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The Courts Music Piracy The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

LimeWire Settles For $105 Million 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the pocket-change dept.
eldavojohn writes "LimeWire has settled its suit with the RIAA for $105 million. It's several orders of magnitude lower than the $1.5 trillion initially demanded by the RIAA, but it ends a nearly five-year legal battle. P2P networks take heed; the monster may start looking for other targets."
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LimeWire Settles For $105 Million

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  • by improfane (855034) * on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:21PM (#36119966) Journal

    There is plenty of music that is free and legally free. Find small artists that release MP3s then buy an album from them if you like enough (Edgen). Use Spotify if you can.

    Buy second hand, RIAA gets nothing. I can live without new music. If you can't control your impulses, RIAA will never die. I'm waiting for the most recent Duran Duran album to get cheaper.

    • I am all for this, actually. I feel that small time musicians should setup a "donation" page on their website through paypal or something, which allows their fans to pay them directly for music.
    • by mmcuh (1088773)
      Doesn't RIAA, or at least some of its members, own Spotify?
      • by Hultis (1969080)
        Not RIAA, but some of the large record companies do own a part of Spotify. However, they don't own even close to 51%, so they don't control it.
        • by Threni (635302)

          They probably control more than 51% of the music provided by it, however, so in that sense they DO control it.

      • by improfane (855034) *

        Don't buy premium.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        Don't think so - they certainly give a decent chunk of cash to the big labels, and apparently independent artists get somewhat screwed in comparison to the big guys (I wouldn't be especially surprised if the RIAA members are getting paid even for non-RIAA song plays), but as far as I'm aware they're an independent company.

    • by Desler (1608317) on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:27PM (#36120054)

      Yes. Have you heard about this new service called "iTunes"? I hear Apple thinks it'll be successful in a few years.

    • This is the entire POINT of DRM -- they want to make it impossible to buy music second hand. muHAHAHAHAHAHA

      /evil
      //especially when you realize this means media can't be handed down from father to son, illuminating the ages for our future generations
      • by maxume (22995)

        The two biggest music stores and most CDs are all free of DRM, you appear to be flogging something that has already begun to rot.

        • and WHY is it rotting? Flog On!
      • What DRM are you referring to?

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          In the case of music he is probably talking about the legal DRM bought by treasonous bribery that says you own NOTHING if it is digital, you are merely paying full price for a non transferable license that can be revoked at the whim of any record label at any time.

          When the simple fact that Walt Disney has been dead for longer than many here have been alive, yet his works will continue to be protected forever (Because that was Valenti's whole plan, to make copyrights "forever minus a single day") then it doe

    • ... they're not going to be starved out by people avoiding retail outlets and RIAA-affiliated publishers any time soon.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:36PM (#36120150) Journal

        I'm wondering where the hell Limewire got $100m in the first place? What part of their model made them that kind of money?

        • that's why the decision doesn't matter financially.

          business folds in the face of a laughable settlement it'll never be able to play.

          founders go on to found other, perhaps similar businesses. perhaps very similar. lemonwire, orangewire, or kiwiwire coming your way soon!

          it's all about the RIAA getting the message out that they are serious and will dropkick you right in the wallet.

        • The "criticism" section of the wikipedia article divulges some likely income streams they had. e.g. last year when they bundled the ask.com toolbar and

          Prior to April 2004, the free version of LimeWire was distributed with a bundled program called LimeShop (a variant of TopMoxie), which was spyware. Among other things, LimeShop monitored online purchases in order to redirect sales commissions to Lime Wire LLC. Uninstallation of LimeWire would not remove LimeShop.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limewire#Criticism [wikipedia.org]

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          I'm wondering where the hell Limewire got $100m in the first place? What part of their model made them that kind of money?

          Apparently, because it was a subscription service:

          records show the privately owned company generated $26 million in revenue in 2006 and sales climbed dramatically after that. During most of Lime Wire's 10-year history, Gorton was chairman, CEO, and only board member

          They also claim he's got over $100M in an IRA account.

          I never used it, so I have no idea of what the revenue source was (ads

          • During most of Lime Wire's 10-year history, Gorton was chairman, CEO, and only board member

            They also claim he's got over $100M in an IRA account.

            So... Gorton is an Irish terrorist?

        • by kokojie (915449)
          Limewire is owned by the Lime Group, which also owns hedge funds and other companies that worth billions of dollars. This is one of the reason RIAA went after Limewire, because the potential payout is huge. The $100m will be paid by Lime Group.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:34PM (#36120130)

      Why should it be my mission on Earth to try and make the RIAA die?

