RIAA asks court to close down LimeWire

Music industry requests a permanent injunction against file-sharing service, a first step in what could be end of country's largest commercial file-sharing service.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

The music industry has asked a federal court in New York to order a shutdown of the LimeWire service, according to documents obtained by CNET.

Lawyers working for the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group for the four top record companies, filed documents on Friday requesting that a U.S. District Court in Manhattan grant them a permanent injunction against the country's largest commercial file-sharing service.

"Every day that Lime Wire's conduct continues unabated guarantees harm to plaintiffs that money damages cannot and will not compensate," RIAA lawyers wrote to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. "The scope of the infringements that Lime Wire induced...boggles the mind."

Last month, Wood granted summary judgment in favor of the music industry's claims that Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton committed copyright infringement, engaged in unfair competition, and induced copyright infringement. According to legal experts, Wood's decision was probably "fatal" for the nearly 10-year-old file-sharing service.

The RIAA and representatives of Lime Wire on Monday will appear before Wood. The judge could choose to grant the injunction and then give Lime Wire a date by which they had to cease operating. She could also choose to ask both sides to provide her with written arguments before deciding LimeWire's fate.

"Lime Wire's liability undoubtedly will run into the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars."
--RIAA in court docs

Said a Lime Wire spokeswoman: "We are looking forward to an opportunity to address the Court for the first time in two years and show that as a matter of fact and law there is no support for this motion."

The RIAA told Wood in Friday's filing: "In every case in which a perpetrator of massive online infringement has been held liable on summary judgment, the courts have promptly issued an injunction to try to stop the continued harm to the plaintiffs....Lime Wire's liability undoubtedly will run into the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars."

The top labels appear worried that Gorton has tried for years to put his money out of reach of the music industry in anticipation of a legal setback like this.

"Recognizing this exposure," the RIAA wrote, "Lime Wire started funneling its assets to Mark Gorton's "family partnerships" within mere days of the Supreme Court's Grokster decision, and the court has cited evidence that Gorton directed these transfers to shield Lime Wire's assets from a money judgment. Whatever dollars remain after trial will not come close to satisfying the legal judgment Lime Wire will owe.

"An injunction must issue," the RIAA implored Wood.