Record companies have won a summary judgment against the file sharing site Lime Wire for secondary copyright infringement, and they have sought multiple damages per song for each of the 11,000 songs downloaded from the site. Their requested multiple damages have been denied by Judge Kimba Wood, whose opinion states:  “The Court agrees that allowing Plaintiffs to recover multiple awards per work based on the numbers of direct infringers is untenable. The Court thus finds that Plaintiffs are entitled to a single statutory damage award from Defendants per work infringed, regardless of how many individual users directly infringed that particular work.”

As has pointed out, the multiple damages per song downloaded could reach a total of $75 trillion.  Judge Wood called the resulting  “absurd,” and noted the amount is “‘more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.”  A story in PC notes that $75 trillion is greater than the combined GDP of all countries on earth.

Judge Wood’s Opinion. March 10, 2011.

Victor Li for “Manhattan Federal Judge Kimba Wood Calls Record Companies’ Request for $75 Trillion in Damages ‘Absurd’ in Lime Wire Copyright Case.” March 15, 2011.

Jaikumar Vijayan for Computer World. “RIAA request for trillions in LimeWire copyright case is ‘absurd,’ judge says.” March 25, 2011.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal for PC World. “RIAA Thinks LimeWire Owes $75 Trillion in Damages.” March 26, 2011.