Declan McCullagh writes for Wired at
In their complaint that started the lawsuit, the plaintiffs ask "for
maximum statutory damages in the amount of not less than $100,000 for
each copyrighted work infringed." Plus attorney's fees, "restitution,"
and punitive damages.
Webnoize, a market research firm, reports that in 2001 the pace of
transfers accelerated to nearly 3 billion song transfers in January
Let's see, 3 billion song transfers times $100,000 per each act of
infringement... that's 300 trillion dollars of liability for the month
of January alone.
This is ten times the current world GDP! If every man, woman and child in
the world devoted their entire productive efforts to paying off Napster's
legal liability (should the record companies win), they'd have to work
for ten years just to pay the bills for the month of January.
Looking at it over the history of Napster the amount would have to run
well into the quadrillions. Surely this would be the largest legal
claim in history! I wonder if the record companies can present this
figure with a straight face.
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