Was the statutory damages award of $675,000 against Joel Tenebaum for downloading and distributing 30 music files over peer-to-peer networks excessive? Did it violate US due process? According to a decision released by a U.S. District Court yesterday in the Sony BMG Music Entertainment v Tenebaum 2012 WL 3639053, (D.Mass., Aug. 23, 2012) case, the answer to both questions is no.
After a five-day jury trial, the jury found that Tenenbaum’s infringement was willful as to each of the thirty sound recordings in issue, and returned a verdict within the US statutory range of $22,500 per infringement, for a total damages award of $675,000. After an appeal of the jury verdict, the Court was charged with the duty of determining whether the award was excessive under the common law remittitur doctrine and whether it violated due process.