The RIAA (The Recording Industry Association of America) has made some extremely outrageous claims in the past when it come to making up figures, but this one truly beats them all. According to their guesstimates, they are still owed a staggering $72 Trillion (£46 trillion) by the now defunct filesharing site LimeWire, NME is reporting. (note that the article that they are linking to is from March 25, 2011)
LimeWire was famously shut down in October 2010 after a Manhattan’s Federal District Court ruling by Judge Kimba M Wood stated that LimeWire’s site’s “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” must be disabled immediately. If you go to the site now, you are greeted with the following message:
So, how did the RIAA come up with this ludicrous figure? Well, they state that given the court identified 11,000 songs that were deemed as ‘infringing’ and those songs may have been downloaded thousands of times over, that the RIAA should be compensated for each individual one. In their logic, that translates to $72 Trillion (£46 trillion). Now if you look at the approximate combined wealth of the entire planet which is estimated to be $60 Trillion (£38 trillion) then something doesn’t add up.
In this latest calculation of imaginary figures, the RIAA have yet again proved that the figures that they have lauded about in the past are equally insane, and should be ignored. The only reason that they create such numbers is so that the media will react to them, giving credence to the fight against piracy.
However, the presiding Judge in the case, Judge Wood, disagrees and has said that the music industry is entitled only to a “single statutory damage award from Defendants per work infringed” for several reasons, including one that suggests that any other decision could lead to “absurd results”. Instead, LimeWire could still be forced to pay out up to $150,000 (£95,000) per download, which could lead to damages of over $1 billion (£640 million) in total.
Federal Judge Kimba Wood noted that damages sought would amount to more than the music industry has made in its history.
How the hell are these numbers even slightly realistic? Makes you wonder who the pirates really are.
If you are interested in further reading then you should read the well-known, ‘Hargreaves Report’ and the article, ‘How Copyright Industries Con Congress’.
The Hargreaves Report
How Copyright Industries Con Congress