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Music Piracy The Courts

Limewire Being Sued For 75 Trillion 545

DarthVain writes "13 record companies are trying to sue Limewire for $75 Trillion. The NYC judge in the case thinks it is 'absurd'. Its almost like these media companies are their worst enemy trying to make themselves look ridiculous. From the article: "The record companies, which had demanded damages ranging from $400 billion to $75 trillion, had argued that Section 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Act provided for damages for each instance of infringement where two or more parties were liable. For a popular site like Lime Wire, which had thousands of users and millions of downloads, Wood held that the damage award would be staggering under this interpretation. '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. '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.'"
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Limewire Being Sued For 75 Trillion

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @03:45PM (#35590842)

    In many of these cases, the RIAA and media companies making the absurd assumption that everyone who hosts a song on a P2P network is somehow costing them tens of thousands of $ in CD sales, as if everyone who downloads a pirated song would have run out to buy the CD otherwise (leading to a scenario where someone who downloads 10 songs from the same CD would have logically bought ten copies of the same CD, if only for those darned pirates). Following that logic out, if it weren't for the pirates, the music industry would be the largest and richest entity in the world--with revenues bigger than that of the U.S. government.

  • This is good (Score:5, Informative)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @03:47PM (#35590864)

    Because it does highlight the absurdity of the statutory damages for copyright infringement.

  • Some perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @03:53PM (#35590958) Journal
    Putting this figure into context, $75 trillion is about $250000 per person in the USA. If the rest of the world wants to shoulder its share, it becomes a mere $12000 per person over the entire planet.
  • Re:75 trillion (Score:5, Informative)

    by adonoman ( 624929 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @03:58PM (#35591062)
    According to Google [google.com] it's $58 trillion. So yes.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @04:10PM (#35591262) Journal

    There is, however, a Constitutional amendment that deals with statutes that create absurd hardships... Strikes me that the time is ripe for an Eighth Amendment challenge. If you statutory damages can create a situation in which a complainant can receive payment in excess of the total dollar value of the world economy, I think even the more "business-friendly" Supreme Court Justices can probably connect the dots.

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @04:39PM (#35591662)

    To be fair. wealth and GDP are not the same.

    The only figures I have are for 2005, but the UK had worth of 5.8 trillion pounds (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/value-of-uk-plc-rises-to-163100000-for-each-man-woman-and-child-500266.html), with a GDP of 1.2 trillion, giving a roughly factor of 5 difference. Assuming that ratio roughly holds for 2010/2011 and to other countries, the total net worth of the world is about 300 trillion dollars (nominal but I'm not sure on PPP it would be much different).

    It's not like they are claiming damages for just one year, so we probably shouldn't claim total economic output for just one year.

    I mean, obviously the music business is worth nearly 1/4 of everything on the planet, food, cars, TV's aircraft, computers, houses, and limewire must have scurried away all that money. Put another way, the total inhabited land area of the planet is 150 million square kilometres, so the music business is worth approximatedly 1/4 of that, which is the total area of russia, the USA and china combined.

  • by frosty_tsm ( 933163 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @05:04PM (#35591988)

    And you don't think that some crappy mp3s of Michael Jackson are worth every penny that?!?

    The scariest (or most interesting) part of this is that it's not so much that the lawyers said so, but the law itself says that is the amount. So if anyone is wrong here, it's the law. The plaintiff is indeed simply asking for the damage amounts based on what is described in the law at the proper calcuation method. .

    I believe that law was written back when copy-write offenders were guys with tables on the street selling bootleg VHS tapes; back when "piracy" was for profit.

  • Re:Some perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @05:37PM (#35592324)

    To add more fun statistical context, the CIA World Factbook tells me that Planet Earth's entire money supply coincidentally equals (at the broadest estimate) $75.86 trillion.

    So, the music industry is basically asking Limewire for all of Earth's money. I hope their lawsuit is backed up by a frickin' "laser" on the moon.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell