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Music industry sues P2P firm Lime Wire

Federal lawsuit comes a week after makers of Kazaa file-sharing technology agreed to pay music labels $115 million.

After months of issuing warnings, the music industry finally made good on its threat to file suit against peer-to-peer software company Lime Wire.

A group of music companies, including Sony BMG, Virgin Records and Warner Bros. Records, have accused Lime Wire and the company's officers of copyright infringement, according to a federal lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New York. Lime Wire produces software that's often used to create copies of music recordings and then distribute them over the Web.

The recording industry is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, such as $150,000 for every song distributed without permission.

Lime Wire is "devoted essentially to the Internet piracy of plaintiffs' sound recordings," the record companies charge in their suit. "The scope of infringement caused by defendants is staggering."

The recording industry continues to pressure file-sharing companies that refuse to do one of two things: either adopt a business model that compensates record companies, or shut down.

Last week, the makers of the Kazaa file-sharing system agreed to pay the record industry $115 million and use a filtering technology to prevent users from distributing files that infringe on copyrights. Other companies that have either gone out of business or altered their business models are Grokster, WinMx and BearShare.

"Despite numerous efforts to engage Lime Wire, the site's corporate owners have shown insufficient interest in developing a legal business model," the Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement. "While other services have come productively to the table, Lime Wire has sat back and continued to reap profits on the backs of the music community. That is unfortunate and has left us no choice but to file a lawsuit to protect the rights and livelihoods of artists, songwriters and record label employees."

Lime Wire representatives could not be reached for comment.