Friday, July 31, 2009

Tenenbaum takes the stand: I used P2P and lied about it; Ars Technica, 7/30/09

Ben Sheffner via Ars Technica; Tenenbaum takes the stand: I used P2P and lied about it:

"Accused of sharing 30 songs on the Internet, Joel Tenenbaum today admitted his liability in a federal courtroom, then told the court he told a "lie" in his earlier sworn responses. The labels have moved for a directed verdict of copyright infringement, and look likely to get it.

“Joel Fights Back,” proclaims the website for Joel Tenenbaum, the Boston University grad student standing trial for copyright infringement this week in a federal courtroom. But today, when he took the stand at his closely watched copyright trial, he didn’t.

Instead, over and over, Tenenbaum admitted under oath that he used KaZaA, LimeWire, and other peer-to-peer software to download and distribute music to others unknown.

“This is me. I’m here to answer,” said Tenenbaum. “I used the computer. I uploaded and downloaded music. This is how it is. I did it,” he testified before a packed courtroom, whose spectators included an all-star cast of Harvard Law School copyright scholars: Lawrence Lessig, John Palfrey, and Jonathan Zittrain.

“Are you admitting liability for all 30 sound recordings” on which the record labels brought suit, asked the plaintiffs’ attorney Tim Reynolds.

“Yes,” said Tenenbaum.

Tenenbaum then admitted that he “lied” in his written discovery responses, the ones in which he denied responsibility.

“Why did you lie at that point?” asked Tenenbaum’s attorney, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson. “It was kind of something I rushed through,” responded Tenenbaum. “It’s what seemed the best response to give.” At the time he gave the admittedly false discovery responses, Tenenbaum testified that he was being advised by his mother Judith, a family law attorney who works for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

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