Business, Economics and Jobs

Recent college grad must pay $675,000 for music downloads


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One recent Boston University graduate gets to enter the dismal job market with an extra $675,000 debt. Joel Tenenbaum, 25, is being saddled with the massive fine for music he illegally shared and downloaded when he was just 16, BBC News reported. Tenenbaum first learned about the legal action in 2007 when he received a letter from record companies demanding $5,250 for seven songs that he downloaded.

He made a counter-officer of $500, still a fairly generous amount. But the record companies wouldn't take it, and Tenenbaum refused to settle with them, the BBC said. The matter went to court in 2009, and a jury ruled that Tenenbaum should pay even more--$675,000. In total, he is being punished for 31 songs he downloaded and distributed. 

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In 2010, things were looking up for Tenenbaum when US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner ruled the penalty was too high, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported. She reduced the penalty to a tenth of its original size. But a 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals later reinstated it. 

Tenenbaum tried to request a new trial, but in this latest ruling, US District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel rejected that request. "We are pleased with the District Court's decision," the Recording Industry Association of America told CNET

Tenenbaum graduated May with a doctorate in statistical physics and said he cannot afford the fine, according to the Weekly.