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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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