Tuesday 26 April 2011, 11:36 | By

LimeWire chief’s personal finances to be included in damages trial

Digital Legal Music Business

LimeWire

The financial affairs of LimeWire founder Mark Gorton will be discussed in court next month as the record labels push for tens of billions in damages for the copyright infringement the Lime Group’s P2P file-sharing software enabled over the years. As much previously reported, LimeWire shut up shop at the end of last year after a judge ruled the digital firm was liable for the copyright infringement it enabled others to commit. The labels are now suing for damages.

The labels accuse Gorton of restructuring his and LimeWire’s finances back in 2005, transferring various assets to family limited partnerships, in a bid to protect much of his fortune from any future infringement claims, ie like this one. LimeWire argued that Gorton’s finances should only be analysed in court if and when the jury decided punitive damages should be awarded, but the judge hearing the case – Kimba Wood – said the Recording Industry Association Of America could bring Gorton’s financial affairs up during the main part of the case.

Meanwhile, Wood has blocked LimeWire’s plans to claim as part of its defence that Gorton had a “gut feeling” back in his P2P service’s heyday that his operation was not illegal. LimeWire’s legal reps wanted to show that their man wasn’t acting in “bad faith”, ie he wasn’t squeezing as much cash out of his P2P venture before it was inevitably shut down by the copyright police, rather he believed he had a legitimate business with long-term potential.

Wood has blocked that defence not because it’s nuts to think Gorton could have genuinely believed such a thing after the 2005 Supreme Court ruling on Grokster, but because Team Lime aren’t willing to share correspondence between the Lime chief and his lawyers from that period, which would presumably indicate Gorton’s thinking at the time.

The final chapter of the LimeWire case is due to go to court next month.

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