The lawsuit filed against defunct peer-to-peer sharing company LimeWire by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is not news—it was filed four years ago. That figure, however, is. And it’s completely serious. A new motion by the RIAA against LimeWire in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York claims that the company should pay up to the maximum allowed $150,000 for each download of the 11,000 songs within the RIAA’s suit.
It would be the first such time that more than one award was given for each song, and though this figure is likely to be thrown at as absurd, LimeWire still faces up to $150,000 for the 11,000 illegally distributed songs. Keep in mind the net wealth of the planet is only $60 trillion. If the judge rules the company responsible for all those claims, the damages will still reach over a billion dollars. Now that’s real money.
Where does the $72 trillion figure come from? The RIAA claims to represent a catalog of 11,000 songs. Each one of those songs was downloaded repeatedly by Limewire users. For each download of one of the 11,000 songs the RIAA defends, they issue a fine of $150,000. To make this claim accurate each song would have been downloaded over 40,000 times.
UPDATED: Reddit user xngk has dutifully pointed out that one of our sources have updated their story as bogus. We regret the error, the unfortunate result of a history of hyperbolic response from the music industry to new technologies.
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Apparently both the NME and ComputerWorld stories we cited yesterday were, in fact, inaccurate. According to Liz Kennedy, the Director Of Communications for the RIAA, the case between LimeWire and the RIAA was “already settled for $105 million last year.” We regret the mistake.