Limewire's peer-to-peer fire-sharing service has been ordered shut down by a federal judge, ruling on a case filed by music-industry giants.
Limewire has been ordered to shut down by a federal judge who argues that the
file-sharing service "intentionally encouraged direct infringement."
By all appearances, this could represent the endgame of music companies'
four-year effort to take Limewire offline.
Indeed, Limewire's Website
dead, its landing page covered with a plus-sized legal notice: "Limewire
is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its
file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without
authorization is illegal."
Meanwhile, Limewire executives attempted to put a positive spin on
"The injunction applies only to the Limewire product. Our company
remains open for business," George Searle, CEO
of Limewire, wrote in an Oct. 26 posting
on Lime Company's corporate Website
. "We remain deeply committed to
working with the music industry and making the act of loving music more
fulfilling for everyone."
Searle added: "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." Details of that new music service,
however, were not forthcoming in the blog post.
The court's take on Limewire seemed decidedly more negative. According to
, Judge Kimba Wood, of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan,
said the Website "marketed itself to Napster users, who were known
copyright infringers." A variety of interested parties, ranging from Sony
Music Entertainment to Warner Bros. Records, had joined legal forces in the
case against Limewire, which they jointly accused of facilitating widespread
even found itself broadsided over its security and file-sharing protocols by
the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
, which launched
investigations in 2007 and 2009 into file sharing on peer-to-peer networks. In
response, Limewire argued that it had reworked its service to address those
concerns. Over the years, sensitive
information such as social security numbers and banking data had managed to
leak onto Limewire's network
, raising the hackles of business executives
and security experts.
Based on Searle's comments, Limewire could follow in the footsteps of
Napster and attempt a rebirth as a legitimate digital-music portal. A
Napster app comes pre-loaded with Google TV
, with others available for iOS
and Android devices. However, any new service would encounter substantial
competition, not only from Napster, but from Apple iTunes and other media
services as well.
Meanwhile, peer-to-peer networking-and the possible copyright violations
that come with it-continues to thrive online.