Thursday, March 10, 2011

In Arista v LimeWire court rejects RIAA contention it is entitled to statutory damages for each direct infringer

In Arista Records v Lime Group, the Court rejected that RIAA's contention that it is entitled to a separate statutory damages award for each direct infringement induced by LimeWire, holding that adopting that argument would lead to an "absurd" interpretation of the Copyright Act. The Court held instead that the RIAA's recovery would be limited to a single statutory damages award per infringed work. The Court also stated, however, that the number of direct infringers would be a factor in assessing the amount of the statutory damage awards.

March 10, 2011, Decision, rejecting RIAA's statutory damages argument

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Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

This is really the only valid interpretation, period, end of story. Statutory damages were intentionally changed from per copy to per work infringed for the express purpose of reducing damages when many copies were made due to a single defendant.

Anonymous said...

@ "that the number of direct infringers would be a factor in assessing the amount of the statutory damage awards" Would it be appropriate for the Defendants to demand the names of the "direct infringers" as proof before any assessment of the award is completed? Forcing the RIAA to put names to the numbers?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous -- I don't think it would have been necessary at all without some indication from Plaintiff regarding how they would have determined the numbers anyway. See the footnote on page 6: "Plaintiffs have never explained to the Court how they would even go about determining how many direct infringers there were per work."

Of course, in an ideal world, such a determination would require evidence, which I doubt Plaintiff has.

- Andrew

Anonymous said...

This is a great development. What better way to show problems with the RIAA's interpretation of the DMCA than to show that it leads to absurd results such as $75 trillion dollar statutory damages?