It was reported last May that now-defunct P2P file-sharing program LimeWire had settled with the Recording Industry Association of America for $105 million, though the RIAA wasn’t satisfied, and still demanded that the platform owed it $72 trillion in damages for copyright infringement. Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the ridiculous claim, which was just shy of all the money in the world.
Judge Wood rightly called the claim “absurd,” and the $72 trillion number was derived from $150,000 for each time one of 11,000 songs were downloaded. Judge Wood added that the RIAA’s request “offends the canon that we should avoid endorsing statutory interpretations that would lead to absurd results,” adding, “If Plaintiffs were able to pursue a statutory damage theory based on the number of direct infringers per work, Defendants’ damages could reach into the trillions.”
The RIAA, obviously somehow enchanted, required “more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877,” according to Kimba. It’s not clear what the all-the-money-in-the-world number might’ve signified – it’s evident that the RIAA wanted everyone to stop all the downloading. And perhaps pirated content-downloading youths might come to fear a warning of perhaps owing a “trillie” some day for their misgivings?