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U.S. court shuts down LimeWire

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The era of peer-to-peer filesharing may be ending. Today, CNET reports that U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood issued an injunction ordering the LimeWire online service shut down. The ruling comes as a victory for the RIAA, which has been fighting Lime Wire for years, contending that it promotes the illegal download of music and costs the industry in upwards of $500 million a month. The injunction comes after the judge issued a summary judgement in May supporting the music industry and accusing Lime Wire Group’s founder, Mark Gorton, of copyright infringement, unfair competitive practices, and inducing copyright infringement.

“Using its best efforts,” Wood wrote, “Lime Wire shall use all reasonable technological means to immediately cease and desist the current infringement of the Copyrighted Works by Legacy users through the LimeWire System and Software and to prevent and inhibit future infringement of copyright works.”

“While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward,” a Lime Wire spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future.” Such a deal is unlikely as the RIAA moves on to the next portion of their suit, accusing Mark Gorton of copyright infringement and seeking damages that may exceed $1 billion.

Lime Wire’s legal music service: Spoon

Since May, Gorton and the RIAA were trying to negotiate a deal that would allow Lime Wire’s unpopular legal music service called Spoon access to licensed and legal music. However, the deal broke down when Gorton wanted LimeWire to remain operational for as long as a year to help transition users to the new service. The RIAA believed that 10 years was long enough and claimed that it loses millions every day.

“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.”

Though LimeWire is no longer active, illegal filesharing is not dead. In the past few years BitTorrent has emerged as a more popular way to share large numbers of files. Unlike Gorton, whose Lime Wire was based in New York, many BitTorrent websites are operated outside of the United States, making them more difficult to shut down.