Last year, a Boston college student caught a break when a judge reduced an earlier file-sharing judgment against him from $675,000 to $67,500, calling the earlier figure unconstitutional. Now a federal appeals court has wiped that relief away by deciding the Constitution is cool after all with the $675,000 fee and has reinstated the earlier judgment.
Wired reports the Recording Industry Association of America case, in which the student was convicted of downloading and sharing 30 songs, is one of two RIAA cases to reach jury trials. It seems the court system can’t quite sort out what is or isn’t a fair punishment in such cases, because a U.S. District judge in Minnesota slashed a $1.5 million judgment in the other case — involving a woman who shared 24 songs — to $54,000 in July.
The RIAA has reached settlements with most of its Copyright Act suit targets, and maintains that judges cannot reduce judgments in such cases. The organization has apparently stopped taking accused file sharers to court and is backing plans by internet service providers to disrupt internet access for chronic offenders.