Faced with a $1 billion dollar fine, it seems that the P2P filesharing outfit Limewire is going down fighting.
In a hearing to work out how much Limewire will have to pay four music outfits, a jury heard how P2P was being made the scapegoat for industry inertia.
Lawyers for Limewire founder Mark Gorton said that free music is here to stay, and punishing for that fact is unjust and won’t change a thing.
Joseph Baio, one of Gorton’s attorneys, did not dispute that LimeWire was used by pirates.
However, he said that it was not, as the RIAA claimed, the reason the music industry lost all its money.
Music sales began dropping off in 2000, when Limewire was just starting out and its audience was insignificant, he said.
The jury was showed emails and public statements which quoted executives of the record companies saying they blamed their shrinking business on CD ripping and burning, the poor economy, and their own inability to adapt to changing technology.
One was penned by Doug Morris, the former CEO of Universal Music, that seemed to blame the record labels for not innovating quickly enough.
He said that the music industry appeared to be doing really well. Warner Music paid three top executives $100 million in salary and bonuses since 2004.
Other experts said sharing music online may increase sales.
According to CNET, Baio said that free music was here to stay and he quoted from an e-mail written to subordinates by Edgar Bronfman Jr., the chief of Warner Music. “The consumer has won.”
We doubt it will melt the heart of the jury, but it is nice that Limewire, like Napster before it, is telling the world the truth before it is snuffed out by the forces of darkness.