The court order was the latest development in the recording industry’s case against Joel Tenenbaum, who was ordered by a federal jury in July to pay $675,000 to the four major labels for downloading and distributing 30 songs.

Regardless of how many songs a suspected music pirate may have offered for trading on peer-to-peer networks, most defendants in P2P lawsuits were charged with distributing smaller amounts than they possessed, if only so the plaintiffs could avoid having to identify thousands of songs and composers in court.

Although the recent order prohibiting Tenenbaum from further file-sharing will probably cramp his leisure activities, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner refused to grant the labels one more request – that she order Tenenbaum to cease encouraging people to continue copyright-infringing music trading.

The labels had asked the judge to order Tenenbaum to stop telling people to use a Swedish site for song-trading, advice Gertner said was within Tenenbaum’s First Amendment rights.

Sued for illicitly distributing music, Tenenbaum was the Boston University grad student who received some heavy-duty legal aid when Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson agreed to defend him against the major labels.

As if Nesson’s presence wasn’t enough to attract attention, the law professor also made headlines when, during the first week of the case, the judge admonished him for asking jurors non-relevant questions, such as whether they had ever smoked marijuana and whether they were passionate about anything.

However, Nesson did score a victory of sorts during the trial’s first week when he convinced the judge to allow him to rearrange the courtroom’s furniture. Nesson contended the traditional arrangement where both plaintiff and defendant’s tables faced the judge was not a good “rhetorical space,” and convinced the judge to let him arrange the furniture so that the defendant’s table faced the jury while the plaintiff’s table remained facing the judge.

Regarding the trial’s final outcome, Nesson now says he plans to file a motion for a new trial by Jan. 4.

Gertner also explained why she didn’t buy Tenenbaum’s “fair use” defense, saying he freely admitted giving illicitly traded music to his friends to enjoy.

“That is, the very use for which the artist or copyright holder is entitled to expect payment as a reward.” Gertner said.

But Gertner also said she could imagine a legal scenario where fair use might be a valid defense, and described a situation before file-sharing laws were clear and music download services weren’t available.

As you might guess, the labels weren’t buying that particular line of reasoning.

“Judge Gertner’s hypothetical statements on fair use are not supported in the law, and courts have routinely rejected this theory since it would essentially strip copyright owners of the important right to control the use of their work,” RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth said. “Regardless, it wouldn’t apply to Mr. Tenenbaum, who admitted to illegally downloading music long after iTunes and other services emerged.”