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Little juice left in Lime Wire

The company, whose file-sharing software had already been gutted by court order, says it will shut down completely at the start of 2011.

The long saga of the Lime Wire company appears to be close to an ending.

The maker of the popular LimeWire file-sharing software--a peer-to-peer setup along the lines of the original Napster--has announced that at the beginning of next year, it will cease business, as originally reported by Peter Kafka at All Things Digital.

Owing to a copyright complaint filed against it in 2006 by the Recording Industry Association of America, Lime Wire had already been ordered in October of this year to shut down its peer-to-peer service. But, following Napster's example, it had previously opened a legitimate online music subscription service, featuring content from independent labels, and had said it was planning to set up a new service that would include content from the majors. It seems those efforts are both going the way of the P2P program.

"Given our current situation, plans to bring our separate, legal music service to market have been canceled. The beginning of 2011 will mark the closing of LimeWire's New York office and cessation of business by LimeWire," Kafka quoted the company as saying. The LimeWire Store also bears a notice informing visitors that no new subscribers are being accepted and that existing subscriptions will not be renewed.

Kafka speculated that the company was trying to trim its assets prior to a court decision on how much it owes the major music labels as a result of the ruling in the RIAA case.

That ruling found that Lime Group, parent of Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton committed copyright infringement, induced copyright infringement, and engaged in unfair competition. Gorton and the company have acknowledged making millions of dollars from the LimeWire software. Damages could be in the billions.