back to article LimeWire induces infringement, Judge rules

A US District Court has has ruled that the company behind the LimeWire P2P software is responsible for inducing copyright infringement, even though the software theoretically has quite legitimate, non-infringing uses. It's likely to be the end for the company, which markets the most popular file sharing client worldwide. The …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "How much wealthier artists and investors might be"?

    I'm not sure that establishing legitimate P2P-based music services would have led to any more money funnelling its way down to the artist/s. More money spent on music overall? Perhaps. But we're not yet far enough away from the Big Labels CD Price-Fixing fiasco of the 90s for me to come over all naively optimistic and assume that the chief objective of the labels is to make more money and give it to the artists.

    1. Puck

      "big labels cd price fixing fiasco of the 90s"?!

      Hello, so, you're saying that competition can be induced between labels who have exclusive artist signings? Doesn't your theory rather erroneously presuppose that one artist is an adequate substitute for another, that, say, people might buy Menswear because their album is cheap, rather than Belle and Sebastian because it's good?

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: "big labels cd price fixing fiasco of the 90s"?!

        *suppresses urge to take vociferous issue with Belle and Sebastian assertion*

        1. Puck

          @ Sarah

          Did you mean at B&S's music being any good, or my spiel being (what I realise is) a bit arrogant and wrong, or both?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      1990s price fixing?

      1990s? That's a long time ago.

      But then it's a long time to go without a shag too.

      You sound like you just don't want to pay for anything, and are desperate for excuses to justify your behaviour.

  2. The Indomitable Gall

    YouTube next...?

    They may not actively encourage people to infringe, but they're certainly not doing a hell of a lot about it, and they're doing it for the good of their own wallets....

  3. Algernon

    quit right.

    microsoft sells and markets OS's that allow and encorage copyright infringment too. They specifically allow these programs to run.

    Oh yeah, and Intel and AMD and others provide hardware that allows copyright infringment.

    And the ISP's provide and market services that allow people to access copyright protected material.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Try to follow the point ...

      And they market the O/S and hardware as fit for the purpose of infringing copyright, and distributing content which they're not legally authorised to distribute do they?

      No, they don't. However, limewire did, which was the reason the court came to the decision it did, if you're able to read and understand.

      1. I didn't do IT.

        Re: Try to follow the point...

        "And they market the O/S and hardware as fit for the purpose of infringing copyright, and distributing content which they're not legally authorised to distribute do they?"

        Its not that they explicitly said that it to be used for infringement, its that they did nothing when the (l)users expressed infringement as the purpose of using it. Just because you market a really nice product that keeps your lawn green does not mean that people won't buy it to poison the next door neighbor's dog/cat/kid/husband.

        There are a couple things here to note:

        1) Limewire's EULA stated that they were not responsible for the customer's action. This means that (at least this) claim in EULAs is now open to attack (including Microsoft's).

        2) The "inability to act" upon user's expressed uses of the product (not just software, mind), is now to be taken as encouragement. This means that we will be seeing many more restrictive practices and "safeguards" in products (particularly software) to show that Somthing Is Being Done(tm).

        So yes, this decision is a precursor to more customer dissatisfaction. Of course, as music/media is "licensed" now anyway (just like software)... that means that mash-ups and other "derived" works that might offend someone could soon be traced back to the original artist/distributor/licenser, because any EULA claim's of "not responsible for customer usage" is now on its way to being defunct; any "Fair Use" be damned. Even unmodified works would be open to this regardless of intent; simply putting out a movie that might offend some extreme viewpoint is now open to attack due to the whole "licensing" scheme... if this is carried to its "logical" conclusion.

        So, United Features Syndicate and Universal being sued by Islamic leaders for certain political cartoons (or cartoons with added "text") - and UFS losing (or overturning this "precident")? If an "extremist" group wins a lawsuit from a US company, can the company claim they won't pay because it would be contributing to terrorism? How long before they label "freetards" as the next terrorist threat (for disrupting and damaging the economy)? Why not just put out product in convenient forms for reasonable prices?

  4. austint
    Thumb Down


    ...the nest of more viruses per download than any other source on the web.

