(Photo credit: Wikipedia)The United States Supreme Court today denied certiorari in Tenenbaum v. Sony BMG Music et al. (Docket No. 11-1019), leaving former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum of Providence, Rhode Island, on the hook for a $675,000 copyright infringement jury award to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Justice Stephen Breyer and Chief Justice John Roberts did not participate in the ruling, according to the Associated Press. Harvard Law School Prof. Charles Nesson filed a petition for certiorari on February 13, 2012, seeking to overturn a jury verdict that awarded the RIAA $22,500 for each of 30 songs Tenenbaum unlawfully downloaded and shared from the now-defunct peer-to-peer network KaZaA in 2004.
The petitioner had asked the High Court to address whether the damages provision of the U.S. Copyright Act [17 U.S.C. sec. 504] "applied to noncommercial individuals without requirement of nexus with actual damages." U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Judge Nancy Gertner reduced the damages award as excessive, but the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reinstated the jury verdict last year. (See "TUOL" posts 9/19/11, 7/9/10, 8/3/09 & 7/28/09.)