LimeWire to pay $105 million for assisting ‘massive’ copyright infringement

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The LimeWire saga continues. Today, the RIAA announced that it reached a $105 million out-of-court settlement with LimeWire, a now defunct file-sharing network. This settlement comes a year after after a judge ruled that the P2P network actively helped users violate music copyright laws. The network has been down since October.

“We are pleased to have reached a large monetary settlement following the court’s finding that both LimeWire and its founder Mark Gorton personally liable for copyright infringement,” said RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol. “As the court heard during the last two weeks, LimeWire wreaked enormous damage on the music community, helping contribute to thousands of lost jobs and fewer opportunities for aspiring artists. The significant settlement underscores the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in the Grokster case — designing and operating services to profit from the theft of the world’s greatest music comes with a stiff price.  The resolution of this case is another milestone in the continuing evolution of online music to a legitimate marketplace that appropriately rewards creators.  This hard fought victory is reason for celebration by the entire music community, its fans and the legal services that play by the rules.”

The actual extent of damage to the music industry by file sharing are likely much less than the recording industry claims, but more than services like LimeWire are willing to admit. However, the music business has also harmed itself by the major record labels’ unwillingness to bend and adapt to the digital age. Just last week, Google was forced to launch its cloud-based music service without major label support. The industry is also upset at Amazon, which launched a similar service allowing users to upload music to their servers so they can listen and download to them on a myriad of devices.

LimeWire, though officially dead, is supposedly still up and running. A group of feisty music pirates brought the free service back from the dead weeks after it was officially shut down.

The movie industry has also stepped up recently. It has filed lawsuits against more than 23,000 individuals who illegally downloaded films like The Expendables over Bittorrent.

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