back to article LimeWire knackered by US courts

Peer to peer (P2P) software company LimeWire induced its users to infringe copyright by the unauthorised sharing of music and film files and shares responsibility for that infringement, a US court has ruled. The ruling follows the precedent set by a case involving file-sharing network Grokster, which was found in 2005 to share …


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  1. DrStrangeLug

    Secondary Liability?

    So under this precedent doesnt General Motors now have a secondary liability for speeding tickets ?

    Doesnt Colt have a secondary liability for gunshot wounds or murders ?

    For that matter doesnt sony have a secondary liability because it produces DVD-RW drives?

  2. Rabbers

    Taking this to it's natural conclusion

    the American courts will likely in the future find that FTP server software should be banned, and Web Server software should be banned, because somebody within the manufacturing companies are aware that there are FTP and Web sites where you can download stuff. Then we'd all be stuffed!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      No you numpty.

      LimeWire fulfilled about five criteria for secondary infringement. A ruling doens't affect people creating or selling software like ftp.

      But then the "tard" isn't in "freetard" for nothing.

  3. Samo

    My first thought?

    "OH F!ck Off!!!"

    Next up, hold car companies responsable for the idiots who speed and cause vehicular manslaughter... After all, without the car, they can't possibly speed can they?!

    Oh, while you're at it, gun manufacturers, alcohol companies, rewrite-able media manufacturers etc etc ad nausem.

    Grenade, because those manufacturers need to be sued too!

  4. nichomach
    Thumb Up

    Kill it...

    ...with fire - then watch viral infection rates drop off a cliff.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Kill it.

      Yup, I was puzzled by "...unauthorised sharing of music and film files...." too.

      Judging by fact that this little turd's been the common element on most of the PC's I've had to do an Augean Stables job on over the last few years, I also thought its sole purpose was as a virus distribution mechanism.

      Apparently it shares bent meejah files too. Who knew?

      1. Stone Fox

        RE: Re Kill it

        It used to, I think it's been a few years since anyone downloaded anything other than 'computer AIDS' from limewire or any other client on the gnutella network.

        My first thought when I saw this story is 'holy sh*t! limewire still exists?!'

  5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Dangereous precident(s)

    The Lawyers will have to look at the wording of this judgment carefully. The way I quickly read it, any technology that facilitates location and downloading of copyrighted material could fall foul of the way it was worded.

    If the critical part was the filtering, then any service that allows a partially wildcarded search including words such as mp3, avi, mpg may be covered by this.

    I'm thinking search engines in particular, but even things as mundane as an FTP server could be seen to be covered by "providing direct infringers with a product that enables infringement".

    You would have to ask whether ARPA and UC Berkeley are also liable for laying the groundwork for the Internet as a whole!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Another p*llock talking about FTP


      There's even a link to the ruling in the first Reg story.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        My bad.

        OK, I neglected to read a link from the original article. That's a fair criticism of my comment, but I stand by my dangerous precedent title, especially when used in contributory copyright infringement. I just chose a bad example. BTW, as far as I can see (I've not actually read the complete Grokster ruling, just the LimeWire one), I would say that Andrew Orlowski's comment on FTP client software (note he quotes client rather than server) is his interpretation, as I cannot see a reference to it in any quote or summary of the judgments.

        Having actually now read the judgment for this case, which includes summaries of the Grokster ruling, it is clear that the article has cherry-picked very selective statements, one of which I picked up on. By this is a TINY part of the ruling, and one which actually appears to be in dispute as to whether the SONY-BETAMAX judgment is applicable to P2P services with regard to alternate legitimate uses. There appears to be a lot of 'mostly' qualifications that are woolly and open to interpretation.

        The problem is that the text of the ruling is detailed and long, and it has been summarized to death, leading important associations being missed out.

        So. I'm sorry I did not do due diligence, but that is a danger in using news sites and commenting when you don't have the time to read all referenced material.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          You run a service that's almost entirely used for illegal purposes - infringement

          You make no attempt to curtail this illegal usage

          You make no attempt to pursue legal options

          You profit from all this

          Get it. yet? It's like running a currency counterfeiting operation, you are doing something you shouldn't. It doesn't matter that you use legal ink.

