719 F.3d 67 (1st Cir. 2013), 12-2146, Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum
|Citation:||719 F.3d 67, 107 U.S.P.Q.2d 1264|
|Opinion Judge:||HOWARD, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, et al., Plaintiffs, Appellees, v. Joel TENENBAUM, Defendant, Appellant.|
|Attorney:||K.A.D. Camara, with whom Camara & Sibley LLP, Paul J. Pape, Nicolas M. Rouleau, Pape Barristers PC and Charles R. Nesson were on brief, for appellant. Paul D. Clement, with whom Erin E. Murphy, Bancroft PLLC, Jennifer L. Pariser, Recording Industry Association of America, Matthew J. Oppenheim, Op...|
|Judge Panel:||Before LYNCH, Chief Judge, TORRUELLA and HOWARD, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||June 25, 2013|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit|
Joel Tenenbaum illegally downloaded and distributed music for several years. A group of recording companies sued Tenenbaum, and a jury awarded damages of $675,000, representing $22,500 for each of thirty songs whose copyright Tenenbaum violated. Tenenbaum appeals the award, claiming that it is so large that it violates his constitutional right to due process of law. We hold that the award did not violate Tenenbaum's right to due process, and we affirm.
From 1999 to at least 2007, Tenenbaum downloaded and distributed copyrighted music without authorization, using various
peer-to-peer networks. 1 Tenenbaum knew that his conduct was illegal, but he pressed on, ignoring warnings from his father, his college, and recording companies. In 2007, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records Inc., Arista Records LLC, Atlantic Recording Corporation,2 and UMG Recordings, Inc. (together, " Sony" ), sued Tenenbaum under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq., for statutory damages and injunctive relief. Sony pursued claims for thirty copyrighted works, although Tenenbaum had apparently distributed far more. During discovery, Tenenbaum lied about his activities, blaming unidentified burglars and a foster child living in his parents' home, among others. Only at trial did Tenenbaum admit that he had distributed as many as five thousand songs.
The district court held as a matter of law that Tenenbaum had violated the Copyright Act, and a jury found that Tenenbaum's violations were willful. The court instructed the jury that the Copyright Act provides for damages between $750 and $150,000 for each willful violation. 17 U.S.C. § 504(c). The court also gave the jury a set of non-exhaustive factors that it might wish to consider in issuing its award, including the nature of the infringement; the defendant's purpose and intent; the profit that the defendant reaped, if any, or the expense that the defendant saved; the revenue lost by the plaintiff as a result of the infringement; the value of the copyright; the duration of the infringement; the defendant's continuation of infringement after notice or knowledge of copyright claims; and the need to deter this defendant and other potential infringers. The jury awarded Sony $22,500 for each of Tenenbaum's thirty violations (15% of the statutory maximum), for a total award of $675,000. Tenenbaum moved for a reduction in the award, arguing that remittitur was appropriate and that the award was so high that it violated his right to due process. The...
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