LimeWire filesharing site ordered to close
Peer-to-peer filesharing service LimeWire has been ordered to shut down after losing a four-year legal fight with US record labels.
The ruling follows a long-running legal dispute with the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the major record labels and accused Lime Wire, the company behind the LimeWire service, of infringing copyright.
In 2007, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against the peer-to-peer filesharing network, accusing it of infringing the copyright of its members by facilitating the illegal trading of music, movies and other content.
Now, a US court has issued a permanent injunction against the service, a move that will force LimeWire offline for good.
The federal court in New York ruled that the service, which attracts around 50 million users per month, was intentionally responsible for a “massive scale of infringement”.
Although the site itself has been shut down, parent company Lime Wire is still trading, and its founder, former Wall Street trader Mark Gorton, said the company would work with the music industry to “move forward”.
LimeWire, which was launched in 2000, quickly became one of the most popular peer-to-peer filesharing sites on the web, and was used by millions of people to download tens of thousands of songs, TV shows, books and films.
The amount of damages that Lime Wire will have to pay to the music industry will not be decided until January, the presiding judge confirmed.
“For the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and Gorton have violated the law,” said the RIAA in a statement.
“The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that LimeWire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely.
“In January, the court will conduct a trial to determine the appropriate level of damages necessary to compensate the record companies for the billions and billions of illegal downloads that occurred through the LimeWire system.”
LimeWire is the latest in a long line of peer-to-peer services to fall foul of the law, with sites such as Grokster, Napster and Morpheus among those to receive injunctions.
George Searle, chief executive of Lime Wire, said the company was “disappointed” by the ruling, but remained “deeply committed to working with the music industry and making the act of loving music more fulfilling for everyone”.