A U.S. District Court has ordered LimeWire to stop distributing and supporting its peer-to-peer file-sharing software, ruling that it "intentionally encourages" copyright infringement.
It's been ten years since LimeWire was originally released and it looks like all that unauthorized file sharing has finally caught up to it. Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled that LimeWire and its creator, Mark Gorton, "intentionally encouraged direct infringement" of copyright and "marketed itself to Napster users, who were known copyright infringers." As a result, the judge ordered LimeWire to disable "the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading...and/or all functionality" of its venerable P2P software.
The LimeWire website now displays a message saying, "This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyright content without authorization is illegal." Nonetheless, Lime Company CEO George Searle said in a separate message on the corporate site that while he's "disappointed with this turn of events," it's not the end of the line.
"During this challenging time, we are excited about the future. The injunction applies only to the LimeWire product. Our company remains open for business," Searle wrote.
"We remain deeply committed to working with the music industry and making the act of loving music more fulfilling for everyone - including artists, songwriters, publishers, labels, and of course music fans," he continued. "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. We'll be sharing more details about our new service and look forward to bringing it to you in the future."
But LimeWire and Gorton still face civil trouble from the Recording Industry Association of America, which told the judge that LimeWire costs record labels about $500 million per month - that's right, $500 million per month - in lost revenue. "For the better part of the last decade, Limewire and Gorton have violated the law," the RIAA said in a statement. "The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that Lime Wire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely."