LimeWire’s future has been in doubt ever since a U.S. federal judge granted the music industry’s shut down request back in October, but today the company confirmed “December 31st 2010 will mark the day when LimeWire shuts its virtual doors for good”. "As a result of our current legal situation, we have no choice but to wind down LimeWire Store operations," a company spokesman said in a prepared statement for Reuters.
LimeWire has been around since 2000 when Mark Gorton swooped in to take the place of Napster, and has been at odds with the music industry ever since. LimeWire has had its day in court many times since then, but defeat after defeat has finally forced them to throw in the towel. At one point the company was making plans to launch a separate legal music service, but even this idea was ultimately scrapped.
I suppose this means the music industry will now turn its attention to Bit Torrent next. Good luck with that one!
Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundstrom -- the three men responsible for The Pirate Bay -- were again found guilty of copyright violations, this time by the Svea Appeals Court, the Associated Press reports.
The appeals court did reduce their prison sentences from one year each down to 10 months, however the reduced sentences come at a cost. Instead of owing $4.5 million in damages, as assessed by the lower court, the appeals court raised the amount to $6.5 million.
The three men, along with Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, who didn't appear in the appeals court hearing because of an illness, have maintained that they're innocent because TBP doesn't host any copyrighted material.
It's not clear whether they will seek another appeal.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, or COICA, was recently passed through committee, and is set to move on to the full Senate. The bill would make it easier for the Justice Department to take domestic websites suspected of copyright infringement offline. It would also empower them to force ISPs to redirect traffic away from foreign infringing sites. But PC World is reporting that Senator Ron Wyden (D) from Oregon has promised to block the measure.
Wyden believes the bill is overreaching and could affect innovation on the internet. He does have the option to block it for now, which likely means the bill is dead in this session of Congress. The bill would have to be reintroduced next year. Opponents and supporters of the bill are both staunch in their positions. Supporters say drastic steps are necessary to combat rampant copyright infringement online. But the detractors believe these tools would be wielded clumsily, and would have the effect of censorship.
The bill was a bipartisan effort, but with the new atmosphere in Washington, it is unclear if the two sides will be able to bring the bill back next session. Do you think COICA is a good idea?
Things weren't looking so well for LimeWire, the peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing service the RIAA managed to shut down via a court order last month. But according to TorrentFreak.com, a secret development team has gone and brought LimeWire back from the dead, while adding a few changes in the process.
"On October 26 the remaining LimeWire developers were forced to shut down the company's servers and modify remote settings in the file sharing client to try to harm the Gnutella network. There were then laid off," a source told TorrentFreak.
"Shortly after, a horde of piratical monkeys climbed aboard the abandoned ship, mended its sails, polished its cannons, and released it free to the community."
The latest version, blatantly known as LimeWire Pirate Edition, is making the rounds via BitTorrent. TorrentFreak's name-less source says the new version differs from the original in that all dependencies on LimeWire LLC's servers have been removed, remote settings have been disabled, the Ask toolbar unbundled, and all features of LimeWire Pro have been activated for free. There's also no adware or spyware, basically leaving the core app without all the cruft, or so the source says. It also underscores the never ending battle between the MPAA/RIAA and file sharing community.
While this new version wastes no time beating around the bush, the real LimeWire founder (Mark Gorton) has been trying to reach a settlement agreement with the RIAA and music labels to turn LimeWire into a legit music distribution service, laying off 30 percent of its workforce in the process.
Rocky Balboa wrote the book on how to get your ass kicked just about every time you step into the ring, only for the most part he usually would find a way to win the bout. Jammie Thomas-Rasset? Not so much.
The convicted file sharer that we nearly forgot about got smacked around in court again and this time was hit with a $1.5 million verdict for damages related to copyright infringement. A(nother) jury of her peers found her guilty of illegally sharing 24 songs, for which she is ordered to pay $62,500 for each one.
"We are again thankful to the jury for its service in this matter and that they recognized the severity of the defendant's misconduct," the RIAA said in a statement. "Now with three jury decisions behind us along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset's willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions."
