Without Napster, Would Music Sales Have Boomed?

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Currently engaged in legal proceedings against file sharing service LimeWire, record labels including Arista, Capitol and Warner are gearing up to fight unlawful music sharing in court. Per the below chart unearthed from within recent trial briefs, these industry titans plan to argue that record album sales would have boomed had the infamous Internet file sharing solution Napster not entered the picture.

With the trial scheduled to begin May 2, labels plan to argue the following in the upcoming case:

"The evidence will demonstrate that there has been a $55 billion decline in record industry revenue over the last decade. Plaintiffs and Defendants disagree as to whether mass file sharing through peer-to-peer services has been the primary cause of this decline (Plaintiffs' position), or just one of several causes (Defendants' position). But even if LimeWire caused only a fraction of this decline, Plaintiffs' damages would still be in the billions of dollars. Plaintiffs will offer evidence at trial demonstrating that far greater than a fraction of this harm was caused by LimeWire."

As industry watchers point out, damages against LimeWire may be issued on a per-song basis in 9,715 individual instances, with fines running as high as $150,000 per work, potentially placing penalties in the billions.

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