RIAA Loses Its Mind, Sues Limewire for Astronomical $72 Trillion
We all know that illegal downloading is a major problem for the music industry, and that the RIAA has spent more than a decade attempting to curve a widespread problem, often asking for amounts of money that seem outrageous in relation to the actual number of illegal files downloaded – but when Forbes reported yesterday that the RIAA was claiming they were owed $72 trillion in damages from filesharing site Limewire, it seemed that the organization had out done even itself.
And no, that is not a typo – it was trillion. Now it appears that the RIAA never actually asked for that specific number, though they did imply in the case that damages could have equaled that preposterous amount of money. And just how preposterous is it? Let’s take a look.
$72 trillion is more than the value of every single thing produced throughout the world in a single year – that’s the entire output of 7 billion people. The number would also equate to more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph back in 1877.
But as the RIAA says in response to the claim, “We never sought a specific amount from Limewire, and to say that we did is inaccurate.”
Technically they are correct, in that they never did ask for a specific number, though how reports arrived at the number has basis. When the RIAA went after Limewire, they suggested that every single illegal download should be subject to statutory damages, each of which could reach up to $150,000. And though the RIAA did state that total damages could reach into the trillions, it was someone somewhere along the line that did some math and reached the $72 trillion number. When the original claim was filed, a judge understandably threw it out, stating that, “Plaintiffs (the RIAA) are suggesting an award that is more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.” The judge called this an “absurd result.”