After serving as one of the most popular P2P clients for a decade, LimeWire has been issued a permanent injunction for copyright infringement and unfair competition. In legalese, it is ordered “to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software”, meaning no searching, no downloading, no uploading, no file trading, or, in essence, no more “functionality”. You can find a copy of the full injunction here.
What’s the story behind it all? The case against LimeWire has been going on since 2006, when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed its copyright infringement lawsuit. While it won a summary judgement in May of this year, the RIAA has now got the permanent injunction it was fighting for. Why? You guessed it: “downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.”
[RELATED_ARTICLE]The U.S District Judge behind the ruling, Kimba Wood, has also tried to limit the damage that already distributed LimeWire software can cause, by ordering LimeWire to discourage use of its legacy software: “Using its best efforts, LimeWire shall use all reasonable technological means to immediately cease and desist the current infringement of the Copyrighted Works by Legacy users through the LimeWire System and Software and to prevent and inhibit future infringement of copyright works.” No more advertising will be allowed, and creation of comparable software is a big no-no without permission of the RIAA.
Music labels will apparently now be entitled to seek damages from the LimeWire and its founder, Mark Gorton, and a hearing for this purpose has been scheduled for January 2011, with up to $1 billion at stake. RIAA is obviously very happy with this vindication, and commented on the demise of the P2P client: “The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that Lime Wire and Gorton used to enrich themselves.”
Limewire CEO, Gorge Searle said that the Lime Group and LimeCompany are not yet down and out. Instead, the group is trying to work on a new music service called Spoon, and is apparently in talks with all four of the major labels that back the RIAA. He said: “We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future.” Don’t expect things get up and running too soon though, as (you guessed it, again), the labels aren’t being very cooperative.