Courts Condemn LimeWire File Sharing for Copyright Infringement

Dennis Faas's picture

It's been a long time since anyone really used LimeWire for their pirated music needs, but on Wednesday a federal judge ruled that the service did infringe on music copyrights. Better late than never, it seems.

Judge Kimba M. Wood of Manhattan's U.S. District court ruled that LimeWire and its creator Mark Gorton were guilty of copyright infringement and were engaged in unfair competition that caused others to also commit copyright infringement. (Source:

LimeWire Napster's Successor

LimeWire was, for all intents and purposes, the heir to the copyright-smashing crown first worn by Napster in 1999. LimeWire offered users the chance to share millions upon millions of songs and albums, at no cost. Its most popular period stretched from the early-to-mid part of the last decade.

Since that time, "Torrents" have become the new way to share files. Their legitimacy is equally murky.

A suit against LimeWire was first brought to the courts by America's largest recording firms in 2006.

RIAA Pushes for Heavy Penalty

The question now becomes, how much should LimeWire's creators pay? "We think a high-damage award would be appropriate," said Steven Marks, lawyer for the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA. "I think it's very clear from the decision that there's a lot of evidence of willful behavior by LimeWire and its principals."

The precedent for this most recent case against LimeWire was set in 2005, when the Supreme Court found that filesharing service Grokster had encouraged users to rip off music and distribute it online. (Source:

Experts say the decision against LimeWire should send a red flag to users and distributors of Torrents and sites whose copyright standing falls somewhere in a gray area. "If you're coming real close to flying the Jolly Roger as a business, you can expect to be in legal trouble," said Harvard Law School professor Jonathan Zittrain.

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