Friday, December 3, 2010

LimeWire, After Lengthy Battle, to Shut Down Dec. 31


LimeWire, the popular music file-sharing service that ran afoul of the music industry, has reached its end. The company said on Friday that it would be shutting down by the end of the year and closing its sole office in New York.

“As a result of our current legal situation, we have no choice but to wind down LimeWire Store operations,” LimeWire said in a statement. “Despite our dedication and efforts, Dec. 31, 2010, will mark the day when LimeWire Store shuts its virtual doors.”

LimeWire began as a peer-to-peer file-sharing service similar to Grokster or the first version of Napster, which allowed users to trade unauthorized music files online. (Napster is now the name of a legal streaming and downloading service.)

After being sued by the major record companies in 2006, LimeWire developed a subscription service that sold music licensed from independent labels only. The company had said recently that it was trying to create yet another paid service that would satisfy the major music labels.

But LimeWire’s endgame began in May when Judge Kimba M. Wood of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the company was liable for copyright infringement, and could be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

In October, Judge Wood ordered LimeWire to disable any “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality,” which effectively shut down its original peer-to-peer service, but the subscription service — the LimeWire Store — remained in operation.

After Judge Wood’s injunction in October, LimeWire said it was still hoping to work with the major labels on a new service, but now it has abandoned those plans. A hearing for damages in the major labels’ case against LimeWire is scheduled for January.

SOURCE