Posted by: EricC | November 12, 2010

LimeWire Out of Business

After a long and heated battle with the RIAA the New York Company “LimeWire” has been officially shutdown due to copyright infringement by the federal court system on October 27th.

If you didn’t know, LimeWire was a free and popular Peer-To-Peer (P2P) file sharing client for the Windows operating system that allowed its users to search, upload and download all types of files.  However much good people got from it, the application was truly a trafficking engine of illicit and copyrighted material.  To the naysayers, yes there were some legally free applications, music and other files being shared but statistics show that at least 93% of the content on its gnutella network was illegal.

LimeWire had been the self-proclaimed “industry standard” of P2P file sharing for the better part of a decade.  This in turn beckons the question “What was the settlement to the RIAA?”  How can you put a price on a service sharing copyrighted material for that many years?  This will soon be answered as the separate case of damages will start in January of 2011.  The statutory MINIMUM for music copyright music violations is $150,000 PER violation.  The law also goes on to say that it may total as much as (or possibly more than) $1 billion.

The RIAA is quick to call this case a victory for the recording industry.  However, one mustn’t think back too far to think of all of the other identical types of software that have come and gone as well.  Napster, Morpheus and Kazaa have all seen the same type of success only to fall at the hands of the courts and to be replaced by the next one in line.  LimeWire is likely to see similar results and the recording industry will battle them all the same.  It turns into a giant game of “whack-a-mole”; one goes down, another pops up.  As a result just think of the legal fees it is costing the RIAA to go to battle with the file sharing companies and people still continue get obtain massive amounts of copyrighted material through torrent networks (another way to illegally obtain copyrighted material).  For the RIAA it would seem to be an endless endeavor with significant cost and little reprieve.

With that in mind, it’s not just the companies that the RIAA has stepped up its battle against.  It’s also going against its users  which is likely to increase significantly in the near future.  Jaimmie Thomas, a single mother of two from Minnesota has been found guilty of copyright infringement in the nation’s first file sharing case to go before a jury.  Ms. Thomas was using a P2P file sharing program in which the RIAA downloaded around 24 songs of the reported 1700 on her computer.   The jury came back with the decision that she must pay $9,250 per song, adding up to a total of $222,000.  According to RIAA attorneys, they began to target individuals after concluding the legal system could not keep up with the file sharing dynamics of the internet and applicable services.   Thus, this is the first of several examples that we will see in the future.

Most importantly, file sharing programs often times are a haven for malware.  When you think that you’re downloading your favorite song, it can turn out that it’s a virus and then you’re infected.  This in turn can open up another bag of worms that you will not want to deal with.  In short, if you want to avoid be sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars, wish to avoid jail and don’t want malware on your pc, avoid file sharing software at all costs.

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