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Justin ArrichielloCOMM 101Dr. SaylorFinal ProjectIntroduction Limewire was a peer to peer (P2P) file sharing application accessible on the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
For many pre-2000 born children this was the way to get high quality music for free. On October 26, 2010 the U.S. Federal Court issued an injunction enforcing Limewire to discontinue their service. This was all due to a lawsuit by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
According to Josh Halliday, from The Guardian, the RIAA sued Limewire for “intentionally causing a ‘massive scale of infringement'” (Halliday 2). In this essay I am going to analyze the company Limewire, the lawsuit Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) v. Lime Group LLC, the relation to the Copyright Law enacted in 1976 from the textbook “Mass Media Revolution Second Edition”, by J. Charles Sterin, and the companies that are dodging the copyright law in order to keep an online presence.LimeWire Lime Group LLC, the founders of Limewire a P2P file sharing service released on May 3rd, 2000 by creator Mark Gorton, with the intention to be the largest P2P service. Gorton and the Lime Group’s main focus was allowing the user to transfer files from one another similar to popular services like Megaupload, Napster and BitTorrent. For many years it was the leading application to download files, whether personal pictures or large scale applications. Throughout Limewires 10 year life, their main claim to fame was how easy it was for anyone to illegally download .
mp3 files. On the application you were prompted with a search bar that allowed you to browse millions of files from all over the world with one click. The files were posted by other users making the application totally open source, all someone had to do was upload. Limewire was a platform for these files, they did all the heavy lifting between the “transactions” from computers.
They did not upload the files themselves, they just built the application. According to Janko Roettgers, from gigaom.com, “Limewire.com saw more than 1.1 million unique visitors in August 2011 alone, according to Google (s GOOG) Analytics statistics obtained by GigaOM” (Roettgers 1). That was the company’s splash-page on their website alerting people that they are shut down. In “LimeWire Shut Down by Federal Court” by Josh Halliday from theguardian.com it was said “Limewire had 50 million monthly users.
” The simple to use application, millions of files to browse through, and easy accessibility made this application come to fame so quickly.LimeWire v. RIAAAfter a 4 year lawsuit battle with the RIAA, Limewire’s fame fell when US Judge Kimba Wood in New York ruled that “LimeWire should ‘use all reasonable technological means to immediately cease and desist'” (Halliday 1). The Lime Group was found reliable for widespread copyright infringement of artist’s work and Wood said that the damages were “staggering” (Halliday 1). “The RIAA said LimeWire has cost the music industry hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue” (Halliday 8). “RIAA was seeking up to $150,000 per copyright violation” said David Kravets in the article “Limewire Crushed in RIAA Infringement Lawsuit” on wired.
com. Millions of files shared per day, and more than half being .mp3 files from various artists make an astronomical number if the Lime Group was being fined per violation.
The RIAA said that the application cost the music industry hundreds of millions of dollars. “According RIAA figures, US recorded music sales fell to $7.7bn in 2009 from $14.5bn in 1999. The rise to prominence of peer-to-peer file sharing networks is singled out as a primary factor for this decline by the RIAA.” said Halliday in his article.
The jury was then faced with the decision to fine Lime Group LLC for their damages. They had the ability to set the fine between 7 millions dollars and 1.46 billion dollars. According to “Limewire Settlement: RIAA, Record Labels Win $105M, But Artists May Not Benefit” by the Huffington Post, “the RIAA had initially wanted Limewire to pay $75 trillion.
” The verdict eventually came to the amount of $105 million dollars awarded to the major record labels associated with RIAA.Copyright LawCalling back to the textbook “Mass Media Revolution Second Edition”, by J. Charles Sterin.
On page 311 he introduces the topic of copyright law and infringement. Enacted in 1976 the Copyright Law of the United States, was made to protect authors of literature, art, sound recordings, and audiovisual just to name a few. Previously to this law according to Stern, “… the United States started out as a major copyright pirate’s haven” (Sterin 312).
And “The wording of America’s first copyright law’s all but encouraged the practice of copyright piracy (also known as copyright infringement” (Sterin 312). Without this law the RIAA would have no defense in the loss of revenue due to Limewire and the Lime Group would be let off the hook. The copyright infringement was the main reason why the group was sued. They provided a platform to illegally share this music without the author getting any credit. Thanks to the Title 17 Copyright Infringement Law, and the U.
S. justice system was able to take down these pirates and take down one of the many P2P illegal file sharing services.Copyright Law: Companies Staying AfloatAlthough the Title 17 Copyright Law is enacted in the United States, many citizens still have access to many P2P companies. Another major P2P service is MegaUpload. VICE News has a very informative documentary on MegaUpload and how the founder Kim Dotcom (he legally changed his last name to Dotcom) is on the run from United States Authorities. Dotcom is a German man that is the founder of MegaUpload.
Similar to Limewire they are a hosting website for these files however, their application lacks a search bar to find these illegal files. In order to find files a user needs a unique url, or address, to locate the files and download them provided from the creator. Kim resides in New Zealand in order to leave the jurisdiction of the United States Authorities and his large estate or “compound” has been raided by authorities but once brought to the United States he was acquitted due to the loopholes in the law. Loopholes including that his servers are not ran on United States soil, the company Mega is not registered in the United States and the URL is not hosted through the United States. Kim Dotcom is now moved away from MegaUpload although the site is still running he has changed focus.
He now has a more WikiLeaks focus, and focuses on secrets the government is hiding. MegaUpload is still a popular website and runs with active users but the United States can’t seem to take it down although it is supplying Americans with these illegal files.ConclusionIn conclusion, the Title 17, Copyright Law was very necessary to provide the authors of many different mediums with the protection for illegal copying. The United States has made many companies providing illegal file sharing shut down in order to protect citizens. However, as you can see, the United States cannot stop every application and company sharing these files illegally and that is when the global copyright law has to come in effect. Many countries have adopted the copyright infringement laws but there is always a loophole to be found. MegaUpload is a great example of the evasion of the law and LimeWire is another example of how the law can catch up quickly on a company. In all with this law authors that have worked countless hours and put in the time for their craft can feel comfortable and protected with the law by their side.
Works CitedKravets, David. “LimeWire Crushed in RIAA Infringement Lawsuit.” Wired, Conde Nast, 4 June 2017, www.wired.com/2010/05/limewire-crushed/Halliday, Josh.
“LimeWire Shut down by Federal Court.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 Oct. 2010, www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/oct/27/limewire-shut-downRoettgers, Janko. “A Year after Shutdown, LimeWire Still Hugely Popular.
” Janko Roettgers, Gigaom, 15 Sept. 2011, gigaom.com/2011/09/15/limewire-dead-but-not-forgotten/Korte, Travis. “Limewire Settlement: RIAA, Record Labels Win $105M, But Artists May Not Benefit.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 May 2011, www.huffingtonpost.
com/2011/05/17/riaa-and-record-labels-wi_n_862725.htmlSterin, J. Charles. “Mass Media Revolution Second Edition”. Pearson, 2014.