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RIAA Wins Major Court Ruling Against Limewire

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The RIAA and the major labels have won a major court ruling against LimeWire which, much like previous lawsuits with Grokster, Kazaa and Morpheus, contends that the service deliberately encouraged users to violate copyrights and profited from the infringements. The court ruling listed 5 factors that, taken together, establish that LimeWire “intended to encourage “ infringement: 1) LW's awareness of substantial infringement by users, 2) their efforts to attract infringing users, 3) their efforts to enable and assist users to commit infringement, 4) LW's dependence on infringing use for the success of its business; and 5) a failure to mitigate infringing activities.

In the judge's opinion LimeWire's effort to create a legal music service proved that LimeWire understood the the problems of filesharing and could easily have done more to stop it. For example, the company had built a filter that blocked the downloading of copyrighted materials, but users had to turned it on themselves. In contrast, a similar filter in the LimeWire's own music store which barred users from sharing songs they bought there was always operational.

“This selective filtering further demonstrates LW's knowledge of infringement-mitigating technologies and the company's intentional decision not to employ any such technologies in a way that meaningfully deters LimeWire users' infringing activities... is a strong indicator of intent to foster infringement."

The parties respond:

LimeWire CEO George Searle shot back in a defiant official statement: LimeWire strongly opposes the Court's recent decision. LimeWire remains committed to developing innovative products and services for the end-user and to working with the entire music industry, including the major labels, to achieve this mission. We look forward to our June 1 meeting with Judge Wood."

RIAA head Mitch Bainwol disagreed: “LimeWire is one of the largest remaining commercial peer-to-peer services. Unlike other P2P services that negotiated licenses, imposed filters or otherwise chose to discontinue their illegal conduct following the Supreme Court's decision in the Grokster case, LimeWire instead thumbed its nose at the law and creators. The court's decision is an important milestone in the creative community's fight to reclaim the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce. By finding LimeWire's CEO personally liable, in addition to his company, the court has sent a clear signal to those who think they can devise and profit from a piracy scheme that will escape accountability."

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