With a frown on his face and holding his head in his hand, LimeWire founder Mark Gorton appeared depressed last May as he sat in a New York courtroom.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had already won its copyright case against Gorton and LimeWire, the once-popular file-sharing service, and the parties were back before the judge to determine how much in damages he owed the four top major record companies. On May 12, he agreed to pay the RIAA $105 million.
But Gorton's pain didn't end there. Ever since, he's been under siege by different copyright owners. The latest group to go after him includes three of the six top Hollywood studios.
Courthouse News Service reported last week that the group, which include Disney and Paramount, has filed a copyright claim against Gorton and the now-defunct LimeWire service.
The gist of the lawsuit goes something like this: It's already been decided that Gorton and LimeWire are liable for copyright infringement. The studios say that all they have to do is prove that in addition to infringing music, the defendants enabled the piracy of movies as well. They have cited 53 works that they owned, which were shared via LimeWire.
Joseph Baio, Gorton's attorney, was not immediately available for comment.
Some of the other groups that have sued Gorton are music publishers and a group of independent record labels. And the latest group of film studios likely won't be the only ones Gorton hears from in Hollywood. If this group is successful in getting anything out of him, the other two majors, Sony Pictures and NBC Universal, could still file a complaint, as might dozens of other indie studios.
How much money Gorton has left is anybody's guess, but a few years ago he appeared to have put a large sum of money in a family trust. Observers said this was likely an attempt to "judgment proof" his estate or protect his assets from legal claims.