Website for Joel Tennenbuam's Fight against Corporate Bureacracy/Goliaths
In 2003, Joel received a notice accusing him of downloading music through the P2P service, and told him that he could settle the case for $3,500. He
called the payment hotline, offered $500, and sent a money order in that amount. That offer was denied.
In 2007, a complaint showed up on his doorstep after years of silence requiring that Joel appear in court. Rather than backing down, like the other
30,000 people, Joel chose to stand his ground and elected to proceed pro se with the help of his mother.
Joel filed an answer with a counterclaim asserting abuse of federal power and that the excessive damages were unconstitutional. Joel appeared in court
where the Judge ordered the parties into settlement. In the settlement, Joel offered to settle for $5,000. The opposing counsel denied and
counter-offered a settlement of $10,500 to be paid over 1 year. Joel declined.
That’s where Professor Charles Nesson and his team of passionate students come in.
In October 2008, Joel was deposed for 9 hours straight. Since then, his parents, his sister, and other close family friends have all been deposed by
The trial date has been set for March 30, 2009.
What You Should Know about the Case:
* We are not arguing against copyright law. As lawyers and law students, we support the legal infrastructure and reasonable enforcement that our
legal system permits.
* We believe that 1) the extent of the damages this statute permits are unconstitutional; and 2) the music industry is abusing federal power by using
the court system capriciously.
* By understanding young people’s interactions with digital new media such as internet, cell phones and video games, we may address the issues their
practices raise, learn how to harness the opportunities their digital fluency presents, and shape our regulatory and educational frameworks in a way
that advances the public interest.
Some Quick Statistics
* 30,000 people have been accused and almost every single case has settled.
* The average settlement is between $3,000 - $12,000.
* When this goes to trial, this will be only the second case to have its day in court. The first one ended in a mistrial. But in that case, the
judge commented that he believed that the damages sought were something like 1000 times excessive.
* There are actually 133 people in the same docket as Joel.
How damages work: The Digital Theft Deterrence Act sets damages of $750 to $30,000 for each infringement, and as much as $150,000 for a willful
violation. That means Joel could be forced to pay $1 million for the seven songs if it is determined that his alleged actions were willful.