NEW YORK--Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO of Warner Music Group and heir to a huge beverage fortune, received more than $17 million in total compensation for the year 2008, even as he and his managers were laying off hundreds of employees and claiming that online piracy was to blame for much of the music industry's financial woes.
This was one of the facts that a jury was shown in federal court here today, as lawyers for Mark Gorton, the man behind the LimeWire file-sharing system, attempted to show that the file-sharing service he founded was not solely to blame for declining music sales and the industry's shrinking number of jobs. Joseph Baio, Gorton's lawyer, tried to influence the jury by painting a picture of record labels led by fat cat executives who in some cases paid themselves huge sums and were too slow to react to major technological shifts in their industry. Some of the trouble, Baio suggested, was caused by the record companies' own poor stewardship.
As a result of a lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2006, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood found Gorton and Lime Wire, the company behind the popular file-sharing service of the same name, liable last year for willful copyright infringement. A jury is now deciding how much Gorton will pay in damages. The amount could be as high as $1.4 billion.
In an attempt to convince the jury that Gorton deserves to pay a huge financial penalty, RIAA lawyers have tried to prove that Gorton and his service--which was used to obtain songs without paying for them--cost the music industry billions in revenues as well as thousands of jobs. … Read more