      I like small artists and I buy directly from the ones I know, but sometimes I open my wallet for mainstream artists. Do you seriously imagine that even a statistically significant number of people care about the RIAA, much less will actually alter their behavior to try and destroy them?

      I'm no fan of the RIAA suing little old ladies and twelve-year-olds, but all the profess musicians I know are not OK with people getting their music for free and are quite comfortable having the RIAA or anyone else go after the people who are downloading it without paying for it. What they care about, and what I'm happy to oblige them on, is cutting out the increasingly unnecessary middlemen and providing a direct line of purchase to the artist.

      When I was in college and downloading music was new, I (and everybody I knew) did it. Then we grew up and got jobs (well, most of us got jobs) and realized that it was, in fact, getting something for nothing, and that no matter how many window/front door/car analogies you make, that is usually ripping somebody else off, even if you don't call it 'stealing.'

      The fruits of other people's labors has a price - whether or not you feel like paying it. But to answer your inane question, yes, just about everybody buys music these days.

      • by improfane (855034) *

        Most of my music has been passed down to me by my family who have purchased it. That's not pirating although the RIAA would want you to think it is.

        What those artists don't realise is that the money RIAA wins never returns back to the artist.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What they care about, and what I'm happy to oblige them on, is cutting out the increasingly unnecessary middlemen and providing a direct line of purchase to the artist.

        Then you and them should be all for letting the RIAA die.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        A complete song, created entirely by one person, should be worth maybe two weeks of pay at 30 dollars per hour. If they need other people playing instruments, it should come out of that money. If you're spending more effort or money than can be recouped by those numbers, and there is no orchestra involved, you're doing something wrong.

        The vast majority of expense that goes into making music goes to instruments, studio time. These costs should not exist. Cheap instruments exist, and sound fine. Plug them in
        • How many songs have you recorded and released on line with your crappy instruments? How many of those sold well enough to support yourself?
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Sorry, but nearly everyone is downloading music for free these days. Hang around in a 5th grade schoolyard and you will hear them talking about the music they downloaded, not the music they bought.

        Very few people "woke up" about getting something for nothing and it being somehow wrong. Most of the people I know are very happy about getting something for nothing - one less thing in their lives that costs money. A lot of people seem to feel that it goes along with paying for access to the Internet - free m

        • Hang around in a 5th grade schoolyard and you will hear them talking about the music they downloaded, not the music they bought.

          Yeah because before P2P downloads children in the 5th grade age range was the bellweather of healthy music sales...

      • by TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:51PM (#36121626)
        That's BULLSHIT. You're hocking ring tones to children on locked down phones. THAT'S who you're cheering for. There is no damned reason a song deserves money when you get right down to it and it's draining money from things that would actually help the world:

        it's so easily duplicated,
        it's not a precious resource (there are decades of music, that the RIAA is obscuring)
        it's easily created from scratch

        You're saying some arbitrary imaginary dopamine rush needs to be protected with the same vigor as a piece of food that can actually feed and sustain life... oh wait, "stealing" music will get you MORE trouble then *actually* stealing food.

        pure ego, man, pure ego. GO TEAM FOSS.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        I also prefer ( and support ) the little people. The RIAA is why small artists rarely see the light of day. They don't offer enough revenue stream to be worthy.

        And god help them if they go independent, as the RIAA is out to kill that off too. Its part of why they are attacking the entire p2p concept.

        Back to your question of why: if we can kill them off it will let ALL artists bloom on their own merits and talents, not just the big buck "manufactured" artists.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aquitaine (102097)

      Accidentally posted this AC before. Reposting...

      Why should it be my mission on Earth to try and make the RIAA die?

      I like small artists and I buy directly from the ones I know, but sometimes I open my wallet for mainstream artists. Do you seriously imagine that even a statistically significant number of people care about the RIAA, much less will actually alter their behavior to try and destroy them?

      I'm no fan of the RIAA suing little old ladies and twelve-year-olds, but all the profess musicians I know are n

      • by improfane (855034) *

        I replied to your AC comment [slashdot.org].

        Of course there is a price. I'm just saying I don't agree with the price as it currently is and so I refuse to purchase it. There is no analogy there, just logic.

        I don't need new music, I am not an illogical consumer who has to buy the very next album when it comes out. A audio CD is a digital recording, it makes no difference if you buy a secondhand copy or get it passed down to you. The music is still the same. If you must have your 'mainstream music' when it comes out, fair e

      • Most of the RIAA lawsuits have been net losses, so their actions have if anything cost artists money and appear to have done very little to stop downloading, and musicians generally don't make money past their advance off of records anyway.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Lots of people care about the RIAA, want it gone, and refuse to buy music.

