by John Resendez
“As of today, we are required to stop distribution and support of LimeWire’s P2P file-sharing service as a result of a court-ordered injunction.”
The wildly popular file-sharing program, LimeWire, has been shutdown as the final result of the lengthy four-year court case brought against LimeWire, LLC, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The RIAA is the representative of eight major music publishers and battled with LimeWire primarily over the illegal downloading of free music that would otherwise sponsor their companies, employees, producers, artists and bands.
The big problem that all music industries and other mediums of entertainment, such as movies, games and television shows face is that of illegal downloading.
It is relatively easy to spot a major file-sharing infringement service such as LimeWire or Napster, which shut down a few years back for the same reasons. The much more difficult job is finding smaller uploaders and especially downloaders.
Uploaders are up in the thousands and downloaders are in the millions. The legal system in place just does not have enough time to search, find and prosecute everyone.
LimeWire may be shut down, but that does not mean that all of the 50 million monthly users of it will simply stop downloading. They will move elsewhere, to a new service or new file-sharing website to illegally download music.
LimeWire is simply the file-sharing medium with approximately 93 percent of it’s content violating copyright infringement. For that reason, it was placed on the target for the Recording Industry Association of America to eventually take out.
The company as a whole is not entirely done for. There is talk about LimeWire developing a program like iTunes for the purchase of music.
It is worth noting that Napster was shut down for copyright infringement reasons, as well, and has turned into a decently profitable company that sells music much like iTunes, albeit a bit less popular.
“While this is not our ideal path,” says an unnamed LimeWire spokesperson on the company website, “we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward. We look forward to embracing necessary changes and working with the entire music industry in the future.”
Also on Lime Company’s website, they have a message about the news which offers information and support to its users about the future of the company.
“Our team of technologists and music enthusiasts is creating a completely new music service that puts you back at the center of your digital music experience.”
How successful this new program will be is yet to be determined. But, based on the numbers, the profit may not be a big help to the company even if a legal version is released.
The damage done by the court case is severe. The statutory minimum per copyright infringement is $150,000. This means the total owed to by LimeWire is in the billions.
If that seems like a large number, it gets put in perspective by the other file-sharing court case in recent news.
A woman in Minneapolis, Minn. named Jammie Thomas-Rasset was charged $220,000 for uploading 24 songs illegally. That is around $9,000 per song, and up to $2500 per minute of illegal music uploaded.
The RIAA is obviously not joking around with pirating and sharing copyright music.
Illegal downloaders better watch out; after shutting down LimeWire it will not be long before the RIAA moves on to a new file-sharing company, or even more individuals.