Business, Economics and Jobs

Supreme Court refuses to hear Joel Tenenbaum's appeal against fine for illegally downloading music


Aerosmith's "Pink" was one of the 30 songs illegally downloaded by Joel Tenenbaum.


Frazer Harrison

The US Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a Boston University student who was fined $675,000 for downloading 30 songs from the Internet without paying and then sharing them on a peer-to-peer network.

According to the Associated Press, Joel Tenenbaum was successfully sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2009.

He was fined $22,500 for each song, which included Aerosmith's "Pink" and Eminem's "My Name Is", Fox News reported.

A Federal judge later ruled that the fine was “unconstitutionally excessive” and ordered Tenenbaum to pay $67,500.

But the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston reinstated the original penalty at the request of record labels represented by RIAA, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Brothers Records, the Seattle Weekly said.

Tenebaum's case was part of the music industry's effort to crack down on piracy by suing more than 12,000 people and sending notices to thousands of others who it claimed were illegally downloading music, according to Bloomberg. The record labels claimed illegal downloading was costing the industry billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Tenenbaum and a woman from Minnesota took to their cases to trial.

According to Bloomberg, lawyers for Tenenbaum argued that individuals who download songs from the Internet but don't profit from their actions should not be treated the same as companies who make money from stealing copyrighted content.

Tenenbaum said he couldn't afford to pay the fine and would continue fighting the judgment, according to the Associated Press.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear Tenenbaum's appeal means the case will now return to the District Court.

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