Grad Student Ordered to Pay $675K for Illegal Downloads

Joel Tenenbaum has to pay $22,500 for each of the 30 songs he downloaded and shared on Kazaa in 2004.

Joel Tenenbaum has been ordered to pay $675,000 to record companies for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs in 2004. (Photo via
Steve Crowe · August 3, 2009

Joel Tenenbaum, a 25-year-old Boston University graduate student, has been ordered to pay four record companies $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing music on the Internet.

After losing his battle with the RIAA, Tenenbaum will have to pay $22,500 for each of the 30 songs he shared via Kazaa back in 2004.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m thankful it wasn’t millions,” says Tenenbaum. The fine could have been as much as $4.5 million ($150,000 per song). But after a week-long trial, the jury awarded the RIAA $22,500 per song based on “willful infringement.”

Tenenbaum also admitted to downloading more than 800 songs between 1999 to 2007 on his home computer.


RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy says the $675,000 in damages won’t go to any of the artists, but will be “re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” according to TorrentFreak.

In June, 32-year-old Jammie Thomas-Rasset was order to pay $1.92 million for downloading and sharing 24 songs ($80,000 per song) on Kazaa. At the time, Thomas-Rasset said: “There’s no way they’re ever going to get that. … I’m a mom, limited means, so I’m not going to worry about it now.”

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  About the Author

Steve Crowe has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Steve at

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