    1. JimC
      Thumb Up

      > the nest of more viruses...

      Well yes, that's what you'd expect. As any fraudster will tell you its much easier to con someone who's dishonest than someone who's honest...

  5. Wize

    This should apply to Google too

    I'm not saying that to try and get Google shut down, I'm saying it because they have bigger lawyers. They return search results for anyone looking for pirate material too.

    Now that Limewire is being dragged up before the beak, can anyone else suggest a good bit of software for downloading linux distributions and copyright expired material?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: This should apply to Google too

      "Now that Limewire is being dragged up before the beak, can anyone else suggest a good bit of software for downloading linux distributions and copyright expired material?"

      Well, as you mentioned Google yourself, you could always try searching for the linux distro you want using that...

      It might even help you search for copyright expired material too...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Copyright expired material

        You should know by now that such a thing doesn't exist. Anything made before copyright was instated in [your/my/their] country was obviously published in paper or book form. And all such material will be subsumed by Google's scanning efforts so copyright [is/will be] instated under that publishing date for Google as soon as it becomes "available".

        Just wait, we will soon have all the planets aligned for Google to copyright its search results, under license, of course, and then you're nicked.

  6. Number6

    "And how much wealthier artists and investors might be, too."

    And how much poorer record companies might be, having been bypassed.

    That's why it didn't work, they had a death grip and couldn't be prised off.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: "And how much wealthier artists and investors might be, too."

      I remember in the early 90s seeing an interview where a famous recording artist was aked what they made from each CD sold. Less than a pound. He was fighting so that he got two pounds...

      CDs at the time were about £8 or £9. I was amazed that the record company, CD manufacturers and distributers got so much. Especially when I made a run of CDs for my band. A small run (25 CDs) cost me £45...

      It still costs £8 or £9 to download the tracks from some places - where does the money go?!?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        You're an idiot

        Most downloads are about £5.

        If you pay £9 you're a mug. Quit whining and pay up.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    No, don't touch LimeWire!

    If they shutdown LimeWire all the 8 year olds and the muppets will move over to the torrents then IRC!

    Keep LimeWire running, to keep the plebs who want an easy way to get caught, sorry get free stuff!

  8. Doug Glass

    Ahhh Theives ....

    ... your time is comng. Pretty soon you'll have to purchase what you want. Or why not just walk into you local store and walk out with what you believe is yours? After all it is yours to take right? Oh yeah, that's right, it's on the internet so that makes it yours for the taking. Gee whiz kiddies, such a hard life.

    How about: don't buy movies, don't buy misic, don't use anything the entertain industry offers. But then I have a real life with live people and non internet entertainment. Us old farts just may know something the oh-so-connected generation doesn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Doug Glass

      I hate to burst your bubble and spoil your misinformed rant.

      It isn't theft it's copyright infringement so your shoplifting analogy is just hot air.

      That’s why Pirates don't get arrested.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Ahhh, blowhard.

      Theft analogy fail aside:

      "But then I have a real life with live people and non internet entertainment. "

      Yet despite all ths non-interent entertainment provide by live people in REALLIFE ©®, here you are on the intertubes trying to score points against all people you look down on.

      The irony burns......

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Ahhh Theives ....

    Thievery is wrong.

    Illegal downloads are the only way to get some out-of print albums.

    They're also the only way to get the UK edition of some films from the 60s and 70s (albeit in very low quality). The manufacturers tend to release the US edition worldwide...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      There are always record collectors shops, ebay etc... I recently managed to replace several treasured CDs and vynl using this method...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Morally what is the difference between buying an album second hand and downloading it on the internet? In both cases the original artist does not get any money for their work. Why do you feel morally superior for having given money to a second hand music dealer and e-bay?

        If - as in the original post - the album is out of production then no-one is losing out by downloading it. If the album is still in production then buying a cheap second-hand copy that the artist gets nothing for is surely not morally much better than freetarding it off the web anyway?

        1. I didn't do IT.

          Re: No moral difference

          I agree - there is no "moral" difference between downloading and buying a second-hand copy. There is an ETHICAL difference because the second-hand copy passes completely; if the original download site deleted their copy after you downloaded it, it would then be a complete analogy.