        Getting something for nothing isn't how it works.

        It's "getting nothing for nothing", because copying a digital file costs ya absolutely zero. you don't lose the original.

        Your lack of understanding of reality in 2011 is atrocious. There aren't many people who haven't heard of what jackasses the RIAA/MPAA are in this year. They have done more to incite sharing of movies, music, etc than anyone else could do in a lifetime. They should pa

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Desler (1608317)

          Lots of people care about the RIAA, want it gone, and refuse to buy music.

          And by "lots of people" you mean "lots of people in your niche group". How many average people in Best Buy who are buying CDs give a rats ass or even have likely ever heard of the RIAA?

          • by cdrguru (88047)

            You might not have heard about this, but some people don't have high-speed Internet connections. They really frown on using BitTorrent clients at the library.

            It is all a question of the digital haves and have-nots. The haves get free music and movies, the have-nots don't and have to buy at BestBuy and WalMart.

            • by ifrag (984323)

              They really frown on using BitTorrent clients at the library.

              Although my local library (which is actually rather small) has a fairly good size shelf of CD's. Maybe not the best selection but there was some stuff worth borrowing for an afternoon. And assuming the discs are not too scratched up, there is the benefit of lossless if so desired.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          Yeah, it costs nothing. Because of course the songwriter worked for free, the musicians worked for free, any support people (management, etc) worked for free, all the people involved were housed and fed for free, the building they recorded in was built and maintained for free, all the equipment (instruments and recording) was free, the utilities for the building were provided for free, the product was marketed for free, the hosting for distribution was provided for free, there were no taxes paid on any of

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            those costs have zero to do with the cost of distribution. Artists don't even get their fair share back from the RIAA, so acting like tehy have a fair price is a misnomer.

            The costs of creating the music are ZERO. It is creativity. The support to create music these days costs around $1000 maximum. I can record a high quality record in my basement at an equivalent quality to what people pay for instruments.

            Wake up ya shill. These costs are not astronomical or magically expensive anymore.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Nice post, but I think there is something you don't realize... Most people, when given the opportunity to get something for nothing, will do just that. If they know they can get away with it without consequences, they will steal it.

        I don't know anyone that buys music except those people that are not aware they can get it for free.

      • by spikenerd (642677) on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:58PM (#36120364)
        Downloaders are not the only ones "getting something for nothing". Content creators are granted rights far beyond those granted by nature to control copies of their works even after they distribute them. All of the laws and government-operated judicial system necessary to make this work are provided at the expense of tax-payers. In exchange for these expensive services, and for the people respecting their "rights", the content belongs to the public after a limited time ...except that those lyin' cheatin' thieves have stolen all the value from the rightful owners by lobbying to redefine "limited time" to extend so long that the public never gets anything worth value. Well, as a tax-paying citizen, I'm tired of being ripped off. I want all that content that rightfully belongs to the public domain! That's why we must fight the RIAA--they are exactly what they call us--pirates and thieves.
        • by Aquitaine (102097)

          I absolutely agree that copyright should be limited far more than it is now. But that's a problem with our political system (one of many) - declaring that you don't agree with the law is well and good but it doesn't justify taking music you haven't paid for. Because you're exactly right - that would make us no better than them.

          Any profit-making organization is going to do what it can to legally extend its profits as long as possible. It's rare to find one that will willingly sacrifice them to be 'good' (as

        • by fyoder (857358)

          You said it. Compared to the magnitude of the rip off that is copyright term extension, piracy is trivial. Copyright in its original form was a good deal for everyone, but that deal is now very much broken. Act according to your own conscience, keeping in mind that artists have to eat, and few are raking in what the top names get.

      • RIAA *is* the middleman. And they're the ones indiscriminately attacking people without sufficient proof of their guilt. Copyright infringement is a crime, and it's immoral, true. But offers for cash settlements are nothing short of blackmail and extortion.

        Regardless of anything else they do for an artist, the facts that matter to me as a consumer are: The RIAA believes that it deserves to make money [dailykos.com] on non-RIAA-members' music, they list non-member [fatwreck.com] (seventh question down) labels as members, legally attack i

        • by Aquitaine (102097)

          And they're the ones indiscriminately attacking people without sufficient proof of their guilt.

