January 4, 2011

LimeWire Still Fighting Record Labels In Court

LimeWire is looking to get court-ordered subpoenas that require third parties to open up about their dealings with the record industry.

After U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood delivered a death penalty to LimeWire for copyright violations with an injunction against the company in October, the case moved to question how much LimeWire should pay to the record industry in damages.

The labels claim over $1 billion in damages and plan to argue for the compensation in a jury trial scheduled for April.  However, LimeWire is fighting to get the record industry to prove its losses.

A judge ordered a few weeks ago that the record companies must produce information on costs like royalty payments on some of the music alleged to have been infringed.  However, that is not enough for LimeWire.

Attorneys for LimeWire have been pushing third-party licensees for the past couple of weeks to hand over a range of documents, including contract, royalty payments, accounting books and even internal company communications where executives at leading digital outfits discuss their relationship with the business.

LimeWire has gone to the Western District of Washington to ask a judge to compel Amazon.com to cooperate with its discovery.  According to a motion filed in court, Amazon prefers that any royalty documents be handed over by the record industry at the guidance of the New York District Court.

However, LimeWire is hoping for more.

"Amazon's contention that it need not produce revenue information and communications regarding its agreements with Plaintiffs because these documents are equally obtainable from Plaintiffs is wrong on the facts and the law," attorneys for LimeWire wrote.

"The Subpoena requests documents that could not be within Plaintiffs' possession, e.g. purely internal Amazon communications regarding its licensing agreements with Plaintiffs placed on their copyrighted works."

The file-sharing site said it needs these documents because it should not have to rely exclusively on the record industry's versions of documents in preparing its defense to a $1 billion in damages claim.

The site also said that these documents are relevant, that internal emails from third-party licensees/distributors like Amazon should be turned over so they can see what really went on during negotiations over licensing songs for sale. 

The company said that the documents "could illuminate Plaintiffs' views as to the true value of their works and how Plaintiffs acted toward Amazon and other online digital music providers."

A California court turned down LimeWire's request to subpoena information from MediaDefender last week, which provides anti-piracy software to the record industry, as being irrelevant to the question of what damages are owed.


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