LimeWire Sued by the RIAA

A couple of weeks ago the LimeWire team announced that they were planning to implement BitTorrent support in their popular filesharing application. Now the’re sued by the RIAA.

Slightly more than a year ago the word was going around that LimeWire, at the time’s most popular commercial p2p file sharing application, was going down.

“We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties,” wrote justice David H. Souter for the US Supreme Court in the Grokster / StreamCast v MGM ruling.

Then, “Mark Gorton [left], the chief executive of the Lime Group … said he was likely to stop distributing LimeWire in reaction to the ruling,” said The New York Times. “He said it appeared too difficult to meet the implied standard for inducement. The court, Mr. Gorton said, has ‘handed a tool to judges that they can declare inducement whenever they want to’.”

LimeWire’s answer was what amounted to DRM – a copyright filter – but Warner Music, Vivendi Universal, EMI and Sony BMG have, in their ongoing assault on the internet and its users, again targeted LimeWire, together with Gorton and coo Greg Bildson. And once again “inducement” is the hook, the line and, the Big Four hope, the final sinker for LimeWire.

Meanwhile, a community driven project based on source code released by LimeWire LLC aimed to, “create and maintain a Gnutella client according to the open standards of an international community”.

The new application was, and still is, called FrostWire, written to, “keep and maintain the freedoms that LimeWire LLC may be forced to withdraw,” says the site, going on:

“LimeWire LLC has been considering an alternative path to keep them out of any legal situations they could be forced into. From what we understand, LimeWire LLC intends to implement a DRM filtering technology into their client. If LimeWire ever decides to implement this DRM technology, we will be prepared to remove it from our code and distribute the client under our own branding. However, we will continue supporting the LimeWire client development and do not wish to make fundamental or drastic changes to the LimeWire core itself.

“FrostWire will not break with LimeWire’s design philosophy. We will always do our best to maintain a strong relationship with the LimeWire Development Team. FrostWire, although very much like LimeWire, will never offer a paid version or a subscription service for the download or use of the FrostWire application. FrostWire is a not-for-profit project. We will never bundle our software with any type of adware, spyware, malware or collect any personal or private data. FrostWire will always remain free as in both price and freedom.”

However, LimeWire is still under the corporate gun and, “Despite numerous efforts to engage LimeWire, the site’s corporate owners have shown insufficient interest in developing a legal business model that adequately respects copyrights,” says the Big Four’s RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America),” according to Billboard. “While other services have come productively to the table, LimeWire has sat back and continued to reap profits on the backs of the music community. That is unfortunate and has left us no choice but to file a lawsuit to protect the rights and livelihoods of artists, songwriters and record label employees, as well as those companies building legitimate businesses based on music.”

The labels want an injunction and damages of at least $30,000 for every infringement of every recording and at least $150,000 for every willful infringement if each recording, says the story, adding:

“Last week Sharman Networks and others involved with P2P network Kazaa settled with the labels for $115 million and agreed to go legit. A similar deal was struck last year with Grokster.”

Sharman has, of course, been striving for years to reach an agreement with elements of the corporate entertaiment industry and in our humble opinion, the actual amount handed over is unlikely to be $115 million, or anywhere near it, and might in reality be regarded as an admission fee for the cartel good ‘ole boys klub.



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