Limewire was shut down last year, but the story hasn’t ended there. The music industry have been successful with an out of court settlement for $105 million.
This legal battle has been going on now for five years and Limewire have decided to settle out of court with 13 music companies involved. Former Limewire CEO Mark Gorton has said he is ‘pleased that this case has concluded’. We doubt he is dancing for joy at being $105 million out of pocket however.
Mitch Bainwoi, Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America said “This hard fought victory is reason for celebration by the entire music community, its fans and the legal services that play by the rules.”
U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood found that LimeWire was liable for copyright infringement. Her ruling also said that they were aware of the infringement and that they continued to work hard to get more infringing users joining up. Her main point was that LimeWire thrived, due to the illegal nature of the file sharing. The service continued to operate until last October when a court order forced LimeWire to take down their software. They shut down in December.
Limewire was the last stand for the peer to peer music sharing programs. Grokster was shut in 2005 and had to pay $50 million after a court decision was made. Kazaa was closed and had to settle a year later for $115 million, and eDonkey closed in 2006 and had to settle for $30 million.
The peer to peer file sharing still continues however, thanks to Bittorrent sites such as BTJunkie and The Pirates Bay. It hasn’t been all plain sailing for these sharing sites however as Mininova had to go legitimate in 2009 and IsoHunt had an injunction ruled against them in 2010. The biggest site, Pirate’s Bay continues to operate, even though they lost a lawsuit in Sweden in 2009.
Limewire is still going, as users have made a version called ‘LimeWire Pirate Edition’ – this is unauthorised but still attracts a large number of people.
KitGuru says: It will be hard for the music industry to close all means of illegal file sharing, as generally when one is shut down, two more pop up.