Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
A federal jury today ordered a Boston University graduate student to pay four record labels $675,000 in damages for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them online, in only the second such lawsuit to go to trial.
After deliberating about three hours, the jury in US District Court in Boston concluded that Joel Tenenbaum, a 25-year-old doctoral student in physics, ``willfully'' infringed on the copyrights of 30 songs, including Nirvana's ``Comes As You Are'' and Nine Inch Nails' ``The Perfect Drug.'' The jury award the record labels $22,500 for each infringement.
Tenenbaum, who had unapologetically admitted from the witness stand that he had illegally downloaded and shared hundreds from 1999 to at least 2007 through peer-to-peer networks, said he was ``disappointed but not surprised'' in the award. ``But I am thankful that it wasn't millions,'' he said.
The jury could have ordered him to pay as much as $150,000 for each of the 30 songs at issue in the lawsuit, or $4.5 million.
Still, if the verdict stands, Tenenbaum said he will have to file for bankruptcy protection.
His lead counsel, Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson, said his client will appeal the judgment.
The Recording Industry Association of America issued a statement praising the jury's ``recognition of the impact of illegal downloading on the music community. We appreciate that Mr. Tenenbaum finally acknowledged that artists and music companies deserve to be paid for their work.''
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