When Suing For Copyright Infringement On A $500 License, Don't Ask For $766 Million

from the just-a-suggestion dept

Eric Goldman has a short blurb describing the outcome in a copyright lawsuit where a title company apparently infringed on the copyright of another company by reusing its web-based “rate calculator” on its own site without a license. Where the case got bizarre was that the copyright holder tried to claim that the title company now owed it every single cent it made, which amounted to $766 million in revenue — even though (1) a license for the calculator would run $500 for the year and (2) it’s difficult to see how all of the company’s revenue could have been because of that single rate calculator. Luckily, the judge practically laughed them out of court, calling the request “preposterous.” Instead, the court awarded a mere $1,500, or the equivalent of a three year license. As Goldman notes:

[This is] an amount that the defendant surely would have happily paid to settle before going to court if the plaintiff would have accepted it. Instead, this is great example of a dispute that had no chance of settling because the plaintiff?s demands were so out of this universe.

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Comments on “When Suing For Copyright Infringement On A $500 License, Don't Ask For $766 Million”

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Greg says:

How do you that the plaintiff’s lawyer gave bad advice? What if the plaintiff directed the lawyer to sue for that amount?

Insert the word “know” up there.

And the plaintiff’s lawyer could have told said plaintiff that 766 million was extreme to say the least. There was a better chance of getting 100k instead of trying to destroy the title company.

The Rabid Accountant says:

What is the "business of music" really worth?

When reading of the Sony/Bertlesmann (BMG) merger earlier, it put it into perspective the fully loaded value of a record company with it’s assets. To purchase the remaining 50% of Bertelsmann, $900M (Some reports show 1.2B) isn’t that much.

Come to find out many small tech companies have larger market cap than these record guys. Ingram Micro has a market cap of $3.32B. Palm is currently around $700M in market cap. You could buy Bertlesmann 75 times over with Google’s Market cap.

It’d be an interesting project to find out how many songs exist in the Sony/BMG catalog to calculate an average real value for a song.

Why do this? Well, I would like to make unsolicited offers to buy masters along with applicable rights. I bet they cost less than some of these legal damages.

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