Friday, July 31, 2009

Judge: Tenenbaum guilty of copyright infringement; Ars Technica, 7/30/09

Eric Bangemen via Ars Technica; Judge: Tenenbaum guilty of copyright infringement:

"In a reversal of her decision Thursday night, Judge Nancy Gertner has issued a directed verdict against P2P defendant Joel Tenenbaum, ruling that he is liable for infringing the record labels' copyrights on all 30 of the songs in question. It will be up to the jury to determine whether the infringement was willful and the size of the award—which could be as high as $4.5 million.

Judge Gertner's change of heart came after she had a chance to review the transcript of Thursday's testimony by Joel Tenenbaum. During direct examination, Tenenbaum was asked a simple question by the labels' counsel: "on the stand now, are you admitting liability for downloading and distributing all 30 sound recordings that are at issue and listed on Exhibits 55 and 56 of the exhibits?" His simple "yes" answer was enough to hand the labels a victory on the question of liability...

For all of the theatrics in the months leading up to the trial, things have gone down differently since the trial started Monday morning. Judge Gertner eviscerated Tenenbaum's Fair Use defense right before things got underway, and it has been all downhill from there for the defendant. Should the jury throw the book at Tenenbaum on the issue of damages, his counsel, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson, will challenge the constitutionality of the damage provisions of the Copyright Act. But that's another chapter; this one is all but written."

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