LimeWire to Pay $105 Million to Record Labels
LimeWire has agreed to pay record labels $105 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the file-sharing service allowed users to infringe copyright, RIAA announced late Thursday.
The settlement with 13 record companies, including labels owned by Sony Corp, Vivendi SA, Warner Music Group Corp and Citigroup Inc's EMI Group, ends nearly five years of litigation.
“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,” said RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol.
The out-of-court settlement came after a jury trial that focused on damages to be paid by LimeWire and CEO Mark Gorton began in New York last week.
LimeWire's lawyer, Joseph Baio of Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York, wasn't immediately available to comment on the settlement.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan had ruled last May that LimeWire's parents, Lime Group and Lime Wire LLC, wrongfully assisted users in pirating digital recordings.
She shut down LimeWire in October, leaving open the question of damages that could have exceeded $1 billion on roughly 10,000 recordings released since 1972. The actual extent of damage to the music industry by file sharing are likely much less than the recording industry claims, but more than services like LimeWire are willing to admit. However, the music business has also harmed itself by the major record labels’ unwillingness to bend and adapt to the digital age. Just last week, Google was forced to launch its cloud-based music service without major label support.
LimeWire, though officially dead, is supposedly still up and running. A group of music pirates brought the free service back from the dead weeks after it was officially shut down.
Founded in 2000, LimeWire has been a thorn for record companies because millions of fans used it as an easy means to find and download music for free. Its owners have said the service once had more than 50 million monthly users.