Fate smiled on Mark Gorton this week.
The founder of file-sharing company Lime Wire agreed on Thursday to pay $105 million to the Recording Industry Association of America to settle a 5-year-old copyright case. Sure, that's a lot, but consider that the settlement figure is equal to only 7 percent of the $1.4 billion the RIAA sought.
This is likely the final chapter for LimeWire, after 10 years in operation. The two sides agreed to settle a year to the day after U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Gorton was liable for willful copyright infringement. Later, Wood ordered that the LimeWire peer-to-peer network be shut down. The financial agreement between Gorton and the labels came amid a jury trial to determine how much Gorton would have to pay in damages.
For fans of cheap, easy-to-obtain music, a few modest reasons for hope sprung up during the two-week-long damages trial.
Edgar Bronfman, CEO of Warner Music Group, one of the four largest record companies, said under oath that he supported the unbundling of music. You might be saying to yourself: "So what?" People have had access to unbundled music for a decade now, thanks to services like iTunes and, yes, LimeWire. All I can tell you is that there are plenty of decision makers at the labels who believe the industry won't recover until consumers are buying albums again. … Read more