Page last updated at 08:34 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 09:34 UK

US file-sharer refuses donations

Joel Tenenbaum (AP)
Joel Tenenbaum said he was glad he had not been fined millions

A US student ordered to pay $675,000 (£404,000) for sharing music online has refused help paying the fine.

Over the weekend supporters had begun to donate money to Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum who was found guilty of sharing 30 songs.

In a blog post Mr Tenenbaum said: "I ask no one to help me. And I ask for no one to cover what I signed up for."

He said any money raised so far would be used to pay expenses to his legal team, many of whom worked for free.

"I shared music. I was the one who wanted a say in court. This lawsuit was against me. This is my verdict," wrote Mr Tenenbaum.

Mr Tenenbaum was ordered to pay the money to four record labels.

Supporters had begin to donate money, he said, after news of his fine spread around the social networking site Twitter. Around $2000 had been raised before Mr Tenenbaum wrote his blog.

"We don't want the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) to be paid when I can't afford to do it, and this money could be more valuable elsewhere," the blog post said.

"From the money raised already, I would like to reimburse my legal team for the money they've spent out of their own pockets."

In a different post, he said that he would "declare bankruptcy" if his appeal against the fine was not successful.

'Giant library'

The case is only the second of its kind to go to trial in the US.

In the first case, a woman in Minneapolis was ordered to pay $1.92m for sharing 24 songs.

On Friday, the jury ordered Mr Tenebaum to pay $22,500 for each infringement. The maximum that he could have been fined was $4.5m.

Mr Tenenbaum used a computer at his parents' home and at his college to download and distribute digital files.

It was like this giant library in front of you
Joel Tenenbaum

Prosecutors working on behalf of the record labels focused on 30 shared songs from artists such as Nirvana and Green Day.

Under US law, the recording companies are entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement.

However, the jury can raise the amount to $150,000 per track if it finds the infringements were wilful.

In the Minnesota case, the jury awarded $80,000 per song.

On the stand, Mr Tenenbaum admitted that he had downloaded more than 800 songs since 1999.

"I used the computer. I uploaded, I downloaded music," he told the court under questioning from his own lawyer, Charles Nesson.

He said he had used Napster and then Kazaa to download the files.

"It was like this giant library in front of you," he said.

'Got off easy'

In opening remarks, Mr Tenenbaum's lawyer said he "was a kid who did what kids do and loved technology and loved music".

Recording companies had been slow to adapt to the internet, he added.

But prosecutors argued that file-sharers take a significant toll on the revenues for artists and others involved in music

The recording industry has recently changed its tactics in file-sharing cases, preferring to settle quickly for much smaller amounts.

However, cases such as those against Mr Tenenbaum, which were already filed, are proceeding to trial.

The four recording labels involved in the case are subsidiaries of Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony.

Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe said Mr Tenenbaum had "got off easy" compared to the Minnesota case.



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