Sorry Apollo Creed, that isn't how sequels are made, and naturally Thomas-Rasset plans to appeal the ruling.
"We intend to raise our constitutional challenge again before Judge Davis," Kiwi Camara, an attorney for Thomas-Rasset, told CNet. "The fight continues."
The largest single BitTorrent suit to date doesn't belong to the MPAA or any of Hollywood's major film studios, and instead originates from Axel Braun Productions, a pornography outfit targeting 7,098 John Doe plantiffs, XBizNewswire.com reports.
Their sin? Illegally downloading and sharing "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody." For doing so, Axel Braun, acting as a one man wolf pack, has now waged war with anyone who pirates his porn and had some strong words to go along with the current lawsuit.
"F*** 'em all," Braun said. "People don't realize that when you pirate a movie it hurts all of the people who work very hard to get it produced -- from the cast to the production assistants to the makeup artists. These are people who live paycheck to paycheck, and with 'Batman XXX,' that was a film I financed myself. So we are going after every one of them who pirates our content."
After reading his comments, we can't shake the image of Butthead saying, "Heh, heh... Hey Beavis, he said 'work very hard.'" But we digress. The real point here is that Braun believes that going on a legal rampage against file sharers is a "new form of revenue for adult companies." Really? We suppose that would make him the Rambus of the adult film industry, only Rambus has never actually come out and said it so plainly.
It's no surprise that Limewire is expecting hard times after being forced to shut down their p2p client. What is a bit surprising is their determination to move the company forward and make a place in the already crowded legal music service space. According to All Things D, 30% of Limewire staff got the boot. " Following the court-ordered injunction, we reduced our work force to extend our runway for bringing our new music service to market," said Limewire CEO George Searle.
There is a project already underway at Limewire to distribute music legally. The "Grapevine" service is still an unknown quantity. We don't even know if it will use p2p technology in any way. Whichever way they go, the big labels will have to sign on for it to be a success. Do you think Limewire has a shot, or is it curtains for them?
The mega-billion entity known as Facebook has scooped up most of Drop.io's technology and assets, the file sharing firm announced in a blog post. Sam Lessin, the head of Drop.io and also a former Harvard student (just like Mark Zuckerberg), is making the move to Facebook as well.
"In the coming weeks, we'll be winding down the Drop.io service," the company said. "As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you'll be able to download content from existing drops until December 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through December 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After December 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well."
Drop.io is Facebook's eight acquisition this year and follows the social networking service's trend of snatching up companies primarily for the people involved.
"We have never once bought a company for the company. We buy companies for excellent people," Mark Zuckerberg said at this year's Startup School event at Stanford.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood effectively pulled the plug on LimeWire, issuing a permanent injunction against the company responsible for distributing the file-sharing software. According to Wood, the popular peer-to-peer application caused a "massive scale of infringement" by facilitating illegal file sharing of thousands of copyrighted works.
"While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward," a LimeWire spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future."
That may prove easier said than done. Citing un-named "music industry sources," CNet reports that LimeWire founder Mark Gorton has been trying to hammer out a settlement agreement with the RIAA for some time, at one time offering to license music from the top four record companies for Spoon, LimeWire's legal music service. However, Gorton wanted the music labels to agree to let LimeWire operate for a year (or more) while users migrate to Spoon, a notion that ultimately killed any potential deal.
"For the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and Gorton have violated the law," the RIAA said. "The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that LimeWire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely."
Court ordered damages will be levied following a trial in January.
The produces of The Hurt Locker aren't the only ones going after file shares. According to reports, three adult film producers are getting ready to send subpoenas to ISPs across the United States to obtain the identities of subscribers they claim illegally shared movies over the Internet.
Kenneth Ford, the attorney representing the film makers and who also operates an antipiracy company called Adult Copyright Company, has already been granted motions for early discovery by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, resulting in 5,000 lawsuits.
"My intention is to file suit against several thousand more illegal downloaders in the next week or two," Ford said. "The coming lawsuits will name in the neighborhood of 10,000 Doe defendants."