Thursday, July 22, 2010

Labels file notice of appeal in Tenenbaum case

The record label plaintiffs have filed their notice of appeal in the Joel Tenenbaum case, challenging Judge Nancy Gertner's ruling reducing the jury's award of $675,000 in statutory damages down to $67,500 on constitutional grounds. It will be interesting to see whether Tenenbaum also appeals on the grounds that the reduced award for the infringement of 30 songs is still unconstitutionally excessive. Update: Tenenbaum has indeed appealed.

Plaintiffs' Notice of Appeal


  1. Any idea whether the plaintiffs have moved for an award of attorneys fees and costs in this case? Or does such a motion need to wait until any appeals are settled?

  2. The plaintiffs have not moved for attorneys fees, and I don't know if they will. I don't believe they have to wait until the appeal is resolved.

  3. Thank you. I was curious b/c Judge Gertner's opinion reducing the award specifically referenced the ability of plaintiffs to recover costs and attorneys fees under the Act as a policy justification for her reduction of the jury's 675K statutory award. I found this reasoning a little dubious in the sense that the awarding of costs and attorneys fees are entirely discretionary w/ the court in copyright cases even where the infringement was willful -- as it was in this case (this is to be contrasted w/ trademark cases involving the intentional use of a counterfeit mark where attorneys fees shall be awarded, unless the court find "extenuating circumstances"). So there was obviously no guarantee Judge Gertner would grant them in this case and I would be inclined to believe that she would not given her relative lack of sympathy for the harm suffered by the plaintiffs in this case. And, in any event, I am sure she could dig up some legislative history indicating that Congress never intended for willful college student file-sharers to be subject to attorney fee awards. Heck, I bet it says so right there in section 505 itself. Let me go check.


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.