Limewire Settles Out-of-Court for $105 Million

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That’s all? Limewire and the four major labels have now reached an out-of-court settlement for $105 million, according to information confirmed by the RIAA.

That includes a portion of personal liability for founder Mark Gorton, a potentially large deterrent to future entrepreneurs.  All in all, the agreed-upon damages are a far cry from the trillions (yes, trillions) originally demanded by litigating labels, an amount quickly tossed by District Court judge Kimba Wood.

The RIAA wanted blood in this fight, though the jury proceedings introduced some variables.  According to one source, that included the possibility of a sub-$10 million reward, potentially due to the RIAA‘s bullying image.  On the flip side, damages could also have reached the redialed maximum of $1.4 billion, and either side risked one of those extremes.  The result is the $105 million amount, hardly petty cash but far from the devastating level of monetary punishment the RIAA was seeking.

Regardless, RIAA chairman Mitch Bainwol expressed happiness with the “large monetary settlement” after five years of litigation.  “We are pleased to have reached a large monetary settlement following the court’s finding that both Limewire and its founder Mark Gorton are personally liable for copyright infringement,” Bainwol said. “As the court heard during the last two weeks, Limewire wreaked enormous damage on the music community, helping contribute to thousands of lost jobs and fewer opportunities for aspiring artists.”

But labels also paid in other ways: years of litigation isn’t cheap, and Bainwol himself earned millions in salary during the period.

Earlier, publishers secured an $11 million award.  Five years ago, the RIAA secured a $115 million settlement against Kazaa.