personal enjoyment.
The full 1st Circuit disagreed, upholding the panel's
decision to send the case back to the lower court.
Tenenbaum's lawyer, Charles Nesson, did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
Sony's lawyer, Paul Clement, was not immediately available
The case is Sony BMG Music Entertainment et al v.
Tenenbaum, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, Nos.
10-1883, 10-1947, 10-2052.
For Sony: Paul Clement of Bancroft.
For Tenenbaum: Charles Nesson of Harvard Law School.
(Reporting by Terry Baynes)
Follow us on Twitter: @ReutersLegal