          Which is why they've lost most of their cases and flushed a lot of money down the toilet in the process.

          But offers for cash settlements are nothing short of blackmail and extortion.

          No, they're offers for cash settlements. It's very nice to think about the poor little old lady who has no idea what an mp3 is getting one of these and feeling bad for her, and yeah, in those cases, send 'em packing. But it's not 'doing business with the mob,' because the mob came by whether or not you'd done anything wrong for a protection racket. These guys are coming by because they have evidence that

      • I replied as well, reposting

        That's BULLSHIT. You're hocking ring tones to children on locked down phones. THAT'S who you're cheering for. There is no damned reason a song deserves money when you get right down to it and it's draining money from things that would actually help the world:

        it's so easily duplicated,
        it's not a precious resource (there are decades of music, that the RIAA is obscuring)
        it's easily created from scratch
        You're saying some arbitrary imaginary dopamine rush needs to be protect
    • The problem is, and always has been, studio time and advertising. Those are the only real services that a record label produces in a world with modern technology, but without them it's almost impossible for a band to go mainstream; they'll be forever stuck in a small genre or geographical niche. I think a solution to this would be to enourage all bands of any popularity level to identify a half dozen or so bands that are less well known than they are and offer their support to them. That support would ob

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem is, and always has been, studio time and advertising.

        It's getting easier and easier to record music on a shoe-string budget, and it's getting easier to promote it yourself thanks to social networking and such. If the RIAA isn't obsolete already, it's getting there fast.

      • by mmcuh (1088773)
        These days a recording studio isn't something that you need a big corporation for. Very decent studio equipment for recording rock-type music typically doesn't cost more than the instruments it records. The only thing that's really in short supply is mixing and production skill - and anyone who can write and play music can probably learn that too, it just takes time.
        • by cdrguru (88047)

          Yeah, and just yesterday I saw an ad for the "Paint like Van Gogh" online course.

          Mixing and production skills are not something you just pick up in a week or two.

          • Yeah, and just yesterday I saw an ad for the "Paint like Van Gogh" online course.

            Mixing and production skills are not something you just pick up in a week or two.

            Actually...if you hire someone to teach you they can be. You need to learn the best practices and some tricks and that's about it. It is more like learning to be a good cook than another Van Gogh.

            I know a guy who has been doing electronic music since the early 90's. He's a member of two internationally successful bands and he's the recording engineer / mixer / producer for both bands. He's been recording, mixing, and producing industrial and electronic music for about 15 years.

            This guy does consulting.

          • by mmcuh (1088773)
            And most professional producers aren't van Goghs.
    • Don't buy any more media anymore unless its second hand or download from sites like http://www.ektoplazm.com/ [ektoplazm.com]

    • Yes, I do-- there are several songs on Pandora that I liked enough to purchase off of Amazon, and one or two not available on amazon that I bought from iTunes. Guess it makes me old fashioned, but I believe that the artists-- who willingly signed on to some of these labels-- should be compensated; and its not for me to decide whether they made the right or wrong decision in choosing a label. I support the artist, so I pay for their work.

      None of that is intended to denigrate buying indy.

    • by Shippu (1888522)

      Spotify doesn't really help artists http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/ [informatio...utiful.net]

    • Not difficult to save the youtube videos into mp3s. Or just buy from gomusic.ru for $0.09 a song.

      The RIAA is just an extortionist racket. They deserve to be punished.

  • Are they going after streaming website and streamers as well? Can somebody provide good info on this? Thanks

  • Are they looking to pay off the deficit?
    • by Java Pimp (98454)

      No, but when they made that request they did so with a pinky to the corner of their mouth.

    • by Beardydog (716221)
      If we all payed for our media, there would be no deficit. Revenue would increase as the big labels create new jobs. The millions of unemployed in the US would be hired to stand in studios, sticking their arms and legs out to act as human anacoustic paneling. Those of us with exceptional talent can try our hand at realtime vocal active noise cancellation. Hint: work on your latency...
      • If we all payed[sic] for our media, there would be no deficit

        Broken window fallacy plain and simple. The money that is not spent on media is instead spent on other things. Thus there would be no difference. The music industry as a whole is making more money than ever. Even the labels are making hefty billion dollar profits. Learn some economics. :)

  • Limewire has announced a strategic partnership with L1mew1re, wherein any assetts of value of Limewire will be transferred to L1mew1re, which will maintain said assets and lease their use to Limewire.

    Limewire's company attorney, while available for comment, was unable to complete a sentence without screaming "bankruptcy, you bastards!!" randomly, mid sentence.

