Record Labels Request $75 Trillion in Damages from Limewire

Paul Lilly

Our apologies if you just sprayed your monitor with Starbucks and spit. That was our reaction too, once we learned that this wasn't an April Fool's prank, but an actual number record labels came up with when asked to estimate the damages Limewire should be held liable for. Their answer was $400 billion on the conservative side, and as much as $75 trillion on the high end. What did Manhattan federal district court judge Kimba Wood have to say about these numbers?

Wood called the figures "absurd" and "untenable," while further pointing out that "if plaintiffs were able to pursue a statutory damage theory predicated on the number of direct infringes per work, defendants' damages could reach into the trillions. 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.'"

As CrunchGear points out, it's also more than the entire world's GDP, yet record labels had the audacity to ask for it anyway.

"We were pleased that the judge followed both the law and the logic in reaching the conclusion that she did," said Limewire's attorney, Joseph Baio of Willkie Farr & Gallagher. "As the judge said in her opinion, when the copyright law was initiated, legislatures couldn't possibly conceive of what the world would become with the Internet. As such, you couldn't use legislative history. Instead, the overarching issue is reasonableness in order to avoid absurd and possibly unconstitutional outcome."

Kudos to Wood for effectively calling the record labels out.

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