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LimeWire judge limits labels’ damages claim

By | Published on Friday 11 March 2011


The US judge overseeing the record industry’s legal assault against one time P2P kings LimeWire has limited the damages the labels can claim from the now defunct digital firm to one payment per track infringed, rather than one payment per download.

As previously reported, Judge Kimba Wood ruled that LimeWire was guilty of copyright infringement last summer and the record companies are preparing to make a multi-billion dollar damages claim in court in May. However, that claim will be significantly less than the labels had originally hoped because of Wood’s ruling on how damages claims can be calculated.

US copyright law sets out guidelines for so called statutory damages in infringement cases, with a maximum figure that can be claimed per infringement. But what does that mean? The record labels said that every time a track was illegally shared over the LimeWire network a different infringement took place. But Wood’s ruling yesterday means the labels will only be able to claim once for each song that was made available via LimeWire’s user base.

Given some tracks were shared millions of times over LimeWire over the years, the ruling will reduce the overall damages claim the labels can make considerably, though it will still probably be for significantly more than LimeWire and its founder Mark Gorton will ever realistically be able to pay.

As previously reported, the US music publishers reached an out of court settlement with LimeWire this week in relation to their separate damages claim.