LimeWire Group was found liable of mass copyright infringement last year in a lawsuit filed by the RIAA, but in a separate case being heard in New York this week founder Mark Gorton admitted for the first time that he knew about the rampant piracy by a “large percentage” of users that was present in the file sharing service.
When asked why he had allowed the illegal activity to continue, however, Gorton claimed that he misunderstood copyright law.
“I was wrong,” Gorton said Monday in response to prosecuting attorney Glenn Pomerantz’s questions. “I didn’t think our behavior was inducing [copyright infringement]. I understand that a court has found otherwise.”
When Pomerantz asked Morton about why he did not respond accordingly to a “cease and desist” letter after their victory against P2P service Grokster, he claimed that he passed it off as simply the music industry trying to strongarm him into converting LimeWire to a pay service for the money rather than for legal reasons.
“There were technologies that you didn’t use that would have stopped some of the sharing, but you didn’t use those?” Pomerantz asked.
“No,” Gorton admitted.
Gorton also told the court that it was company practice not to respond to LimeWire users who questioned the legality of the service, because he didn’t feel it was right for his employees to give out “legal advice.”
“People were trying to do the right thing and LimeWire didn’t have an answer,” Pomerantz told the court.
Gorton was scheduled to take the stand again Tuesday, and will likely face questions about his largely scrutinized personal finances and accusations that he began stashing money in family trusts after the Grokster decision in case LimeWire was also sued. According to CNET, Gorton is expected to tell the prosecution that he was “only interested in managing his estate.”
Yes, Mark Gorton made some bad decisions with LimeWire along the way, but I wonder what any of the record label executives would’ve done had the tables been turned and they were heading a successful venture in the infancy of digital music?