Trials & Litigation

Tenenbaum Admits Music Downloading, RIAA Plaintiffs Move for Directed Verdict


After years of high-profile litigation, Joel Tenenbaum came clean today in his testimony in an ongoing federal trial over illegal music downloading.

“I used the computer. I uploaded and downloaded music. This is how it is. I did it,” he told a packed courtroom. It included as spectators copyright scholars Lawrence Lessig, John Palfrey and Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School, reports Ars Technica. Another HLS professor, Charles Nesson, is overseeing Tenenbaum’s defense in the Boston federal court trial.

Tenenbaum testified that he lied in earlier written discovery responses in which he denied responsibility, Ars Technica reports.

Counsel for the plaintiffs in the Recording Industry Association of America case responded by moving for a directed verdict on the issues of copyright ownership, violation and willfulness, the law blog recounts.

At this point, it appears likely that the jury’s only job once the defense concludes its case will be to determine the amount of damages Tenenbaum must pay, writes attorney Ben Sheffner.

“In yet another blow to the defense,” he notes, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner has rejected an argument that the plaintiffs should have to prove Tenenbaum intended to profit commercially in order to establish a willful violation permitting a higher damages award.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Fair Use Nixed in Music Download Case, So Defense Team to Focus on Damages”

PC World: “Second RIAA Piracy Trial Starts: Defense Tactics Include Feng Shui and Legalized Pot”

Threat Level (Wired): “RIAA Seeks up to $150,000 a Song in File Sharing Trial”

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