United Statesl v. Tenenbaum
Recording companies sought statutory damages and injunctive relief under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101, claiming willful infringement of copyrights of music recordings by using file-sharing software to download and distribute recordings without authorization. The jury found that the infringement was willful and awarded statutory damages of $22,500 for each infringed recording, an award within the statutory range of $750 to $150,000 per infringement. The judge reduced the damages by a factor of ten, reasoning that the award was excessive in violation of defendant's due process rights. The First Circuit affirmed the finding of liability, but reinstated the original damage award. The district court erred in considering the constitutional issue without first addressing defendant's motion for remittitur. The court noted a number of issues concerning application of the Copyright Act that "Congress may wish to examine."