In a decision powerful enough to send ripples through space-time, affecting people in a past so distant that they still care, a New York federal court has found LimeWire parent company Lime Media liable for copyright infringement. RIAA representatives have expressed hope that the decision will put an end to the rampant theft of Brian Wilson’s SMiLE and Franz Ferdinand’s self-titled debut. Reached for comment, LimeWire founder Mark Gorton remarked, “Who the fuck still uses LimeWire?”
Hilarious digs at moderately-outdated software aside, the ruling could have serious effects on future file-sharing lawsuits in the US. Perhaps the most important part of Judge Kimba Wood’s decision is the statement, “The evidence demonstrates that [Lime Wire] optimized LimeWire’s features to ensure that users can download digital recordings, the majority of which are protected by copyright…” From now on, if you want to release any software in the US that allows users to share information, you had better make damn sure that that software is such a piece of shit that no one can figure out how to use it to break the law.
The RIAA intends to collect the maximum compensation of $150,000 for each work infringed upon, a fee that is sadly greater than the amount many of the artists were paid to create the works in question. As the number of potentially-claimed infringements is in the millions, the total statutory damages could range from the hundred-trillions to the quadrillions. Lime Media is expected to strongly oppose the ruling at their upcoming June 1 status conference with Judge Wood — or pay off the fine in increments of $500,000 a year for the next 2 million years. There is, of course, a chance that this fee will be decreased to a more affordable package or avoided indefinitely. After all, the owners of Oink’s Pink Palace got away with a £500 fine and 330 hours of community service, and it was years before the Swedish government finally shot one of those pesky Pirate Bay boys.
• Limewire: http://www.limewire.com