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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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald