Judge Slashes "Unconstitutionally Excessive" File Sharing Fine By 90%

Illustration for article titled Judge Slashes "Unconstitutionally Excessive" File Sharing Fine By 90%

Last summer, a Boston University graduate student was ordered to pay $670,000 in damages for illegally downloading 30 songs. Yesterday, US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner said that was ludicrous and reduced it to $67,000. Thank God.


Even that reduced number, she wrote in her decision, is "severe, even harsh." She hopes the reduced damages will serve a dual purpose: showing downloaders that illegal file sharing will have significant financial consequences, but also sending a message that the constitution protects ordinary people from excessive punishment just as much as it protects record companies and their copyright claims.

The Boston Globe points out that this is only the second file-sharing case to reach the federal level; a judge reduced a Minnesota woman's fine from $1.9 million to $54,000 last year.

In their response to yesterday's decision, the buffoons at the RIAA exhibited their usual buffoonery, claiming that Gertner's ruling ignored the "profound economic and artistic harm" to their artists. They plan to contest the decision.

And while the decision is definitely a small victory for file-sharers everywhere, the downloader in question wasn't too thrilled about his reduced penalty. "It's basically equally unpayable to me," he said. [Boston.com]



Those of us who produce copyrighted materials for a living shed a tear now.

Unless copyright violation is crushed at every opportunity, the asswipes who infringe are literally stealing from those of us who make our living off the honoring and enforcement of copyright laws.

Hell, even Al Gore with Current TV is guilty of it so the issue is widespread. And he used his millions to actually get away with it.

But you folks growing up in the age of ambiguous respect for copyright law are assholes for trying to undermine it in any way. Your excuses for doing it are baseless and you are in essence nothing more than common criminals.