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The RIAA and NMPA are each seeking as much as $150B USD from Limewire. By contrast, the entire U.S. music industry made less than $10B USD in 2008, according to the RIAA.  (Source: San Diego Serenade)

Limewire is the most used peer-to-peer engine today, having been downloaded over 200 million times.  (Source: Myce)
NMPA seeks as much as $150B USD from Limewire; lawsuits may do little to slow filesharing though

Napster fell.  Kazaa fell.  And now the RIAA is waging an all out war to try to ensure Limewire follows in its P2P ancestors' footsteps.

Even as the move industry turns its efforts to suing thousands of BitTorrent users, the music industry is waging its own hard-fought war against filesharers.  After a long and unprofitable legal crusade, the RIAA has largely turned its efforts to lobbying the government to take up the mantle of tracking and prosecuting filesharers.

With the upcoming Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement the RIAA may have scored its biggest victory -- making it a felony crime to develop P2P engines that become used to distribute infringed content.

Not content to wait for the vote on that measure, music labels have taken the fight to one of the most-downloaded filesharing engines, Limewire.  Since the descent of Napster and Kazaa into legal and financial purgatory, Limewire has emerged as perhaps the most recognizable P2P engine.

The RIAA -- the music industry attack dog -- sue Limewire for $150,000 per infringed song way back in 2006.  However, LimeWire founder Mark Gorton had frustrated the labels for almost four years.  In May the labels secured a major victory -- a summary judgment against Limewire for copyright infringement, engaged in unfair competition, and induced copyright infringement.

Last month the RIAA accused Gorton of shifting his money to avoid paying damages from the case.  They have appealed to the courts to try to have his assets frozen.  They also filed a motion to have Limewire's services shut down.

Now a coalition of four major labels -- EMI, Sony/ATV, Universal and Warner/Chappell -- and four independent labels -- Bug, MPL, Peermusic and the Richmond Organization -- have filed a brand new suit against the popular program.  Represented by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the labels filed suit in Southern District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday.  

In the suit, they also seek $150,000 USD per song distributed -- the maximum for willful infringement.  Limewire constitutes 58 percent of the P2P traffic online, according to the NPD Group.  Limewire software has been downloaded 200 million times, including over 340,000 downloads in the last week.

Limewire has a legal music store, which offers over 2 million DRM-free tracks for sale.  However, the service is also thought to host well over a million infringed tracks.  That puts a conservative estimate of the amount sought in the new suit at $150B USD.

Even with Limewire's dominant position in the P2P industry there's no way it could pay that much in damages, as its assets sit in the millions, not billions.  It's hard to say what will happen in the case, but things thus far are clearly not going Limewire's way.

Ultimately one possibility would be a settlement, which would allow Limewire's music store to stay open and continue paying damages to the RIAA and NMPA (the two groups that have filed suit).  It remains to be seen, though, whether users would stick with the service if it went legit or leave it, as has traditionally happened throughout filesharing history (with services such as Kazaa and Napster).



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By chick0n on 6/18/2010 8:28:15 AM , Rating: 5
I bet 149.9999B will go into those greedy fucks at RIAA/NMPA hands.

Yada Yada Yada yeaaaa income has fallen blah blaah blah, it has a lot to do with Privacy, I admit that. but on the other hand, if they would stop making crappy/garbage music then maybe I will think of buying something ?

Last time I bought a CD was like at least 10 years ago. Not because I don't like Music, Its just that there wasn't anything IMO worth my 10-20 bux. The musics are so bad that I don't even bother to try to "download" it. Yep, this is how bad it is.

Funny thing is I didn't buy cd for the last 10 years, but I did bought a Michael Jackson Album on Amazon couple months ago(mp3). Cuz I think his music is great. and its sad to see King of Pop to go like that.

So go suck it RIAA/NMPA




By Aloonatic on 6/18/2010 8:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
If you need help shooing the kids off your lawn, or crossing the street, let me know old man? :-p

Pricing has come down a bit, and now that you can buy individual tracks easily, it's not that expensive to get the music that you want these days. Buying complete albums is in the past for many people, but if you want to, then so be it. It's not really that bad, but I think that you are looking at the industry in an old fashioned, physical media, album delivered way.

