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Is the Death of LimeWire Upon Us?

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LimeWire courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

LimeWire courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

LimeWire LLC’s legal woes continue.

The company, which makes software that enables users to share peer-to-peer (P2P) music files, is the defendant in a recent copyright infringement suit filed by eight of the most powerful music publishers in the industry, including EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

The music publishers ask for “equitable relief and damages,” which could reach up to $150,000 for each violation.

This most recent lawsuit was filed in federal district court in New York on the heels of another case in the same jurisdiction in which Judge Kimba Wood ruled against LimeWire and its CEO Mark Gorton in finding that the company enables the piracy of music files on a grand scale.

In its defense, LimeWire has insisted that it has implemented technology via a hash filter that inhibits the sharing of copyrighted material. “LimeWire absolutely does not encourage or condone the illegal copying or sharing of copyrighted material,” said a spokeswoman for the company.

But Judge Wood didn’t buy that argument and specifically noted that LimeWire hasn’t implemented technological means to stop copyright infringement in “any meaningful way.” The hash filter, noted Judge Wood, was set to “off” by default so that users would have to enable the function for it to prevent copyright infringements. Judge Wood also specifically found Gorton was aware of the infringing activity but took little if any action to discourage it.

In turn, because of Judge Wood’s ruling, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has filed motions in the same jurisdiction to request that the court shut down the company’s file-sharing software for good and/or freeze the company’s assets.

But execs at LimeWire are keeping the faith. The company is still hoping for an out-of-court settlement with music publishers; a statement released by the company said, “We have had many promising meetings with labels, publishers, songwriters and artists alike about our new music service and a business model that will compensate the entire industry.”

Unfortunately for LimeWire, though, as the barrage of lawsuits and legal motions continue, the chances of a settlement aren’t looking good.

Would the death of LimeWire affect you? Do you think LimeWire and similar P2P sharing networks encourage copyright infringement?

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June 22nd, 2010 at 3:18 pm