The online torrent downloaders better get all the free music they can while it is still a free ride. The shit has officially hit the fan and dude boots ain’t high enough to get out of the shit the gavel that hit the bench is about to bestow upon his ass.
After a long court battle between the RIAA and Limewire, one of the worlds biggest file sharing companies has just been put in its place.
LimeWire is one of the largest peer-to-peer file-sharing networks in the U.S., came out on the losing end of a case brought against it by the Recording Industry Association of America. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York found LimeWire liable for unfair competition, inducing copyright infringement, and copyright infringement itself.
Many arguments and legal rulings have held that file-sharing networks weren’t liable for the actions of their users — who download tons of digital music and video files annually, which may or may not turn out to be copyrighted. While several cases have held that networks are responsible for policing their own sites for copyrighted content — and in at least two major cases, have found the P2P networks guilty of inducing users to infringe on copyrights — this is the first case in which a network itself has been found liable for engaging in copyright infringement.
This is an important distinction, as “primary” copyright liability is a far more serious legal issue than “secondary” copyright liability.
LimeWire’s founder, Mark Gorton, was also found personally liable for the crimes.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, for the Southern District of New York, on Tuesday granted summary judgment in favor of the music industry’s claims that Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton committed copyright infringement, engaged in unfair competition, and induced copyright infringement.
“The evidence demonstrates that [Lime Wire] optimized LimeWire’s features to ensure that users can download digital recordings, the majority of which are protected by copyright,” Wood said in her 59-page decision. “And that [Lime Wire] assisted users in committing infringement.”
The court decision could represent the biggest threat to online file sharing in years. According to a survey by the NPD Group, LimeWire users account for 58 percent of the people who said they downloaded music from a peer-to-peer service last year. At CNET’s Download.com, the LimeWire software has been downloaded more than 200 million times. In the last week along, the software was downloaded nearly 340,000 times.
The RIAA has said it is entitled to the maximum statutory damages, which is $150,000 for each registered work that was infringed. The number of infringing works they could try to claim is likely in the millions.