I'm not saying that music shouldn't be cheaper though. Now that CDs don't need to be pressed, shipped, put on shelves, kept warm and dry, rung through a till etc, I don't see why they can't do more with the price, but if people are happy to pay what they are (buying less, so not minding paying the price) then that's what it's worth.

In saying that, they do need to start acting like a free market, if they want free market protection though. Price fixing and cartel behaviour is accepted in the music industry, all so that we can all benefit from a "fair" chart. The number 1 can't be the cheapest track out there, but has to meet a minimum dealer price etc. Nonsense, let people sell their music for whatever they want to sell it for.

Personally, I don't much care, as like you I haven't heard much that I wanted to buy for a while, and everything that's new get played to death on the radio for a month or 3 before it's even released too, but my wife still buys music (on iTunes of all places, I know, I've tried to get her to change, but she has an iPod...) and there is still much that needs to be done in the industry.

/rambling comment


By chick0n on 6/18/2010 10:01:55 AM , Rating: 4
Im sure I know how to buy individual tracks.

my original statement might not be clear. I should've said

"Today's music does not even worth 99 cents"

Thats how I see it. Cuz its all garbage, you dont even need to sing well to be a singer anymore, computer will fix it for you. Thats why all the music/singing sound so robotic these days.

I better spend that 99 cents on a bottle of poland spring than giving it to these garbage/Greedy RIAA/Music company.

P.S. : Same goes for movies.


By plowak on 6/18/2010 10:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
Do give up yet, there's a wealth of music categories (I would have said genre, but I don't know how to spell it) out there that you've probably never heard of. Heck, I didn't start listening to techno and trance till my late 60's - now I'm deeply into psibient while I've got a few brain cells left. I explore music on YouTube, you've heard of YouTube aint'cha?

War's my teeth, "Maude, you seen mt teeth?"


By hughlle on 6/18/2010 10:43:06 AM , Rating: 2
it is to each their own. i have listened all over the web for famous bands and bands noone has heard of. 95% of it is utter crap.


By Runiteshark on 6/20/2010 1:48:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think the thing that pisses me off with electronica (techno, dubstep, trance etc);

Is that you always have some jackass kid that just learned how to use fruityloops or some generator, or some crappy dj who figured out who to spin the same beat over and over and over again. There is no variation, no creativity. Just some idiot mixing the same thing over and over again.


By cfaalm on 6/20/2010 8:43:26 AM , Rating: 2
Same here, it seems there is no craftmanship in techno, trance etc. while there is. If ever one of those tracks hits you, then there it is. It's scarce though if you're more into "handmade" music.

About the suit: Many times a download from limewire convinced me to get an album from a certain artist... Being a (not so succesful) songwriter myself I can sympathize with the alledged loss of income, but really, if people find it worth their salt and it's not overpriced, they will buy it. A song that I co-wrote in 1993 got pirated by some shabby Polish company. That pissed me off, they should have payed the copyrights, but I guess it wouldn't have meant much translated in money.


By YashBudini on 6/21/2010 7:02:51 PM , Rating: 1
Well at least you have a bright future on Wall St.


By B3an on 6/21/2010 11:20:55 AM , Rating: 2
Theres loads of great "Techno" music out there. Theres many artists that create all there own sounds and ones that can actually sing without the need for it to be corrected in software. It requires more time and talent than simply playing some instrument in a band.

Theres tons of great music in general as well for that matter.

The problem is not music these days, but people like you who dont make an effort to find the good music.

All mainstream music is ****. But theres loads of great alternative stuff out there and SO much of it.


By Aloonatic on 6/18/2010 11:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
I am sure that you can buy individual tracks too.

What I meant was that you still think of music in that way. Many of the youngsters, who drive the market, do not think of buying an album or CD any more, they just see the tracks that they want and that's all. You might think that an album is too expensive at whatever, when all you want is a couple of tracks from it usually, but you still see it at that fixed cost. Where as many now just ignore a lot of the album and only get the tracks they want and spend a couple of $, and then that changes how the price of music is seen, and how much it is valued.