          However, I do agree that downloading is sometimes THE ONLY WAY to get or view some of our shared culture (movies, music, etc), that is not released anymore.

          It is especially saddening to know the reason the copyright owners don't release it anymore is because they don't want (better) competition for the current tat they try to huckster to the current collective consciousness.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            I am not convinced there is that much of an ethical difference.

            I have a copy of an old CD, I give it to a friend who listens to it for a few days then gives it back to me and I give it to my next friend, this time he listens to it for a while then passes it on to one of his friends. (etc).

            If this is ethically acceptable then so is copying the CD and giving it to my friends. The artist and the record lable are suffering the same level of "loss" in either situation. One gives me and my friends a bit more usability out of the music but that cant be the arbritrator of an ethical dillema.

            The ethical issue is whether or not you think that each person should pay the original artist a royalty each time they get hold of the CD. If you think its ok to not pay them (second hand sales for example) then it is ethically just as correct to share the music electronically.

            If it is ethically wrong to deprive the artist (yeah, yeah) then surely it is equally wrong to purchase music (or whatever) second hand? The second hand market deprives the record label of sales no matter how you describe it. Just because I can only sell one of my CDs doesnt mean that they have lost less money, it just means I have made less.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          No, in the case of buying second hand the artist/rights holder has already had the money for that particular copy when is was first sold. With copying and distributing a copy of a work the artist/rights holder doesn't get any money for the copy. Anyway, I don't feel morally superior ,if something was genuinely not available and I really wanted it that would be a situation where I would consider consider copying the work.

    2. James Butler
      Thumb Down

      Unclear on the concept

      For those of you who are new to this planet, there is a HUGE difference between selling that old vinyl record album to one individual who could then sell it to one other individual and providing a nice, clean digital copy for download by thousands of individuals who could then provide their digital copy to thousands of other individuals.

      In the first instance, there is a physical unit that was the basis for the distribution of the material and its accounting. In the second instance you have a perfect digital reproduction made from the original material that has in no way been accounted for. There is no physical unit to base the accounting on, and the digital copies are additional product that have been illegally included in the distribution stream.

      A vinyl record album cannot be copied perfectly ... it's physically impossible to do so, and there will ALWAYS be loss of fidelity. This means that the ONLY "clean" version of a vinyl record is the original copy. A digital copy can ALWAYS be recorded perfectly with no loss of audio fidelity, which means that every copy is just as perfect as the original.

      A vinyl record album gets damaged each time it is played, resulting in deteriorating audio quality as time goes on. This means that the original disc becomes less and less useful as a copy source as time goes on. A digital copy never deteriorates, and remains perfect for generating new perfect copies for its entire lifespan. (Yeah yeah ... I have some awesome stereo equipment, too, and the damage done from playing a record on my system is not so much, but every record is ALWAYS damaged a bit from the simple act of dragging the metal stylus through the softer vinyl groove.)

      Digital downloads provide an exact copy of the material, which keeps that much money out of the pockets of those who created the material because there is zero incentive to purchase another exact digital copy.

      Vinyl record re-sales do nothing to harm the revenue stream, because the sale of that physical property already happened, and any buyer who wanted a "pristine" version would need to purchase a fresh vinyl edition to obtain it, resulting in more revenue for the creators.

      Comparing vinyl to digital is a fools errand, and an argument that is supported by claiming the two are in any way similar is an argument made by a fool.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Unclear on your point

        Who made an argument that compared vinyl to digital? Are you new to reading?

        1 - your argument appears to support the idea that the unethical thing about selling digital files is not that you are depriving the artist with their royalties but that you are selling lots of copies. If I sell one MP3 rip of a CD is that OK in your book?

        2 - you appear to be arguing that it is ethical for music producers to restrict what you can do with technological advances simply because you couldnt do it in the past. Now that is just bizarre.

        3 - You also appear to be arguing that it is ethical for content producers to build in a system by which after time you have to go and re-purchase what they have sold you.

