ONCE POPULAR filesharing network Limewire has finally managed to catch a break in its fight against the music industry, winning a decision to limit any potential damages that might be awarded against it.
Record companies, including Atlantic, BMG Music, Sony BMG, Virgin and Warner Brothers are suing Limewire's parent company, Lime Group LLC, alleging copyright infringement through the sharing of recordings over Limewire. The record companies had been hoping to extract 'trillions' of dollars in damages from Lime Group and its founder, Mark Gorton.
Fortunately sanity prevailed, with US District Judge Kimba Wood ruling that the record companies deserve one award per work infringed. Previously the record companies had been gunning for one award for every time an individual Limewire user had infringed their copyrights. Judge Wood said of the claim, "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," adding that it would be an "absurd result".
Instead Judge Wood's ruling limits the potential statutory damages faced by Lime Group LLC to somewhere between $7.5 million and $1.5 billion based on $750 to $150,000 damages on around 10,000 post-1972 recordings that had allegedly been illegaly shared through the network. The record labels will also be entitled to actual damages for alleged infringement of around 1,000 pre-1972 worksm too.
Lime Group LLC recently settled a lawsuit with more than 30 music publishers, who own the copyrights to the songs involved. The lawsuits brought by music publishers and record companies went to court after Judge Wood ruled that Limewire had wrongly assisted users in sharing digital recordings, which led to Limewire shuttering its operations.
While Judge Wood imposed limits on damages, the actual figure has yet to be decided, with the trial scheduled to begin on 2 May. µ
It's the week in Google news
Erik Estrada wouldn't have stood for this
Hacks in support of WikiLeaks founder target gov websites