By BZDTemp on 6/18/2010 4:43:38 PM , Rating: 4
I'm sorry but your statement just makes you come across as out of touch. There is good music and bad music - it always have been like that and it always will be.

You may think old music is great but the fact is the years has worked as a filter sorting out most of the crappy music.

If you're not able to find great current music or great current movies for that matter then you go to wrong place to look for it. Thanks to the internet the available selection has never been greater and going outside mainstream is hardly difficult.

If you don't care for Hollywood movies then look for what is made by the independent studios or for the stuff made outside the US. There is so much more than what is revealed at the Oscars.


By michal1980 on 6/18/2010 8:58:06 AM , Rating: 2
and how much money do the musicains get when a song is pirated?


By MrBlastman on 6/18/2010 9:27:17 AM , Rating: 5
That is what is so messed up about the recording industry. In any other IP medium, such as books, movies etc., the primary content creators (authors, writers, lead actors) would be compensated more than fairly through royalties and continuing trailing sales.

Not so in the music industry if you're with a big RIAA affiliated label. Basically, if you're with one of them, you get bent over a barrel with a leather bootstrap tying your arms around it to your feet and then you are continuously violated by the executives in these companies with their diamond studded, gold encrusted and platinum hook tipped dildos up your rectum. They take more than the lions share of everything leaving you with _very_ little in terms of royalties.

Basically, to make it as an artist at a major label, you have to perform at concerts. So--when a song is downloaded, the musicians aren't losing out on much, it is the labels who are screwing them that get hurt.

This is what makes it so much different in the music industry and why I have zero sympathy for any of these labels when it comes to their frivolous and egregious lawsuits. These guys are crooks, all of them. If they'd actually spend a bit of time and try and promote artists who don't SUCK, they might just start making money the honest way again.

I don't care really. I have college radio in my town and small time independent artists who rock. I'm RIAA free and it feels great.


By Aloonatic on 6/18/2010 9:50:11 AM , Rating: 3
I think you might be exaggerating it slightly :o) but I tend to agree that it is the vast legions of middle men who are worried about losing out, far more than the actual artists here.

There will always be the demand for music, it's just how it is distributed and marketed that is the issue. I think that the middle men fear that their days are numbered, and that they will be surplus to requirements.

Of course, that depends on how you think that the music industry could work, but the truth is, they make out that they sell some sort of rare commodity that they have worked hard to create and bring to us. Where as in reality, there are a lot of great musicians out there, and much of what they sell us is not the fine cuisine that they think they can still charge a premium for, but nothing more than a Big Mac, sold at for top dollar, so that it can be fairly charted.

So few people win out. In a perverse way, they prefer to have people on their labels that they can control, so they need "artists" who are not actually all that good. They don't want the next Beetles/Stones/whoever. They know that they will just go off and do what they want, or be able to dictate the terms of any contracts.

Maybe we will one day live in a world where there are lots of artists, all selling their own music, through a market place that is not controlled by a few large players and world of mouth, the media will inform people about what is popular. There is plenty of musical talent out there, and making music has never been cheaper or easier.


By MrBlastman on 6/18/2010 10:34:15 AM , Rating: 4
It is these middle men that make me sick. When the artists die, the middle men continue to profit like fat hogs for years off of their works while their families and surviving relatives get very little.

It disgusts me. I guess we should also blame the artists for allowing themselves to be suckered into giving up all their rights to these wolves, but, there's nothing they can do about it once they sign the papers.

quote:
Maybe we will one day live in a world where there are lots of artists, all selling their own music, through a market place that is not controlled by a few large players and world of mouth, the media will inform people about what is popular.


There already are. Just listen to a good college radio, no matter how old you are. We have an awesome one in Atlanta, 88.5 or Album 88. They have all sorts of interesting stuff on there. I am constantly amazed at how much talent is out there that most people _never_ hear about because of the RIAA and the sleazy big labels.


By Aloonatic on 6/18/2010 11:17:31 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, there is a lot of talent out there. You can go down to any pub/club that has a live music on and the odds are that a couple of the bands or artists will be playing their own stuff that would easily be good enough to get on the the radio.

