On May 2nd, Sony Corp.’s Arista Records and Warner Music Group Corp.’s Atlantic Records will begin their trial against LimeWire. A New York federal judge, Kimba Wood, is allowing them to seek statutory damages on a per-song rather than a per-album basis.
The Hollywood Reporter said:
The plaintiffs have identified 9,715 sound recordings infringed on the LimeWire system. Damages could run as high as $150,000 per “work,” but Judge Wood had to figure out what constitutes a “work.”
LimeWire argued that where a record label made available a particular sound recording as part of an album, that record label should only be able to recover one statutory damage award for all the sound recordings contained on that album. Judge Wood disagreed, saying that individual tracks constitute “separate works,” even if they are issued “together as a unit.”
As a result of the ruling, the tab on LimeWire’s damages could run as high as tens, or maybe even hundreds of billions of dollars.
The above graph is from the trial brief and shows why the labels believe they deserve the damages.
The opening argument is said to go something like this:
“The evidence will demonstrate that there has been a $55 billion decline in record industry revenue over the last decade. Plaintiffs and Defendants disagree as to whether mass filesharing through peer-to-peer services has been the primary cause of this decline (Plaintiffs’ position), or just one of several causes (Defendants’ position). But even if LimeWire caused only a fraction of this decline, Plaintiffs’ damages would still be in the billions of dollars. Plaintiffs will offer evidence at trial demonstrating that far greater than a fraction of this harm was caused by LimeWire.”
What do you think? Is LimeWire and Napster to blame? Would another filesharing program have came about if they hadn’t?
Source: Hollywood Reporter