Sunday, August 2, 2009

Joel Tenenbaum, unrepentant

Posted today to the Joel Fights Back site:
Q: What did you do with 30 songs that got you nailed?
A: I downloaded them and shared them on Kazaa. They also proved in court (because I admitted it) that I used Limewire, iMesh, Morpheus, Napster, and Audiogalaxy, but it doesn’t matter.


Q: The RIAA are a bunch of rotten bastards.

A: I know.

Q: Why did you share them? Why didn’t you just enjoy them yourself?!

A: Art is meant to be shared....

Q: Come on, don’t you want the artists to be paid?

A: More than anything. They take the time to learn an instrument, spend the money to get the equipment, and then they pour themselves so completely into their expression. The artists are what matter and 2/3 of them don’t see file sharing as a threat. Just read what Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has said on this.
I'm very curious as to the source of the "2/3" statistic. And if Tenenbaum wanted "more than anything" that the artists get paid, why didn't he buy the music, instead of taking it for free?

Tenenbaum also says in the Q&A, "The RIAA and the Judge in this case succeeded in convincing the jury that the DMCA act of 1999 ( should be applied here," and references the range of statutory damages. The DMCA was enacted in 1998, and it had absolutely nothing to do with this case. I believe he meant to refer to the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999, which did increase both the upper and lower limits of the statutory damages range. However, given the jury's finding of willful infringement, their award of $22,500 could have been exactly the same prior to that law's passage.

Tenenbaum will likely soon be back before Judge Gertner, asking her to reduce the jury's award of $675,000 against him. Expressing precisely zero regret for his illegal acts -- indeed, bragging about them -- and referring to the plaintiffs' trade association as "rotten bastards," will not help his cause. Very, very bad move.


  1. Hi. The 2/3 comes from an article I read a while back. Will find if I can.

    I'm sure you're right on the laws. I thought the 1999 act was an update to the DMCA, I'm sure you know better.

  2. tenenbaum is a prick. he has no more interest in supporting artists than anyone else who just rips them off.

    I hope he gets royally screwed for every cent he's got

  3. Q: Come on, don’t you want the artists to be paid?
    A: More than anything.

    I just don’t…. well……y’know…… want to actually have to pay them anything myself.
    It’s a freedom of speech thing.

  4. "Just read what Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has said on this."

    I'm assuming that the defendant is referring to NIN's offering of their album for free in exchange for whatever donations the downloaders thought fair. What the defendant fails to realize, however, is that NIN would never have gotten to the point where they could try something like this without the determined efforts and financial backing of the recording industry. Without someone taking the time to sign them, to advance them millions of dollars, to provide them with recording, mixing, and engineering professionals, to market and distribute their works, and to handle all the logistics of worldwide tours, then Trent Reznor would probably be waiting tables wondering what could've been.

  5. What if John McCain had been a supporter of noncommercial filesharing? Obama's message of "change" would have largely fallen on deaf ears as the under-40 demographic would have flocked to McCain.

    It seems that Ben Sheffner was loyal to the anti-Republican media companies, and not to John McCain. Noncommercial filesharing reflects the highest ideals of all classical relgious and academic traditions. It is the future of the Republican party, though it may be 30 years and many more lost elections away.

  6. He HAS been screwed for every penny!

  7. Ben,

    What's the point of moderating these postings if you are going to let posters say, "tenenbaum is a prick." And anonymously.

    I know that you support the recording industry in this trial, but I was hoping you didn't have an agenda. Now I'm not so sure.


  8. Frankly, I'm surprised the plaintiffs didn't sue for the 800 or so songs (or however many it was), seeking $120,000,000 in damages.

  9. Randy,

    My guess is that Mr. Sheffner has not yet taken the time to vacate posts that violate his "Post A Comment" guidelines. I think it is pretty clear that Anonymous violates the "name-calling" and "personal attacks" criteria.

  10. You know, the really great thing is that $675,000 is evenly divisible by 3. So Mr. Tenenbaum presumably won't be trying to go BK for the $225,000 since he cares so much about artists.

  11. Randy & Christian --

    I was on the fence about this one. Given that the post was partly about Tenenbaum's own name-calling ("rotten bastards"), I didn't feel so bad about letting this one through, even though it was arguably in violation of my guidelines. The point of the guidllines (and comment moderation) is to keep the comments from devolving into the name-calling hate-fest that is all too common on blogs. I reject very, very few comments (probably less than 20 since I started the blog last December), and I think it's worked pretty well. Of course, once I started drawing lines, I opened up my decisions to scrutiny, and there will inevitably be criticisms that I haven't been 100% consistent. I guess I'm willing to live with that.

  12. Ben, I don't want to harp on this but I am struck by this part of the "interview" (we didn't call it that when I was a boy, but I guess times change):

    Q: If the $675,000 stands?
    A: I declare bankruptcy.

    He says that like he's saying "checkmate". Even if discharging this obligation in BK is not a slam dunk either way and is a tough case, it's still a tough case that Mr. T is making easier for his opponents--on a daily basis.

    Do you think that Mr. T has been told that all he has to do is declare BK and it all goes away? Or maybe they told him the more trash he talks about his judgement creditor the easier it will go for him?

    I guess it's theoretically possible to have gotten worse advice than Mr. T has received, but I'm not quite sure I'm smart enough to know how much worse it could be.

    I sure am glad us country lawyers have those Harvard folk around to keep us from marrying our sisters and all.

    By the way, did you really put "spoliation" in as a CAPTCHA word?

  13. Chris:

    I don't know for sure how carefully Tenenbaum's defense team has looked into the BK issue. But, given my observation of their work over the last 9 months, I highly doubt they've analyzed it in any detail. Seems to me they should consult BK counsel ASAP.

    This was never a game or an academic exercise, but now it's really not a game. As of now, Tenenbaum has a $675,000 debt hanging over his head, which could have very serious consequences for the rest of his life. Time to quit worrying about the web site and Twitter feed, ignore the interview requests, and start concentrating on how to get out of this mess.

    And I promise I have nothing to do with the CAPTCHA words Google chooses...

  14. Karateka,
    Wow. Some of the P2P supporters never cease to amaze me. Do you really think the number one issue for the under-40 demographic is whether or not the candidate supports non-commercial file-sharing? I do not think such a stance would have overshadowed Obama's message. Reality check, my friend.

  15. Hi, Ben,

    This is a remarkably helpful blog. Could you very kindly add "Share This" or "Add This" or "Follow" functionality, please?

  16. @RowenaBCherry:

    There is a "subscribe" link on the right column for RSS feeds.


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.