Is That Frowned On Here?

Limewire, the music file sharing service has been engaged in copyright infringement litigation with Arista Records since 2006. It’s not going well. The court has found that Limewire infringed at least 9,715 recordings. Arista is seeking “statutory damages” for each infringement. It could add up. To make matters worse, the court issued a ruling earlier this week that Limewire can’t introduce evidence that it had a good faith belief that what it was doing was legal. That kind of evidence would normally be used to at least mitigate the damages. But throughout the litigation, Limewire had blocked efforts by Arista to inquire into what Limewire knew about the law when it was operating the service. As the court noted, “a party may not assert that it believed its conduct was lawful, and simultaneously claim privilege to block inquiry into the basis of the party’s state of mind or belief.” Sometimes legal issues are complicated, but other times they are pretty simple. As is true in most aspects of life, you can’t have it both ways.