Judge slashes RIAA file-sharing award

A judge slashed a $675,000 file-sharing fine by nine tenths on Friday, describing the size of the damages as an unconstitutional breach of due process. Nate Anderson at Ars Technica reports:

Judge Nancy Gertner knows that Joel Tenenbaum did it. Tenenbaum, the second US target of the RIAA's five-year litigation campaign to complete a trial, eventually admitted his music-sharing liability on the stand–and Judge Gertner issued a directed verdict against him. But when the jury returned a $675,000 damage award, they went too far. Way too far.

Though the RIAA has won both file-sharing cases it's brought to trial, it's seen limited awards and slim chances of ever collecting a dime. What it has received, however, is the back of the court's hand: "Reducing the jury's $675,000 award, however, also sends another no less important message, " wrote Judge Gertner. "The Due Process Clause does not merely protect large corporations, like BMW and State Farm, from grossly excessive punitive awards. It also protects ordinary people like Joel Tenenbaum."

The RIAA is livid: Judge slams, slashes "unconstitutional" $675,000 P2P award [Ars]