Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Pirate Pays Up: Warner Music Cashes $12 Million LimeWire Check

We knew this was going to happen, but it’s such a man-bites-dog story it’s worth noting anyway: A big file-sharing outfit ended up handing over a bunch of cash to a content company.

In this case the check writer is LimeWire, the once-huge file-sharing operation that finally shut down last year under court order. The company handed over $12 million to Warner Music Group last quarter as part of the $105 million settlement it reached with big music labels last spring.

If you argue, as Warner Music and the other labels previously had, that LimeWire was responsible for more than $1 billion worth of damage, then the check won’t mean much. Nor does it mean much to Warner’s operations — the payout amounted to 1.7 percent of the music label’s quarterly revenue.

Still, the big content companies almost never get any satisfaction in the piracy whack-a-mole game. So we’ll go ahead and note this instance now.

While we’re noting things: Warner’s revenue was up 5 percent for the quarter, buoyed in large part by digital sales, which were up 13 percent. The label still posted a net loss of $47 million, though.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik