“75 Trillion Dollars…Bwhahahahah!”

Does $75 trillion even exist? The thirteen record companies that are suing file-sharing company Lime Wire for copyright infringement certainly thought so. When they won a summary judgment ruling last May they demanded damages that could reach this mind-boggling amount, which is more than five times the national debt.

Manhattan federal district court judge Kimba Wood, however, saw things differently. She labeled the record companies’ damages request “absurd” and contrary to copyright laws in a 14-page opinion. 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.’”

While Wood conceded that the question of statutory interpretation was “an especially close question,” she concluded that damages should be limited to one damage award per work. Glenn Pomerantz of Munger, Tolles & Olson, who represented 13 record company plaintiffs, did not return requests for comment.




  1. ThoseLosers says:

    Did they fail 3rd grade math, or basic logic 101?

    It looks like the record companies have the same people computing “damages” as have put together their recent winning business strategies.

  2. Nobody says:

    Damages for each infringement could catch on.
    A cellphone puts out 100mW so at $100 per photon somebody using a cell phone while driving could be fined $1.5 x10^25 per second

  3. Bob73 says:

    Sounds about right for the record companies. Sure glad I bought all my CDs back when they were still producing good music.

  4. ECA says:

    I thought this was settled..??

    http://techdirt.com/articles/20110308/17022113407/music-publishers-settle-with-limewire-afraid-to-have-to-prove-they-actually-owned-copyrights-question.shtml

    I guess they didnt like the settlement..

    the movie/music business wishes to sell EVERY person on the planet, 1 ticket/purchase of every item they make. and they base ALL pirating on THAT basis for estimates on LOSS.

    So when you see the profits for a released movie…800,000,000..subtract that from 5bln people at $10 each. which means the movie LOST money.

  5. Dallas says:

    Pay up in quarters, please

  6. Milo says:

    Did they let the candle makers do this when the light bulb was invented?
    Did Beethoven need copyright or Fleming need a patent?
    Do we get a refund for all of the sampled music that does not have to be created?
    Insert many more arguments here…

  7. bobbo, the law is an ass, but often the only ride in town says:

    Good activist judge. The WHOLE POINT of statutory damages is that they are unrelated to the real damages if there were any damages to begin with!!!

    And its rather sad that the same ratio is applied all the time when you are charged with downloading only 12 songs. There goes the kiddies college fund.

    I used to d/l all kinds of stuff I would NEVER have bought so I spent my $$ on Sony blank dvd’s rather than recorded ones. Always thought it was “unfair” I could be held liable when I was spending money. Be happy to pay for “special” dvd’s ((now harddrives?) to pay the devil but it would have to be .003/song and they make it up on volume.

    The other model of course makes a lot of sense: NO COPYRIGHT and the only one that makes money is the artist by having concerts. Get rid of most of the “pop-crap” that fills the radio.

  8. Shane says:

    Let them take their judgment. They will never collect it.

  9. Quick Change says:

    Whoa! The picture changed before my very eyes! Where’a Austin Dr. Evil?

  10. KD Martin says:

    Screw ‘em. The garbage some call music today is worth exactly what most pay for it — $0.00.

    I still occasionally buy albums, you know, those big disk like things made of plastic? The real gripe is how much a good turntable costs these days.

  11. soundwash says:

    Does $75 trillion even exist?

    -apparently, he’s ignorant of the $250+ quadrillion derivatives market.

    Kudos to the judge.

    -s

    afterthought:

    if 70cents of the standard issue 99cent song download goes to the record companies. the max claim per song should be 70cents. Since they fudged the numbers and lied to congress about the piracy numbers in order to get congress to pass all this BS.. (claiming 45% losses to piracy when after the fact, (and bill passage) they admitted to “a maths mistake” and said it was 10% to 15%) ..their max claim should be lowered to 10cents per song, of which HALF should go the artists.

    Personally, i think they should be bared from making anymore claims after 2009, because they lied in the first place, but thats just me..

    -s

  12. raster says:

    That picture of Dr. Evil was classic!

    I suddenly had a picture of an RIAA staff meeting where Dr. Evil says “we’re suing them for … 75 TRILLION DOLLARS!” and looking around expecting everyone to burst out laughing, and instead seeing them nodding approvingly.

  13. msbpodcast says:

    The lawyers and accountants don’t see the humor.

    They really don’t see what’s so funny.

    Pathetic wretches…

  14. John E. Quantum says:

    I think I’ve said this before…

    http://tinyurl.com/2ckrm4

  15. Kazaa Lite says:

    Fantasy island
    These people are living in planet Pluto
    But then again perhaps they got away with it so long
    But then again so was the Tarp program and the money stolen

  16. sargasso_c says:

    I’m all for copyright and the defence of private intellectual property but this is totally ridiculous. These artists sang into microphones, they weren’t secretly taped singing in the shower.

  17. eca says:

    NONE of the money will go to the artist…
    They already were paid..

    THATS THEIR COMMENT../

  18. t0llyb0ng says:

    RIAA had the CD market all to themselves but they managed to price themselves out of it by decreeing that a CD costs $15. But real-world economics 101 doesn’t work that way. The price of a good in the marketplace floats around, up & down, approximately where the supply & demand curves intersect. Less demand means the price needs to come down or you won’t sell the units any more. What a CD is really worth is around $4—probably less than that. If they were selling ‘em for that, they could still be selling ‘em by the boatload. But now CD’s are pretty much dead & look who killed ‘em.

  19. Animby - just phoning it in says:

    Can you see the lawyers after court, sleeves rolled up, licking the point of their pencils, hunched over their desks in a pool of light from green shaded lamps: “Let’s see, our 30% of $75,000,000,000,000 comes to … hey! I can buy a yacht bigger than Paul Allen’s!!!”

    Answer me this: If I download the latest Lady Gaga gig, gag and hit the delete button. have I pirated anything? If so, then I am a bad, bad pirate because there’s a boatload of bad bad music being produced.

  20. ECA says:

    #18,
    pROBLEM WAS THEY GOT used TO INFLATED PRICES AND forgot THE BASICS OF CAPITALISM.

  21. Glenn E. says:

    “You want $75 Trillion in damages, record companies?” “Ok, but first you must pay $10 Trillion up front in Court costs.” “And then federal and state taxes, on the $75T.” “You must pay these fees and taxes NOW!” “You can delay or defer them, until you start getting some portion of the Damage claim.”

    That should shut them up for a while.

  22. OvenMaster says:

    First the RIAA put Limewire out of business. Now they want blood from a stone. And you can bet not one dime would go to any of the artists.

    The RIAA and their lawyer pool from Hell is nothing but a collection of the greediest, most conniving and corrupt sons of bitches I’ve ever seen in my life, worse than even Congress.

  23. JimD says:

    But NOT MORE MONEY THAT THE “MUSIC BIZ” HAS PISSED AWAY ON COKE !!!

  24. MikeN says:

    In line with how the left thinks about the budget.