Federal Judge to RIAA: "You Want How Much?"Posted on by Bo Vandy (Bovandy)
URL for sharing: http://thisorth.at/1q6z
An argument can be made that companies like LimeWire are directly cutting into the profits of major record companies thanks to their free file sharing. The amount of damage that is being done is certainly up for debate, and that particular debate just took a ridiculous turn with the amount of money the record companies are now asking a federal judge to award them.
The funniest part of this fight between the RIAA and one of the bigger file sharing companies in the country is that even the federal judge is getting tired of the ridiculous claims and accusations. Judge Kimba Wood says that while the record companies won their copyright infringement case fair and square, seeking $75 trillion in damages is patently "absurd."
At issue is the interpretation of the federal copyright laws. The record companies are claiming that they should be able to recover damages for every single instance of copyright infringement that LimeWire facilitated. Since LimeWire was quite popular, those instances range into the millions; hence a dollar figure Dr. Evil would be proud of. On the other side is Judge Wood, who says that all of the copyright infringements should be grouped into one action and the damages should be awarded accordingly.
For those playing at home, $75 trillion dollars is certainly more money than what LimeWire has access to. To really put this in perspective, keep in mind that $75 trillion would pay off the United States' entire deficit five times over. To bring this particular request even more into focus, I'll use the judge's own words:
"If plaintiffs were able to pursue a statutory damage theory predicated on the number of direct infringers per work, defendants' damages could reach into the trillions," she wrote in her 14 page ruling. "As defendants note, plaintiffs are suggesting an award that is 'more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison's invention of the phonograph in 1877.'"