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Limewire Being Sued For 75 Trillion

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-zeros dept.

Music 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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545 comments

Yeah.... (4, Funny)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 3 years ago | (#35590816)

I'm sure that stone will start producing blood any time now. Lots and lots of blood.

Some perspective (5, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 3 years ago | (#35590958)

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:Some perspective (1)

Toe, The (545098) | about 3 years ago | (#35591178)

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

The law says that's the amount (5, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#35591340)

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. .

Re:Some perspective (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35591218)

More accurately, it's about $750,000 per tax-payer in the USA. And ridiculously more when you break down the people who only pay a small percentage of the taxes.

A bundle of $100 bills totaling 75 trillion bucks would weigh 10,000 tons (20 million pounds). It would be what you see in the linked photo below (notice the human for size comparison, in the very left bottom corner) . . . MULTIPLIED BY 75 MORE PILES HIGH.

http://media.mercola.com/imageserver/public/2009/March/pallet_x_10000.jpg [mercola.com]

75 trillion (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35590822)

TROLOLOOLOLOL.

Re:75 trillion (4, Interesting)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 3 years ago | (#35590946)

and out of curiousity what is the current combined GDP of every country on the planet? I am fairly sure it would be less than this.

I guess they will never be truely satified with their revenue stream until every last penny, yen, euro, etc is in their infinite pockets.

Re:75 trillion (5, Informative)

adonoman (624929) | about 3 years ago | (#35591062)

According to Google [google.com] it's $58 trillion. So yes.

Re:75 trillion (1, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 3 years ago | (#35591084)

*facepalming so hard, I might push through my face*

Re:75 trillion (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 3 years ago | (#35591214)

Stop being so pessimistic. This is a very good thing if you look at it from a different perspective: "RIAA doubled mankind's GDP with a single lawsuit"

Re:75 trillion (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#35591208)

Good. Nothing I've seen more fully demonstrates the ludicrous nature of the damages that the media industry is seeking. Surely now a clear argument can be made that these damages violate the Eighth Amendment.

Re:75 trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591284)

Just imagine what our GDP would have been where it not for Limewire and its ilks...

Re:75 trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591102)

Wikipedia much?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_GDP

The combined GDP of the entire world, in 2000, was about 41 trillion :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

These days it seems to be around 58-62 trillion (so much for the "global" financial crisis!)

Re:75 trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591272)

58 trillion USD. the us only makes 14 tril

maybe they'll settle (5, Funny)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 3 years ago | (#35590830)

for only 40 Trillion

Re:maybe they'll settle (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 3 years ago | (#35590902)

Then, out of the goodness of their hearts, the RIAA will use that money to pay the national debt.

Re:maybe they'll settle (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35591040)

With 75 trillion, they could pay off the national debt five times over.

Re:maybe they'll settle (1)

smbarbour (893880) | about 3 years ago | (#35591336)

Strangely... I almost feel like rooting for the RIAA on this one... a 75 trillion dollar payout would be a helluva lot of tax income. If only 10% of it were taken in taxes, it would pay off half the national debt. 20% and it's fully paid, with a few 100 billion to spare.

The penalty for an excessive lawsuit should be = (4, Interesting)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 3 years ago | (#35591130)

The penalty for an excessive lawsuit should be >= the difference between the claimed damage and the actual damage.

In my dream-world legal system the court would rule that "yes, limewire contributed to some copying, so they owe the record companies $50K or so in actual lost sales --- but the record industry should be fined $75-trillion-minus-that-$50K for wasting taxpayer money having the justice-system hear that absurd suit."

PR Stunt (5, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | about 3 years ago | (#35590834)

They're just trying to show the public how much "lost revenues" "pirating" has cost them.

Re:PR Stunt (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 3 years ago | (#35590938)

Didn't seem to bother them when they "pirated" artists works for Greatest Hits CDs, and then never paid the royalties. They Canadian record companies owe trillions of dollars.

A case of "Laws don't apply to we, but they apply to thee." Double standard. Class system.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | about 3 years ago | (#35590942)

Can't really say that as their "lost revenues" is more "revenues" then they have gotten since the history of radio began... I say throw it out...

Re:PR Stunt (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#35591056)

Actually, you raise an interesting point.... That number pretty much throws that "one download equals one lost sale" thing out the window.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 3 years ago | (#35591106)

This always cracks me up, I mean what's wrong with people spending their money on things other than music?

Is this idea so outside of the RIAA that they cannot acknowledge that just because money isn't spent on music, it might be spent on tickets, or music downloads, or other things within the economy?

