Towards the end of the last decade LimeWire was one of the most-used pieces of software on earth, installed on nearly one in five computers.
By the end of 2010 the situation changed somewhat when LimeWire was forced to cease its operations after a U.S. federal judge granted an injunction in favor of the RIAA.
According to the ruling LimeWire “intentionally encouraged infringement,” its software was used “overwhelmingly for infringement” and the company was aware of the “substantial infringement being committed” by LimeWire users. The evidence further showed that LimeWire marketed its application to Napster users and that its business model depended on mass copyright infringements.
The record labels then went after the company for damages and settled for a record-breaking $150 million.
This big win prompted Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, Comedy Partners, Disney, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. to launch a separate lawsuit last year. The movie outfits accused LimeWire of infringing the copyrights of approximately 2,000 of their videos and demanded several hundred million dollars in damages.
In addition, the studios requested a ruling in their favor because they feared that LimeWire could launch a similarly infringing platform in the future, through which their copyrights may be infringed.
Over the past few months the two parties have been battling in court but without much progress being made. Last week the movie studios dismissed the entire case with prejudice, meaning that the case is effectively over.
It’s unclear why the case was dropped, but one possibility is that the case required more resources than the studios were prepared to commit. The studios hoped that a new trial on several key issues wasn’t required as the RIAA already did much of the groundwork.
However, LimeWire objected to the motion for summary judgment and wanted to treat the case as distinct from the RIAA ruling. The software maker argued that they operated differently in the 2009 / 2010 period the studios claim the infringements were committed, and said that the RIAA case only applied to musical works, not video.
While the dismissal is good news for LimeWire, vulture’s keep circling over the company.
Early last month LimeWire was sued by the independent music publisher Microhits, who also demand millions in damages. Microhits appears to have a preference for defunct file-sharing services as it also sued Megaupload last year, a case that’s still pending.