72 trillion dollars. That is the amount of money for which the RIAA is suing Limewire.
What does 72 trillion looks like if you take the American definition of a trillion?
According to some sources this is more money than exists in the entire world. How, then, could the RIAA claim these damages? There’s no physical way that the companies represented by the RIAA would ever have made that much money, how can it be justifiable?
I went away and looked at the numbers. Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay $2250 per infringement. When applied to the $72 trillion the RIAA are surely claiming that Limewire are responsible for 32 billion individual infringements. If looking at Joel Tenenbaum’s situation, he was ordered to pay $22,500 per infringement, making it 3.2 billion infringements.
For 32 billion infringements that means that (approximately) 112 petabytes of data was transferred between Limewire users in the 10 years of the service’s existence.
So maybe it is possible, maybe not but, as the courts have upheld these numbers in the past, it has led to the situation where an organization is now able to sue for more money than exists in the world.
Someone stop the world, I want to get off.