Updates to this story
Limewire, once a popular P2P file sharing client in the same vein as Napster, Kazaa, eDonkey, Soulseek and numerous others, has finally bitten the dust. It had been in trouble this year with the culmination of a 2006 lawsuit by the RIAA but District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan has finally ordered the service to be shut entirely - that is, to disable search, downloading, uploading, any file trading of its software and a block on unauthorised music file sharing.
The Judge Kimba Wood wrote in her order: "Plaintiffs have suffered - and will continue to suffer - irreparable harm from Limewire's inducement of widespread infringement of their wires," reports the WSJ.
Chief executive at Limewire, George Searle, mentioned he is "disappointed" and has "no option but to cease further distribution and support of our software." Searle also mentioned that he and his company are proud of their "pioneering technology" and for years have been working "hard to bridge the gap between technology and content rights holders."
The RIAA is figuring out how much it wants to charge for damages and legal fees now, with another court appearance expected in January next year.
The RIAA is no doubt chuffed with itself. The problem is, for years Limewire has been the playground of the computer illiterate or very casual file sharer. People trading files on Limewire may well have been doing so illegally but it is no major victory - source releases of music tend to come from leaks within the recording industry, not the 15 year old who's after a single Kanye West track.
The creative industries and their aggressive lawyers finally realised this, to an extent, by going after Usenet indexer Newzbin. They may think they have torrents covered by posting virtual honeytraps serving popular music and bullying ISPs for personal details of copyright infringers, but the fact is there is a slew of private communities serving music through various means. Torrent is only one of them. Even a Megadownload, RapidShare or Google search can be used to find copyrighted material.
By closing down Limewire the RIAA has achieved little. It makes an example of a dead technology which is more about revenge and making a point than the damage it has done to recording artists.
We point you again to this infographic at Information is Beautiful which says, to make the minimum wage in the US, a recording artist will need over four million plays per month on perfectly legal music streaming service Spotify.