Re:PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591354)

While your comment isn't MORE nonsensical then this lawsuit, it still has no basis in reality. What does that even mean, "just because money isn't spent on music, it might be spent on...other things in the economy"?

I hate the RIAA as much as the next fellow, but people need to be paid for things they produce. To suggest that media companies want to divert money "from being spent within the economy" for their evil purposes is...not just asinine, but weird.

Stop making up ridiculous claims against the RIAA. They do enough work themselves to be insane, you don't need to exaggerate it.

Re:PR Stunt (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#35591302)

The public is dumb. I agree. The average person is dumb and 50% of the people are even dumber. I give you that. But I doubt anyone is SO dumb to actually believe that the damage of all copying combined (not just on limewire, but WORLDWIDE, on ALL possible or impossible venues) is TWICE that of the GDP of the WORLD.

$75 Trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35590840)

I wonder where all those existing money are right now? Surely not in my pocket.

Re:$75 Trillion (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35591282)

That amount of money doesn't physically exist. According to this [visualeconomics.com], there is something like $650 to $800 billion dollars in circulation in America at any one time. So this guy would some how have to get his hands on almost 150 times the current cash in physical circulation.

Just highlights to absurdity of these cases (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Just highlights to absurdity of these cases (3, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#35590970)

...making the absurd assumption that everyone who hosts a song on a P2P network is somehow costing them ...

No. Damages are not awarded based on what it *costs* the RIAA and media companies. This isn't a contract case (which would be closer to that model). This is based on a statutory damage award, where the statutory damages are hugely inflated. The theoretical reason they are inflated is to discourage people from pirating, and to make it worthwhile to enforce copyrights. Obviously those rationales don't apply when you're dealing with limewire to the extent they do when dealing with an individual defendant--as a result, the statute is ridiculous in this case. Unfortunately, there isn't a constitutional provision that laws have to make sense. It would be an interesting argument that money damages this high constitute "cruel and unusual punishment" of a corporation, but almost certainly wouldn't actually get you anywhere.

Re:Just highlights to absurdity of these cases (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#35591262)

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.

Re:Just highlights to absurdity of these cases (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 3 years ago | (#35591032)

>>>as if everyone who downloads a pirated song would have run out to buy the CD otherwise

Precisely. I certainly don't buy songs; why should I, when the music is available 24/7 on youtube or pandora? Nowadays the only music I buy is on Greatest Hits CDs (because you get ~20 songs for less than a dollar each).

The real thing harming music companies (and radio) is the internet and the fact you can access almost anything at anytime you desire. Maybe they should try suing that. (LOL)

Re:Just highlights to absurdity of these cases (3, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | about 3 years ago | (#35591200)

The real thing harming music companies (and radio) is the internet and the fact you can access almost anything at anytime you desire. Maybe they should try suing that. (LOL)

Obviously they have no grip on reality, so please stop giving them additional stupid ideas. If they think suing Limewire for $75 trillion is rational, obviously the internet, as a whole, must be worth exponentially more money. When this happens and they shut down the internet, I'm blaming YOU.

the court should reply: (5, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 years ago | (#35590846)

There aren't seventy five trillion dollars. Now go away until you have a reasonable grievance.

No no no ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35590956)

they just want break record ... no wait, set _a_ record, that's it :P

Re:the court should reply: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591080)

Problem is, they will sue anybody and then try to force the defendant to prove he/she didn't download or pirate copyrighted material. I guess it's easier to profit by suing with more or better lawyers than it is by pricing content more reasonably. The arguments of lost profits would hold only if the real offenders would buy legit copies. That's idiotic. They never would, at least not at current prices -- that's why they're acquiring the bootlegs. Lower prices wouldn't end piracy, but the industry might make up for lower margins with higher volumes.

Re:the court should reply: (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | about 3 years ago | (#35591120)

Actually there is something like $500 trillion in wealth in the world.

Re:the court should reply: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591222)

I'm thinking that company does not have 15% of the worlds wealth...

Collections Agency (1)

smist08 (1059006) | about 3 years ago | (#35590854)

Good luck collecting that. Wonder if a collections agency would take the job?

Re:Collections Agency (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 3 years ago | (#35591290)

If they thought they could get 1% upfront as a security fee, I'm sure there are lots of collection agencies who would love that job.

Re:Collections Agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591346)

Good luck collecting that. Wonder if a collections agency would take the job?