          The result was fair and the only reasonable outcome. Quit whining.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


            I'm *NOT* defending LimeWire. If you have read any of my other posts mentioning copyright infringement, you will spot that I say frequently that I buy my media, even downloads, and only in very exceptional circumstances (such as the material not being available on any download service or purchasable in shops or online) would I even think of downloading it. I am not a registered LimeWire or MP3 or torrent search site user, and I resent you implication that I am.

            But what I am actually saying as if you take the extract quoted in the article at face value (and not qualified by the caveats in the actual ruling), then it could be used to prevent a service from being available even if it has acceptable uses, merely because it *could* be used for unacceptable purposes. The qualifications in the ruling clarify this, but the article did not.

            As I said in my reply, I commented on the article, which did not have the qualifications of the actual ruling. But I was trying to make a point about overly-wide judgements that could be used to block legitimate uses of the Internet.

            Many of the people who comment about so called fretards are shortsighted enough to have a protocol blacklisted or blocked merely because it *can* be used for copyright infringement. The current favorite is bittorrent. Bittorrent as a protocol is content-neutral, but can and is being used to distribute copyright material. I've heard many people state that the protocol should be banned, even when it can be easily demonstrated that one of it's original uses (Linux distribution) is still in use.

            If you are able to successfully make the case that Bittorrent as a whole should be blocked, then by implication, so should any other mechanism that *could* be used to distribute copyright material against the copyright. Because Bittorrent, Kazaar, eDonkey, eMule and any number of other protocols grew up as unregistered protocols, to take this to it's ultimate conclusion requires you to block all but allowed protocols on the Internet so a new protocol cannot be developed. So, no ftp or SSH on the internet, and no new innovations with new protocols.

            For an analogy. you do not prevent someone from sending photocopies of books through the post by shutting the postal service down. Content neutral protocols on the 'net should be the same.

            From your tone, I take it that you approve of whatever the courts and primary legislation turn out, regardless of whether it is just or moral, or if it infringes on personal freedoms. I suggest that you look at the wider picture, and hope that we never get to the world you appear to want.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    LimeWire promoted infringement, for example, placing advertisements on Google for keywords like “replacement napster” and “kazaa morpheus", specifically targeting people who wanted to share copyrighted music. The analogies do not hold up because car companies do not market specifically at people who want to commit vehicular homicide.

    1. M Gale

      Unlike BMW...

      ...who simply show adverts of their cars driving sideways and saying how driving should be "fun".

      Not that driving sideways isn't fun, but this could be construed as encouraging people to do so on public roads, which as I understand is rather illegal. Not that I've ever sat and watched a lamp post rotating a foot away from the front bumper while the rear wheels kick up snow and ice. Oh no, not me.

  7. Paolo Marini

    Particularly true

    The car manufacturer analogy is particularly interesting as I suppose they always/often advertise the car's maximum speed, driving at which would surely be an illegal activity on all local and national routes... makes one think

  8. Paolo Marini

    What is this nonsense?

    "engaged in purposeful conduct that encouraged copyright infringement with the intent to encourage such infringement,"

    The reason why I never understand lawyers lingo and lawmakers lingo...

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Up

      Sounds like...

      They deliberately enabled pirating.

      If they advertised "latest film, just out at the cinema, not available to buy" then they encouraged it, if BMW said "to do doughnuts on the public highway, you need to take traction control off" or "launch control, there so you can be the fastest to race from the traffic lights" then it's over the line, a TV advert demonstrating sideways heroism may be borderline (and advertising standards do recieve complaints) but it sounds like Limewire didn't even pretend to offer a legal service (let alone limit what could be shared).

  9. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down


    Isn't just for Christmas and dictators.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Sony / video / DVD

    Sony should now be stripped of all their profits from any sales of video and dvd recorders, as well as any profit from the music and film industry...

    If they didn't market these goods, no-one would be able to copy them using equipment bought from Sony themselves - who encouraged such secondary infringement by providing the equipment in the first place !

    Talk about having your cake and eating it...

  11. Dave Cheetham

    Bloody good show!

    You morons think it only affects music and films. It is all aspects of software development that get screwed by pirate copies. Grow up!

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