What I would like is for this to be more easily available to everyone, and not drowned out by the PR men of the big labels who swamp everything with the auto-tuned, middle of the road, meaningless pap, and the same old boy bands and teen pop "sensations" that tap into the pre-teen market because they are all over the TV/radio.

It's sad that you just see the same thing repeated again and again, on a 5 or 6 year rotation with slightly different faces, but doing almost exactly the same thing.


By MrBlastman on 6/18/2010 11:44:30 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
That's the problem today, this stuff IS "good enough" to get on the radio. It shouldn't.


The problem is you aren't listening to excellent indie music in the right places. Search harder and you shall find it.

It is out there, and a lot of it is great.


By Solandri on 6/18/2010 2:57:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I think you might be exaggerating it slightly :o) but I tend to agree that it is the vast legions of middle men who are worried about losing out, far more than the actual artists here.

He is not exaggerating. The record publishing companies absolutely rape music artists. Basically the way their royalties and contracts are structured, the publishing companies dump all the expenses onto the artists, and deduct it from their royalties. Net result is they make millions while the band frequently ends up owing the publisher money.

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091201/19574971...
http://www.toomuchjoy.com/index.php/2009/12/my-hil...

Remember, the RIAA and MPAA are the industry who invented Hollywood accounting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2001/aug/31/artsfea...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting


By messyunkempt on 6/18/2010 10:36:39 AM , Rating: 1
Most musicians make the lions share of their money from touring anyway, so as far as theyre concerned, the more people aware of and enjoying thier music the better. And as the atmosphere of a live show isn't something you could ever recreate in the comfort of your own home i think the affect that piracy has on the actual artist is negligible, or potentially even positive.

I don't, however pirate music myself, although i do agree with the whole 'try before you buy' thing that a lot of people use as a defense. If i want to see what a band/album sounds like i find that a quick youtube search generally does the trick personally.


By Omega215D on 6/18/2010 11:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
Until people like WMG have the video/ song pulled for copyright violations. I mean it's not like MTV is playing music nowadays.


By PrinceGaz on 6/19/2010 9:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
Just because real musicians make their money playing live to fans does not make it right for people to pirate music and steal from the recording industry. If it wasn't for the recording industry, many of those bands would not have been able to release well publicised CDs, some of which sell hundreds of thousands of copies. The artists should be thankful there is a big recording label behind them to ensure their money making potential is best obtained.


By vcolon on 6/18/2010 9:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
Cat and mouse game. Plain and simple. Piracy will never end. RIAA/NMPA, suck it.


By messyunkempt on 6/19/2010 11:24:09 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think they want it to end. It would seem that theres a lot of money to be made from it by sueing people...


By gorehound on 6/18/2010 4:19:38 PM , Rating: 3
With the upcoming Anti-Consumer Trade Agreement the RIAA may have scored its biggest victory against all of us honest citizens out there.
Suck My Ass RIAA !!!
I doubt any artist will even see a dime of this money.The RIAA & their stooge lables are the real pirates and we the people have spoken.
Stop buying anything form these greedbags
Buy Used or just download it anyways


By HighWing on 6/19/2010 3:29:15 AM , Rating: 1
I agree with the first thing you said, however I do want to say this:

quote:
but on the other hand, if they would stop making crappy/garbage music then maybe I will think of buying something ?


I am quite sick of seeing this every time an RIAA article comes up here. Quite frankly what I've really noticed is that it's not the music that has turned crappy/bad/whatever, but rather YOUR tastes in music that have changed. Unless you can honestly tell me that 10 years ago (or whenever it was you last bought a CD) you still did not like any of the current pop music at the time, then my statement is true. So YOU (and everyone else who says that quote) suck it and stop lying to yourself!!

Now on to the only part of what you said that I do agree with. I would really like to see a judge impose a stipulation on any of these judgments/settlements that XX% (hopefully greater than 50%) of the money must go to the musicians named in the case as being infringed upon. And if that were to happen, I bet we would see a quick drop in how many cases the RIAA proceeds with!


By Silver2k7 on 6/19/2010 5:11:16 AM , Rating: 2
"Last time I bought a CD was like at least 10 years ago. Not because I don't like Music, Its just that there wasn't anything IMO worth my 10-20 bux."

Pst.. check out the flea market :)


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