File-Sharing Student's Fine Slashed By 90 Per Cent

A judge in the US District Court of Boston has slashed the $675,000 file imposed on a Boston University law student for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them online.

Student Joel Tenenbaum was accused by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally downloading 30 copyrighted songs from a P2P network and was ordered by a Federal Court to cough up $675,000 to pay for damages.

Judge Nancy Gertner reduced the fine by 90 per cent to just $67,500. She said in her ruling that the amount Joel had earlier been asked to pay was "unconstitutionally excessive".

Judge Gertner maintained that the reduced fine was still heavy, but that it was necessary to send out a strong message to those who illegally download songs.

She said that “It not only adequately compensates the plaintiffs for the relatively minor harm that Tenenbaum caused them; it sends a strong message that those who exploit peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully download.”