        However the most glaring fails appear to be:

        "Vinyl record re-sales do nothing to harm the revenue stream, because the sale of that physical property already happened,"

        That is nonsense. They do harm the revenue stream because a sale has happened and the original artist has had no revenue. Yes *some* may go on to buy an original because they dont like the odd hiss, but they are a minority. My entire second hand record collection is perfectly listenable and there is nothing in it so bad I would go and buy a new one. In fact, try buying most of them new now...

        This weak argument falls down even more with CDs.

        When you purchase content you either have the right to resell it on or you dont. Any argument to the contrary is made by a fool.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. MinionZero

    Like the icon says, WTF?! ...

    @"A US District Court has has ruled that the company behind the LimeWire P2P software is responsible for inducing copyright infringement, even though the software theoretically has quite legitimate, non-infringing uses."

    So by that same logic, glass bottle manufacturers are responsible for Molotov Cocktail attacks.

    Also house brick manufacturers are responsible for broken windows.

    Also pipe manufacturers are responsible for assaults with a deadly weapon.

    plus news just in, kitchen knife manufacturers should be arrested for helping murderers.

    The point being that just because someone can use your product for bad, illegal uses, doesn't inherently make that product bad.

    Which just goes to show up just how crazy this US District Court is and how deeply they are being influenced by the FUD stories coming from the media industries.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Freetard Fail

      You didn't get past that first paragraph did you, freetard boy?

      If you did you would know that a FTP is OK. LimeWire was not FTP, it was tied to a service used for infringement, it was marketed for infringement, the company marketing for infringement.

      If you'd read the story you'd know that. But reading it would spoil that wouldn't it?


      1. Doshu

        Tall words...

        ...from an anonymous coward.

        I think the point he was trying to make was that there's something sinister in attacking certain legitimate technologies because of abuses perpetrated by users outside the confines of a disclaimer or licence agreement.

        A point i consider valid regardless of my opinion of limewire.

        1. J 3

          As Doshu said

          Yeah, it's always a weird argument.

          Whenever something like the following:

          "A US District Court has has ruled that the company behind the LimeWire P2P software is responsible for inducing copyright infringement, even though the software theoretically has quite legitimate, non-infringing uses."

          I do the substitution in my head, and wonder what some people would be saying about it:

          "A US District Court has has ruled that the company behind the PT92 pistol is responsible for inducing murder, even though the gun theoretically has quite legitimate, non-infringing uses."

          So? What uses has a gun besides hurting living things? Target shooting is all I can think of right now (which I do enjoy, by the way). Is target shooting what the gun marketing emphasizes? Didn't think so. It's all about "defending yourself", which is an euphemism for "shoot other people if necessary". Now, could that be seen as inducement of anything?

        2. MinionZero

          To put the records straight...

          @Anonymous Coward, you are a troll. I suspect with the strength of your need to suppress my comments (whilst totally ignoring what I say), is very likely a strong indicator you could very well be a professional music or film industry troll, sent out to troll the popular web sites. (A sadly common trick from companies like Sony who use professional advertising trolls and professional music industry trolls).

          @Doshu, thanks for your support, but I wasn't implying anything sinister in attacking certain legitimate technologies. Instead this whole biased case reeks of Cognitive Dissonance.

          There are many examples in society where something can be used for illegal purposes, yet the object itself is perfectly legal. For example I can pickup my PC and crash it down on a colleagues head killing them instantly. Do we then as a society declare all PC's as deadly weapons and ban them? ... No, because we see that the object used is separate from the crime. If someone pickup up a brick and hits another person over the head and kills them, the brick isn't evil. Its just a brick. We use bricks all the time to make our buildings, including for example, homes and hospitals. Bricks are useful. Bricks are good. But someone can *choose* to use a brick for illegal activities. That doesn't make the brick itself illegal, it makes the *activity illegal*.

          Therefore the activity of file sharing *music* can be declared illegal (if society wishes), yet the activity of file sharing *data* isn't illegal, therefore the *tools of file sharing data* are also not illegal.

          Trolls like that Anonymous Coward want us to believe file sharing itself is illegal. Its this kind of twisted thinking that the media industries are trying to use as a weapon against file sharing. This "secondary copyright infringement 2005 Grokster ruling" is all part of this long term game to manipulate society into banning (and/or spying on) all forms of file sharing. Its just one of a number of chess moves used to move nearer suppression and/or spying on all data, just so the media distributors can stay in power.

