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LimeWire to shut down on court order

limewire_injunction.top.jpgA New York judge ordered LimeWire to shut down. By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A New York judge ordered LimeWire to stop distributing its file-sharing software, agreeing with the plaintiffs that LimeWire's service is used "overwhelmingly for infringement."

Judge Wood of U.S. District Court in Manhattan said that LimeWire "intentionally encouraged direct infringement" by users of its site, and also "marketed itself to Napster users, who were known copyright infringers "

The LimeWire site shut down its service Wednesday, displaying only a legal notice announcing that that company "is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software."

Nonetheless, the company insisted that it has not been permanently put out of business.

"While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward," LimeWire said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future."

LimeWire CEO George Searle went further in a message posted on LimeWire's corporate site.

"The injunction applies only to the LimeWire product. Our company remains open for business," he wrote. "Our team of technologists and music enthusiasts is creating a completely new music service that puts you back at the center of your digital music experience. We'll be sharing more details about our new service and look forward to bringing it to you in the future."

LimeWire has been skirmishing for years with the music industry over its laissez faire approach to policing the copyright violations its peer-to-peer software enabled. More than a dozen plaintiffs pursued the case against LimeWire, which began four years ago. Sony (SNE) Music Entertainment, Virgin Records America, Inc., Arista Records, Capitol Records and Warner Brothers Records Inc. (CNNMoney.com is part of Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500).)

While the court order has halted further distribution of LimeWire's software, the networks that software tapped into -- Gnutella and BitTorrent -- remain active, and can be reached through other software applications.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Warner Brothers Records as part of Time Warner. It is no longer part of the company.  To top of page

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