Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Lime Wire Settles Some, But Not All, Of Its Lawsuits

Lime Wire shut down last year, but the file-sharing site’s lawyers are still fighting off the music companies, which are looking for huge damages.

That fight got a bit simpler last week: Lime Wire agreed to a settlement with a group of music publishers on Friday, according to document filed in federal court yesterday.

But the agreement doesn’t get Lime Wire off the hook. The company is still fighting another lawsuit, brought by many of the same people it settled with last week.

If that sounds confusing, welcome to the music business!

Super-quick primer: Music publishers own the underlying composition of songs; recorded music companies own the recordings themselves. And while all of the big music companies own both a recorded music division and a music publishing group, the two units own different assets, and usually function in separate but parallel universes. (The Beatles’ recordings, for instance, are owned by a unit of EMI, while the group’s publishing is controlled by a Sony joint venture).

Back to Lime Wire: The terms of last week’s settlement haven’t been disclosed. The court filing only notes that all claims by the publishers, who include Sony and Warner Music Group, have been dismissed, and that both sides will pay their own legal fees.

Meanwhile both sides in the recorded music case, which is being overseen by the same federal judge, are arguing back and forth about how to assess damages, and are headed for a trial. Stay tuned…

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work