LimeWire judge rules on some pre-trial motions

By | Published on Thursday 5 May 2011


So, the final chapter of the LimeWire litigation is slowly getting underway. As previously reported, with Judge Kimba Wood ruling last year that the digital firm was liable for contributory copyright infringement by providing millions of naughty file-sharers with the technology to access illegal sources of music, now a jury must decide how much damages the former Lime Group must pay the record companies. The labels want billions.

So far Wood has ruled on some pre-trial motions. First, she said that LimeWire founder Mark Gorton and all his business entities are liable for copyright infringement, so that he himself and any other companies he set up will also be liable to pay any damages awarded to the rights owners. The record companies have argued that Gorton deliberately set up his company and finances in a confusing way in a bid to shield him from liability in any inevitable copyright litigation.

Second, Wood has told LimeWire’s legal men that one of their witnesses, damages expert George Strong, will not be allowed to deliver his entire testimony. Strong planned to tell the court that the link between file-sharing and slumping record sales in the last ten years was not proven, and that there is evidence that file-sharing can lead to an increase in record sales, ie the ‘file-sharing is basically a preview service’ argument. However Wood ruled that Strong was not an expert on either the music or technology industries, and that he hadn’t undertaken any of his own research regards file-sharing, so won’t be allowed to make such sweeping statements in court.

So, things do seem to be leaning in the record companies favour so far. The case continues.