Sunday, January 24, 2010
Department of Justice in Favor of $675,000 P2P Award
Earlier this past week, President Obama's Department of Justice filed documents in support of a $675,000 judgment against Joel Tenenbaum for his unauthorized sharing of 30 songs on KaZaA. Shockingly, the DOJ asserted that Mr. Tenenbaum's actions amounted to a "great public harm". This is a blatantly inaccurate statement. The harm suffered by the RIAA (the copyright owners in this case) is not, by any means, "public". A copyright claim is one of the most private claims that could be, as it grants a private monopoly in the creator (or his/her assigns, a.k.a. the record company), preventing access by the public to the creation unless allowed by the copyright owner. Thus, the harm resulting from infringement is entirely private. In fact, a correct version of the DOJ's statement would have been: "Mr. Tenenbaum's actions amounted to a 'great private harm'."