Great moments in damages calculation? Nope

by Walter Olson on May 27, 2012

Update: That’s what we get for posting hastily on a holiday weekend. We — and a great many other sites from CBS News to Business Insider to The Onion — took the below report seriously, but per Mike Masnick at TechDirt, it’s both outdated — Judge Kimba Wood rebuked RIAA’s damage demand as excessive, and the LimeWire case settled for a far lower amount — and more broadly questionable (while the original demands might have reached trillions, and were justly subject to ridicule on that account, the jump to $72 trillion seems to be at best someone’s subjective extrapolation).

Masnick’s story is here. What follows is the original post.

“It’s no secret that LimeWire was once a hotbed of peer-to-peer music piracy, but the RIAA has now attempted to sue it for $72 trillion – more money than exists in the world today. LimeWire was shut down in October 2010, but litigation continues from music bodies around the world…” [Ultimate Guitar]

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05.27.12 at 11:25 am


1 David Schwartz 05.27.12 at 11:33 pm

Does anyone know where this $72 trillion figure actually came from? Every source I found cites some other source for the figure.

2 gitarcarver 05.28.12 at 12:54 am

It appears the story was run without a great deal of fact checking or sourcing.

The sad thing is that it is so believable because many people think the RIAA would do just such a thing.

3 Walter Olson 05.28.12 at 1:11 am

Thanks, gitarcarver, for being the first to catch this. I’ve revised the original post accordingly.

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