Great news if you're feeling nostalgic for the halcyon days of the middle of the last decade, that era when the music industry's battles with file-sharing networks left the Internet scattered with the burnt-out shells (ahem, legitimate music stores) of Napster and Kazaa. Yesterday, a U.S. District Court judge ordered LimeWire, one of the increasingly scarce peer-to-peer file sharing networks, to cease operations of its searching, downloading, file trading and distribution features immediately.
The decision came down as a part of a lawsuit filed against LimeWire in 2006 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the body which represents the interests of the many record labels, including the four remaining major labels (EMI, Sony, Universal, and Warner).
Lime Group, the owner of the LimeWire software, was found liable of copyright infringement in the lawsuit in May. Lime Group has also been ordered to "use all reasonable technological means to immediately cease and desist the current infringement" pursued by users who had downloaded the application before the decision.
Visitors to Limewire.com are now blocked from entering the site, which now displays a legal notice proclaiming:
This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.
LimeWire's digital music store is still in operation, but it can only sell songs licensed by the recording's owner, which means that most of the top songs on the site are on labels not represented by the RIAA. Recent releases by Katy Perry (on Capitol, which is owned by EMI), Neil Young (on Reprise, owned by Warner), Kenny Chesney (on Sony Nashville) and Rick Ross (on Def Jam, owned by Universal) are not available on the site.