Saturday, September 17, 2011

1st Circuit declines to reach Due Process issue in SONY v Tenenbaum, reverses & remands for further proceedings #law

In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, in a 65-page decision, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to decide the issue of whether the jury's award of $22,500 per infringed work was unconstitutional under due process grounds, and remanded the case to Judge Gertner for further proceedings, on the ground that the lower court's ruling on the due process issue was premature.

The court held that under the doctrine of judicial restraint, the trial court is required to first decide the common law remittitur issues, a step with which Judge Gertner had dispensed.

The court noted the longstanding judicial doctrine that constitutional issues should not be reached if they are avoidable. The court gave a few examples of possible scenarios following a remittitur decision which would have dispensed with the need for the district court's decision of of the constitutional question.

(Ed. note. In layman's terms: the 1st Circuit hasn't decided whether the jury's award is excessive or not. Next step is for Judge Gertner to decide whether the jury's award is excessive on "common law", "remittitur" grounds, and if so, by how much. -R.B.)

(Ed. note. Numerous unrelated arguments which had been made by Tenenbaum were rejected. - R.B.)

September 16, 2011, opinion of US Court of Appeals for 1st Circuit

Commentary & discussion:

Technology & Marketing Law Blog (Venkat Balasubramani)

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Matt Fitzpatrick said...

The appeals court, like at least one court before it, expresses "concerns about application of the Copyright Act which Congress may wish to examine."

Perhaps another court recognizes we've reached the point where copyright legislation stops feeding culture and starts feeding trolls.

Anonymous said...

Trolls is a description more suited for a "past tense" application. New business models built on the abuse of copyright are succeeding due to the support of very own Judicial and Legislative Branches that tweaking laws in unethical, yet currently legal ways. Plundering carpetbaggers is a term more suited for the Trolls Mr. Fitzpatrick speaks of.

Oldphart in Kansas

Copyright reform is very much needed.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, I'm starting to think that Joel should just file the Big B and get it over with. It's pretty clear that he's not going to catch a break from the judicial system. Hopefully Jammie will.

Billy Breit said...

when will be the next proceeding?

raybeckerman said...

I have no idea, Billy. What's strange about this is that Judge Gertner has retired from the bench, so the next judge -- who has to decide the remittitur motion -- will have no more familiarity with the record than the appeals court judges did.

Usemeplz said...

I think that it is strange about retiring a judge, In my opnion full proceeding must lead only the same judge..

Industrial Lawyer London said...

how long this decision will remain pending or is there any decision taken?