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Judge to RIAA: No LimeWire asset freeze

RIAA wants to make sure that nothing happens to Lime Wire's assets before courts decide how much the file-sharing service must pay in damages. Judge says assets aren't going anywhere.

A federal judge has rejected a request by the music industry to freeze assets belonging to Lime Wire and founder Mark Gorton.

Lime Wire founder Mark Gorton Screen shot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

In March, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Lime Wire, parent company Lime Group, and founder Mark Gorton are liable for copyright infringement by enabling and "inducing" users of the file-sharing software LimeWire to pirate music.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which filed a copyright complaint against Gorton and Lime Wire in 2007, wanted to make sure that Gorton or his companies don't do anything with their money before the court decides how much the company must pay the music industry in damages. The RIAA, the trade group for the four largest music labels, has alleged that Gorton has, in the past, transferred personal assets into a family trust in an attempt to avoid compensating the major labels for damages.

According to the RIAA and Lime Wire representatives, Wood decided that because records show that Gorton and the companies under his control had not moved any money around recently, the labels' interests in the assets were not in jeopardy.

"This is a positive development in the case and one that certainly benefits our global user base," Lime Wire said in a statement.

Wood is due to release a decision on the RIAA's motion for a permanent injunction against LimeWire, and legal experts have said she will likely order the service be shut down. Once that issue is decided, the court must determine what Lime Wire must pay in damages, a figure that could run into the billions of dollars.