I'd take the job, but would demand my 1% commission in advance

Wow... what an honor (2)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#35590866)

It's almost a compliment for a tiny software company to be sued for that amount. No matter what the result, the authors will become part of history. That's practically the budget of a country.

It is how much they think they would have made... (1)

aapold (753705) | about 3 years ago | (#35590870)

if it weren't for people making illegal copies of wax cylinders on day 2...

All your money are belong to us. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 3 years ago | (#35590874)

Your logic that $75 trillion is more than the entire music industry has made in recorded history is irrelevant, we are the MAFIAA, you will submit to our will.

How is Limewire responsible? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 3 years ago | (#35590888)

All they did was provide the software. Just as a telephone company provided the wire (back then dialup was still popular). Should companies be able to sue the phone company? No. Then neither should they be able to sue limewire, or microsoft, or any other person's software that enabled song downloading/copying/burning to CD.

75 Trillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35590892)

An industry that is worth less than $2 Trillion is suing for $75 Trillion?!?!

What did they use to bribe the legislature? Cocain, blowjobs, cash?

A fucking harem of concubines??

I hope that our elected corporate prostitutes got a good bribe for these crazy laws,

I'll go ahead and cover this one. (4, Funny)

FSWKU (551325) | about 3 years ago | (#35590898)

I assume THIS [wikimedia.org] will suffice for payment? I do, however, expect them to return the proper amount of change to me. If they are not able to handle denominations this large, then I will assume the debt to be null and void as it has been proven the funds are available, but they are refusing to take the money.

More than the entire worlds gnp? (1)

vawwyakr (1992390) | about 3 years ago | (#35590920)

I don't think they could ever be paid the amount asked for even if they won and the total amount is awarded. Maybe Limewire could hand over a few countries as a down payment.

There should be a winner takes all scheme to this (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 years ago | (#35590924)

Frivolous damage claims should be punishable by a payment of 10% of the claims to the defendant. That'd put a stop to this shit at once.

Is That More Than a Brazillion? (5, Funny)

theodp (442580) | about 3 years ago | (#35590928)

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed." "OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!" His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands. Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Re:Is That More Than a Brazillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591016)

Donald Rumsfeld isn't an advisor to Pres. Obama. You're at least 2 years too late with the joke.

Re:Is That More Than a Brazillion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591280)

He was the secretary of defense until December of 2006. So he is actually more than 4 years too late.

April already? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#35590932)

At first I thought this was an early April Fool's joke.

And for some reason, I read "75 trillion dollars!" in Dr. Evil's voice.

I don't know if my math is correct, but... (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 3 years ago | (#35590948)

Does that mean they really think that, were it not for LimeWire, each and every person on Earth would buy 625 albuns more than they currently have, at about 20 bucks each? It amounts to about 75 trillion.

Greater than the GDP of the world. (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about 3 years ago | (#35590950)

Re:Greater than the GDP of the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591068)

Trillion, not billion. Still a valid point.

Re:Greater than the GDP of the world. (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 years ago | (#35591072)

Your link says trillion, not billion. Or is this that whole UK thing where they use a different definition of billion then the rest of the world?

Re:Greater than the GDP of the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591238)

The Brits use a Queen's Billion, whereas we use an Imperial Billion.

Re:Greater than the GDP of the world. (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 3 years ago | (#35591338)

Yes.

While the US billion is a thousand million, the UK billion is a million million. In the US, a million million is a trillion.

generally we use the same as everybody else now (2)

fantomas (94850) | about 3 years ago | (#35591366)

Over here in the UK we've pretty well shifted over to the same billion as everybody else, 10^9 rather than 10^12. Now if you (and Liberia, and Burma) would hurry up and shift over to metric measurements like the rest of us, all would be good.

How else? (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | about 3 years ago | (#35590978)

Ummm.. How else will big record labels stay in business? If people will not buy CD's because the prices are too expensive... But they can't lower prices because they want to make X dollars per CD sold (non-negotiable)... then they need to find alternate sources of income

Lawsuits are the next best source...

Personally, I'm sticking to "Radio" like sources.. Pandora for instance... and going with Creative Commons music

I Have not seen a band in ages that I liked enough to buy their CD's unless they were far out of date and on sale for $5

just got paid, still feeling empty, almost dead? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35590990)

you're not alone?

fortunately, babys rule. the more the better. they know stuff too. that's so simple. so simple as to extract the pee out of the nazi mutant eugenatics 'math', which quite possibly helps the rulers' gregorian 'calender' (took almost 6
months to author), abstracting (an attempt) our time itself? is that whack
or what? ascared? how would we know (anything else?)?

so, we'll then expect to see you at any one of the million babys+
play-dates, conscience arisings, georgia stone editing(s), & a host of
other life promoting/loving events. guaranteed to activate all of our
sense(s) at once. perhaps you have seen our list of pure intentions for
you /us, beginning with disarmament?

