LimeWire Fined $103M For 'Illegal Copyright' Victory For Music Industry

Written by Oonagh Reidy     13/05/2011 | 02:04 | Category: MUSIC DOWNLOAD SITES

The free download industry received a new blow yesterday as LimeWire is convicted of violating copyright and forced to pay out millions.

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The battle between illegal download services and music industry has turned a corner with the latest ruling from the US.

Major record labels including heavyweights like 20th Century Fox, Sony and Universal announced Thursday that they have reached an out-of-court $105 million settlement with the "notorious peer-to-peer service" LimeWire and its CEO Mark Gorton.

The settlement follows a decision by federal district court Judge Kimba Wood last year to shut down LimeWire after finding both the service and Gorton personally liable for inducing copyright infringement. 

The case against the free file sharing music download service was filed by Recording Industry Association of America in 2006, accusing LiveWire, set up in 2000, of running a piracy service and thus damaging the foundations of the music industry, artists and copyright law.

And what's interesting is that Gorton, a former Wall Street trader, as the founder of the music service, was also held liable.

The record industry were looking for a far higher sum than the $103m it got - $1.4 billion to be precise.

Gorton's company denied it had dehabilitated the music industry and say file sharing is just one part of a much larger problem.

 "The record companies know and have known that their problems started well before LimeWire," Joseph Baio, LimeWire's lawyer.

"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, Recording Industry Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol, said.

"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."