– A federal judge has granted summary judgment for the Recording Industry Association
of America (RIAA), finding the LimeWire file-sharing service and founder Mark
Groton guilty of copyright infringement, inducement of copyright infringement
and unfair competition. The case is the first to address file-sharing since the
landmark 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in MGM v. Grokster, which found that
providers of file-sharing software could be found guilty of copyright
Since the Grokster ruling, file-sharing services including Kazaa,
eDonkey and BearShare have settled litigation with the recording industry,
while LimeWire continued to operate.
"LimeWire is one of the largest
remaining commercial peer-to-peer services," said RIAA chairman Mitch Bainwol.
"Unlike other P2P services that negotiated licenses, imposed filters or
otherwise chose to discontinue their illegal conduct following the Supreme
Court’s decision in the Grokster case, LimeWire instead thumbed its nose at the
law and creators."
The ruling also notably found LimeWire founder and
majority shareholder Mark Groton personally liable on the charges.
finding LimeWire’s CEO personally liable, in addition to his company, the court
has sent a clear signal to those who think they can devise and profit from a
piracy scheme that will escape accountability," added the RIAA’s Bainwol.
The RIAA initially sued LimeWire in 2006, seeking an injunction and damages of
$150,000 per infringement.
"LimeWire strongly opposes the Court’s recent
decision," said LimeWire CEO George Searle. "LimeWire remains
committed to developing innovative products and services for the end-user and
to working with the entire music industry, including the major labels, to
achieve this mission."
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June
1, at which time damages and a preliminary injunction that could shutter
LimeWire are likely to be discussed.
(PDF of ruling)