          The media *distribution* side of the media industries originally grew very powerful from controlling the distribution of physical media. Their need to control is inherently central to their business plan and it always has been, therefore the whole Internet is a threat to that failing business plan. We don't need media distribution because the Internet is now that means of distribution, yet the media distributors are so powerful they will not die, instead they are twisting the legal system and the whole of society around just to keep themselves in business and in power over distribution.

          Performance artists of all kinds have earned a living for centuries without the need of a distribution side to their business. That is because they earn a living from *performances*. So stage performances, live acting, music whatever. The Internet in the near future, holds the key to provide live streaming for new performances for artists to give them all more followers than at any time in history. It holds huge potential for them. Imagine a future say a decade from now, with say the first billion viewer live Internet concert. Imagine the first billion viewer Internet film premiere. Imagine paying only £1 to see that concert or film. Thats incredible amounts of money. Artists will be able to reach ever more customers without the need of the ever power hungry control freak distributors. These distributor companies need to die. Any other industry that the Internet has transformed can't game the legal system to keep themselves in business. They simply adapt to the Internet or die.

          This legal case is extremely twisted and its twisted because the media industry is trying to twist it.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Reading. Comprehension. Fail

            The Grokster case established that these systems are guilty of infringement. The LimeWire system was also guilty of massive infringement, in totality, and because the people behind it profited from it, they are responsible for secondary infringement.

            Simples. Now is that hard for you to understand? All the Judge did was deny LimeWire a get-out-of-jail-free card. No other ruling would have been sensible. The rest of your post reads like a paranoid 13-year old.

            "Artists will be able to reach ever more customers"

            They should, but no thanks to freetard failures like you, who find every pathetic reason they can to justify stealing, and to justify not paying the artists.

            You are not the artists friend. The artists know this. You have failed in life.

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down


      "because someone can use your product for bad, illegal uses, doesn't inherently make that product bad."

      Maybe, although that seems irrelevant here.

      What made limewire bad was all the junk it installed on kids computers. I nearly made a living cleaning up after it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So any form of communication with my peers must be well out of order then, as said communication could involve bits or even bytes that belong to someone else - whether intentionally or by chance.

    So the inter-tubes had better just be used to disseminate centrally-approved copyright-free information. And if I want to talk to my friends, well... err... I suppose the government censor could be involved, or I could just go down the pub instead. But doing it willy-nilly over the internet is definitely out, what with me being a law-abiding citizen and all.


  13. Anonymous Coward

    just because

    the labels and recording artists completely missed the boat on perhaps the biggest boon to low overhead distribution avenues doesn't mean that what the freetards are doing is any less illegal.

    1. mego

      @just because

      Just because some are using the facilities for illegal transmissions doesn't make the service illegal.

      Now I'd be surprised if (in the coming months) we don't hear Linux distributors - or heck, computer distributors - we all know open-sourcetards use computers and Linux for sharing their illegal wares right?

      And what about those diabolical computer shops? Computers are used all the time to commit crime innit? So they should also be brought to book for their part in enabling crime

      What about tertiary education - Universities and Colleges around the Yoo-Ess - that educate these students who develop this filthy software on their illegal computers? Shouldn't they also be brought to book?

      Get real.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Another bozo who didn't RTFA

        Are all Freetard this dumb? You can write ftp or torrent software and build a SAN box. But you need to do a helluva lot more to get caught for secondary infringement. Like building a global network for illegal music sharing for example.

        If you can't see the difference, get a grown-up to explain it for you. I hope they bring a fresh change of nappies.

  14. Rattus Rattus

    Limewire, what a blast from the past.

    That's so five years ago. The kiddies have moved on since then, and this case will do absolutely nothing to reduce piracy. Perhaps one day the labels will understand that using the stick without offering a carrot will always be doomed to failure.

  15. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Would everyone that appears to be happy with 'sharing' (aka getting their stuff for free') be happy then to walk into their local HMV with a laptop, pick up a CD and sit in the corner and rip it before putting the CD back and walking out?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022