  • by Huntr (951770) on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:34PM (#36120136)
    According to TFA:

    Having facilitated the mass piracy of billions of songs

    So, the RIAA settled for $105 million after determining that Limewire helped people pirate "billions" of songs. Shouldn't that, then, set the value of "a" song that is shared? A conservative estimate of 2 billion songs for $105 mill is, what, about a nickel a song? Should use that value when determining damages against Jammie Thomas and anyone else.

    JM convoluted O, of course, but I'm not the one settling for relative peanuts.

    • by mckorr (1274964)
      Actually, that's kind of brilliant. I'm sure some bright lawyer for the defendant will do just that, and I wouldn't be surprised if he pulls it off.

      Now, how do we start a class action against the RIAA for price gouging by charging us 99 cents a song? They set the value, let's make them stick to it!
    • No, the 5% ($105 million) means that's what the RIAA agrees is Limewire's share of the responsibility. It's not outrageous to claim that the person who actually downloaded those songs is 95% responsible.
    • by cdrguru (88047)

      I suspect the figure was arrived at after looking at what was available and saying "OK, we'll take it all."

      Anything that the CEO didn't spend in the last few months was fair game.

    • Volume discount.
  • by slyborg (524607) on Friday May 13, 2011 @12:36PM (#36120152)

    What amazed me about this story was that Limewire had that kind of money in the first place...how did they get it?

    • The owner is allegedly worth way more than that. From the article:

      During his damages hearing last week, RIAA lawyers suggested his net worth was larger than that. They noted he possessed $100 million in an IRA account. His Manhattan home is worth more than $4 million. In addition to Lime Wire, Gorton operates a hedge fund and a medical-software company. Gorton's lawyers claimed in court that he made little money from Lime Wire. Maybe, but records show the privately owned company generated $26 million in revenue in 2006 and sales climbed dramatically after that. During most of Lime Wire's 10-year history, Gorton was chairman, CEO, and only board member.

      Disclaimer: I'm the submitter so I'm probably the only person that read the article which gives me an unfair advantage.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Doesn't matter what he's worth, American corporate law protects him from having to pay the company's debts. Look at Donald Trump. His company has gone bankrupt not once but three times (and he wants to run the country?). The only people he ever had to pay were the IRS.

      • by tukang (1209392)
        IANAL but how are they able to go after the owner's assets? Isn't the entire purpose of creating a company to protect the owner's assets by limiting the liability to the company?
  • This money get used to push internet censorship bills like COICA and Protect IP through congress, and into Obama's pocket in exchange for appointing their lawyers into powerful government regulatory positions. The RIAA has very little to do with music. It is an evil organization and currently one of the biggest threats freedom and privacy both in the US and around the globe.
    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      So the money gets recycled to pay our politicians so they don't need more money out of taxes. It's just reducing the deficit and government spending!

  • by bmo (77928)

    >Where the settlement money will go is hard to tell. In similar cases in the past, the RIAA has split up big awards with the four member labels. How much of the money goes back to the artists is unclear

    OH! CAN I MAKE A GUESS? HUH? CAN I? PLEASE? PLEASE LET ME TAKE A GUESS?

    HOW ABOUT ZERO? DOES THAT SOUND ABOUT RIGHT? HOW DID I DO?

    --
    BMO

  • This $105M recouped from piracy will come in handy!
    Oh, wait...

  • by roadsider (970039) on Friday May 13, 2011 @01:17PM (#36120620) Homepage

    I acquired more music using Maxell cassette tapes than I ever did with any p2p software. In any given college dorm pre-internet era, you spent a good chunk of your available time taping floor-mate's records. After all, why else would you buy a 90 minute chromium oxide cassette if not to record two 43-minute LPs? On the equipment I used at the time, you couldn't tell the difference in quality, so why doesn't/didn't the RIAA go after Maxell, TDK, Memorex and the other manufacturers of high quality cassettes?

    Limewire didn't kill the music industry. The music industry killed the music industry.

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      Precisely. I did the same thing when I was at university, plus of course I recorded songs off the radio prior to that.
      Like it or not, music listeners have always wanted to shift their music (I buy an album and record it to tape for the car etc) into the most convenient formats for their needs, and a certain amount has always been shared. Honestly I doubt i ever taped someone else's copy of an album that I would have bought otherwise. Buying music has never been a big thing for me. I think I have a total of

  • So they went from 1,500,000 million to 105 million USD, or 0.007% of the original demand. Why so generous, RIAA?

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