(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court won't reduce the $675,000 verdict against a Boston University student who illegally downloaded 30 songs and shared them on the Internet.
The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., who was successfully sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegally sharing music on peer-to-peer networks. In 2009, a jury ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000, or $22,500 for each song he illegally downloaded and shared.
A federal judge called that unconstitutionally excessive, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the penalty at the request of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Brothers Records Inc. and other record labels represented by the RIAA.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Stephen Breyer did not participate in this decision.
Piracy has been a hot-button issue. Lawmakers, copyright holders and consumers have been in a gridlock over how fight piracy while maintaining net neutrality - or Internet access without censorship or restrictions enforced by governments.
Recently, the Obama administration was at odds with Congress over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a bill that would allow Internet companies to divulge confidential customer records and communications.
In January, tens of thousands of websites organized a protest against two controversial bills - Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). Both bills were opposed by companies, like Google, Facebook and Twitter because the companies believed it would stifle innovation and job creation.