Practical Technology

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Socking it to the guilty: Billion dollar fine for LimeWire, $75-million for BP’s oil spill


f the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) gets its way, the file-sharing company LimeWire will get blasted out of existence with a billion dollar fine. Meanwhile, British Petroleum, with its oil spill, that’s on its way to the ecology disaster level of a Chernobyl, is liable for up to $75-million under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. What’s wrong with this picture?

That’s a best case estimate. The RIAA actually thinks LimeWire owes them $1.5 trillion.. They came up with that number on a fine of $750 dollars per copyright infringement multiplied by 200 million estimated occurrences of copyright infringement. Aren’t you sorry now that you didn’t just buy Barnes & Barnes’ Fish Heads from the iTunes Store for 99 cents?

Of course, BP may yet end up getting sued to death as well, but I think we can all agree that BP’s ‘mis-steps’ were just a wee bit bigger than LimeWire’s enabling users to share music files. So, why is LimeWire the one getting knocked about?

The court system is a train-wreck. But, anyone who follows the madness that is the U.S. patent system in the courts already knows that. All we can do is shake our heads in disgust.

LimeWire’s executives are hoping for some kind of deal that will let them survive. I can’t see that happening. The RIAA has asked for a permanent injunction on LimeWire’s services. Let’s face it, the RIAA has LimeWire where it wants them: On the way to bankruptcy court.

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