Joel Tenenbaum, a holdover from the age when record companies used to personally sue pirates for enormous sums of money, still has to cough up.
The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals found on Tuesday that Tenenbaum still owes Sony BMG $675,000 for pirating 30 songs.
Tenenbaum, 29, has fought the convoluted case since 2007, when he was convicted of using Kazaa to download and upload the songs. Per U.S. copyright law, willful copyright infringement can cost up to $150,000 per instance. Though Tenenbaum’s charges have gone up and down over the years depending on courts’ varying findings, a fee of $22,500 per song—hence $675,000 total—has stayed steady since a 2011 ruling.
The case is a remnant of a previous era, when the music industry tried to deter those who pirated music via peer-to-peer filesharing software by suing them en masse. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents the country’s major music labels, quit that practice in 2008. Instead, it’s focused its anti-piracy efforts elsewhere, like in the controversial, U.S.-wide Copyright Alert System (CAS), which started in February.
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