March 15, 2014

Willkie was selected to be featured in Law360’s monthly “How They Won It” series for its role in the action brought against the firm’s clients by the major record labels. The profile, entitled “How They Won It: Willkie Farr Gets Record Cos. To Settle For a Song,” examines the firm’s significant path to success in achieving a $105 million settlement for Lime Wire LLC and its founder in the face of the $75 trillion in damages originally sought by the music industry. The article includes a joint in-depth interview with lead litigation partners Joseph Baio and Tariq Mundiya.

Law360 writes that “by getting the facts of the case to sink into their bones and employing a killer instinct, the Willkie Farr team was able to unleash an aggressive litigation strategy on a powerful yet tactically vulnerable coalition of record companies led by the so-called big four.” Chronicling the firm’s role in the critical damages stages of the case, Law360 notes that the Willkie team persuaded the court “to slash the potential damages the record companies wanted by pointing out that those damages added up to more money than the record companies had ever made.” The profile goes on to point out how the court adopted Willkie partner John Oller’s language (from the firm’s brief in a pre-trial motion with respect to the amount of statutory copyright damages the plaintiffs were entitled to seek): “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.’”

The article also highlights how the settlement was reached after Mr. Baio’s cross-examination of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., the billionaire co-owner of plaintiff Warner Music Group, who was “forced to admit on the stand that he made $50 million in salary, bonuses and stock options since he became CEO of Warner in 2004 even as the company laid off over half of its staff.”

Law 360’s monthly “How They Won It” series profiles attorneys who had a major litigation win (including significant settlements), focusing on the win itself, its importance in the law and the strategy the lawyers used to achieve it.