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Supreme Court declines to hear file sharing suit, leaving former student with $675,000 fine

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The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a request to reduce damages on a former Boston University student's $675,000 file sharing case.

Supreme Court 5 (Verge Stock)
Supreme Court 5 (Verge Stock)

Joel Tenenbaum, a former student at Boston University who was ordered to pay $675,000 for sharing 30 songs over Kazaa, will not have his case examined by the Supreme Court. Tenenbaum had asked the Court to consider reducing his damages, but the petition was denied, sending it back to the trial level. There, a judge has the option to drastically reduce the damages, but the music labels suing Tenenbaum will also have the option to ask for a second trial. Tenenbaum has called the damages "ludicrous" and said he does not have the money to pay them.

The case, which has been going on since 2007, is one of only a handful of personal file-sharing cases to reach a legal resolution in the US. Tenenbaum has admitted to sharing the songs, but his lawyer argued that the fine was unnecessarily punitive, meant to serve as an "urban legend" to other would-be pirates. He had requested that the Supreme Court consider a way to reduce the judgement without using the process of "remittitur," which lessens the amount of damages in a lawsuit but allows plaintiffs to reject the amount and ask for a new trial.