LimeWire, the music file sharing service giant that has been mired in a four year legal struggle with the music industry, has been issued an injunction by a federal judge in New York to disable key parts of its service. In May 2010, Southern District Court of New York found LimeWire and its CEO Mark Gorton liable for knowingly participating in copyright infringement. The more recent ruling states LimeWire must stop downloading any and all copies of its file sharing software.
After providing file sharers, bootleggers and music lovers free music and video downloads since the turn of the century, the popular file sharing service, Lime Wire has been forced to cease and desists. The company, Lime Wire LLC, which has been in a legal battle with the major labels including Arista, BMG, Sony, and Warner Bros was ordered by a federal judge to shut down on Tuesday, and was expected to have all versions of the software down as of Wednesday.
LimeWire was founded by Mark Gorton, a successful Wall Street trader, in 2000. In her ruling, Judge Kimba M. Wood of Federal District Court in Manhattan forced the company to disable “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” of the company’s file-sharing software. The Recording Industry Association of America, the music industry’s trade group that had managed the suit, said in a statement obtained by the New York Times, “For the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and Gorton have violated the law. 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.”
LimeWire was used extensively over the past few years to make virtually any song or film available, with many albums and movies available before their release date. After seeing what happened to Napster (a $26 million settlement paid to record companies), you’d think the guys behind LimeWire would get the picture. The LimeWire website now displays a message saying, “This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyright content without authorization is illegal.” Nonetheless, Lime Company CEO George Searle said in a separate message on the corporate site that while he’s “disappointed with this turn of events,” it’s not the end of the line.
Lime Group claimed that it is now working on a new piece of software that the company promises will adhere to copyright laws. The new service will include a desktop media player, mobile apps and a catalog of music from which people can stream and download songs. “We are out of the file-sharing business, but you can make it known that other aspects of our business remain ongoing,” Lime Group spokeswoman Tiffany Guarnaccia said, cited by the AP.