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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 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.


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