Attorney Fees

Harvard Law Prof Nesson on the Hook for Motion Cost in Downloading Trial


Some pro bono litigation could prove costly for Harvard law professor Charles Nesson.

Nesson led the defense for graduate student Joel Tenenbaum, who was ordered to pay $675,000 for unlawfully downloading 30 songs on the Internet. Now Nesson may be on a hook for some of the record companies’ legal fees.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ordered Tenenbaum and Nesson to pick up the costs of a motion to compel filed by the plaintiffs, according to the Copyrights & Campaigns blog. The motion had sought evidence about the posting of seven songs to a public website; Gertner granted the request in June.

According to Ars Technica, the motion was filed “after the defense team inexplicably posted the very songs at issue in the case to the Internet, and Nesson posted a public link on his blog for anyone to download them.”

Gertner has accused Tenenbaum of leading a “chaotic” defense. She said Nesson had missed deadlines and ignored rules, and tape-recorded opposing counsel and the judge without permission.

The record labels have until today to file with the court their expenses associated with the motion. Copyrights & Campaigns says the amount could be a few thousand dollars.

Nesson did not immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

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