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LimeWire gets at least two-week reprieve

Federal judge says Lime Wire has two weeks to respond to music industry's request that it shut down the file-sharing service. After that, it's anybody's guess how long it'll survive.

LimeWire lives another day.

The besieged file-sharing service will likely stay in business a minimum of two weeks. During a hearing on Monday, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood gave Lime Wire lawyers two weeks to respond to a motion filed Friday by the music industry to close down LimeWire.

Last month, Wood granted summary judgment for the Recording Industry Association of America and found Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton liable of copyright infringement. In papers filed Friday, the RIAA told Wood that every day LimeWire is available to the public, irreparable harm is done to the four top record companies.

The top record companies accused LimeWire of violating copyright law in a complaint filed August 2006.

Gorton and Lime Group have made millions of dollars from the service, but legal experts predicted that LimeWire will soon meet its end. Michael Sommer, an attorney representing Lime Group, asked Wood for two additional weeks to file a response to the RIAA's request for a permanent injunction, but she denied it.

Once Lime Wire has responded, the RIAA gets two weeks to respond to that filing, but Wood could rule anytime after she receives Lime Wire's response.

Following the hearing, Lime Wire released a statement.

"We feel a permanent injunction is not the best course of action," the company said. "It could hold back the creation of new digita-music technologies that LimeWire is in the process of developing, and [it] does not benefit the industry as a whole. Following today's court appearance, we will be submitting our opposition brief."

RIAA attorneys started looking ahead for when the court addresses the issue of damages. The RIAA told the judge that it believes it has the right to ask Lime Wire for information on the net worth of all the defendants, including Gorton. The RIAA has accused Gorton of trying to stash money in a family trust try to block the labels from getting to it.

The damage award, in this case, could top a billion dollars, the RIAA said.