by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 23rd 2009 5:41am
Considering that the Justice Department has hired a bunch of the RIAA's favorite lawyers, it was widely expected that the Justice Department would weigh in on the Joel Tenenbaum case -- despite the fact that folks in the Obama administration aren't supposed to be involved in situations that relate to work they did recently (oops). So, of course, the Justice Deparment has filed an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the statutory fines for copyright infringement. As Ray Beckerman notes, the Justice Department seems to have conveniently ignored numerous other precedents -- and doesn't bother to explain why earlier cases that upheld damages of 116 and 44 times damages means it's okay to have damages pushing hundreds of thousands of times over potential damages (and an argument can be made that there were actually no damages at all solely due to Tenenbaum). So while this is hardly surprising, it is a bit disappointing that the DOJ filed this brief, given the obvious conflicts of interest concerning its recent hires.
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