Yep, you read it right. That wasn’t a typo. The Recording Industry Association of America, representing, 13 leading record companies in their lawsuit against Limewire which saw the file sharing website shut down in December, has now filed a damages claim for $75 trillion dollars. (cue Doctor Evil voice). Yep, that figure is $75,000,000,000,000 when you put it in numbers. Just to give you an idea, the whole US national debt is about $14 trillion, or one fifth of the amount the record companies are asking for. US Federal Court Judge Kimba Wood has handed down her ruling on the claim, which she has agreed is outrageous, being based on the number of downloads that the many users of Limewire could theortetically have made. S

Calling it ‘absurd’, she wrote “If plaintiffs were able to pursue a statutory damage theory predicated on the number of direct infringers per work, defendants’ damages could reach into the trillions,” she wrote. “As defendants note, plaintiffs are suggesting an award that is ‘more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.'”

Limewire’s lawyers responded by saying “We were pleased that the judge followed both the law and the logic in reaching the conclusion that she did.” Joseph Baio of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, representing the company further opined, “As the judge said in her opinion, when the copyright law was initiated, legislatures couldn’t possibly conceive of what the world would become with the internet. As such, you couldn’t use legislative history. Instead, the overarching issue is reasonableness in order to avoid absurd and possibly unconstitutional outcome.”