Freedom has been sold to the highest bidder (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 3 years ago | (#35591036)

And that, my friends, is why the damage amounts set by the Copyright Act amount to cruel and unusual punishment. If $75 trillion is many orders of magnitude too high for X millions of infringements, then $75 trillion / (X millions) is many orders of magnitude too high for a single infringement.

This isn't the RIAA - this is US Congress (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 years ago | (#35591086)

Stop blaming the RIAA for this stupidity. The law lists a fixed amount of statutory damage per infringement. So their calculations are correct. Even though the RIAA lobbied for these stupid laws, the ultimate blame lies with the "representatives" who voted for it.

I would just love one of these Senators, or their family members, to get hit with one of these lawsuits. As long as they are above the law they can pass this crud without fear.

Strip the Attorney's status (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591094)

It would be nice if Attorney's could instantly be stripped, for life, of their ability to practice law in cases like this. We need to make more examples of the legal staff for horseshit like this.

Make a deal with the devil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591108)

I am sure they would settle for the souls of the "thousands" of users limewire had.

That's pocket change! (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | about 3 years ago | (#35591118)

If they were really serious, they would have sued for one-hundred and eleventy-three kajillion dollars and 37 cents. The 37 cents would be there to show that they weren't just estimating.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591124)

'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.'

Finally someone is getting some sense. I understand a penalty for infringement, I just never understood the numbers they asked for. The total wouldn't of sounded as stupid if they would of sued individually.

after their lawyers take their cut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591126)

There will be enough left over from the proceeds to throw themselves a nice party.

Who said Millions of instances? (1)

Pitawg (85077) | about 3 years ago | (#35591160)

Who says there was more than one instance per file?

All but the first distribution are copies of an unlicensed non-copyrighted illegal file. They cannot go after you for copying a third party files!! heh.

Alternative payment (1)

D6072B01 (903113) | about 3 years ago | (#35591166)

If convicted they should pay up in pennies and deliver the whole 17 500 000 000 tonnes worth of alloy on their doorstep. Roughly 52 500 000 000 in Volkswagens, or a few dozen Libraries of Congress.

Just goes to show (1)

McTickles (1812316) | about 3 years ago | (#35591184)

That media corporations have completely lost touch with reality.
Why should we pity them when they pull this sort of stunt every other day in the name of their falled business?

the argument (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | about 3 years ago | (#35591196)

I hope this will force people to look more carefully at the argument the industry has been trying to use and maybe people will realize that one download does not equal one lost music sale. does anyone know the specifics on a counter suit for frivolous lawsuits? seems to me that is is apparent that everyone knows some of the facts and conjectures are false, but they sued anyway knowing full well they didnt lose the amount of cash they claimed.

Sure go a head (1)

McNihil (612243) | about 3 years ago | (#35591248)

I actually hope they win because it will show how massively out of touch everybody is in regards to the value of money.

Today's $75 Trillion is tomorrows chump change. Let the hyperinflation come fast and swift and redistribute all value properly.

Obligatory Dr Evil (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#35591258)

RIAA boss: We'll hold Limewire ransom for ... ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Number 2: Ah-hem ... Don't you think we should ask for *more* than a million dollars? A million dollars isn't exactly a lot of money these days. Why, EMI's music division alone makes over 75 million dollars a year.
RIAA boss: Ok then, we'll hold Limewire ransom for ... SEVENTY-FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS!

This is pretty funnt (2)

Stregano (1285764) | about 3 years ago | (#35591274)

They might as well have asked for a gazillion, billion, dollars, as they would have just as much of a chance getting that

Cheaper by the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591312)

Everyone knows you get a discount for buying in bulk. er, buying?

Dear Record Companies : (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35591344)

I have used LimeWire to download billions of mp3 files.

Sue me.

Yours In Tripoli,
Kilgore Trout

What a joke (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 3 years ago | (#35591358)

I would say that this completely and unabashedly exposes just how big the MAFIAA douchebags are (a 75 trillion gallon douchebag, all combined), but this is far from being news.

I stopped buying music years ago, except directly from artists who are not under contract to give ANY of the money I pay them to those rackets.

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