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LimeWire slams RIAA members' 'illegal online cartel'

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LimeWire LLC has returned fire in its copyright dispute with Recording Industry Ass. Of America (RIAA), accusing its members of operating an illegal cartel to control the online distribution of music.

In a recent lawsuit, The RIAA attacked LimeWire and its top developers for facilitating copyright theft, through its peer-to-peer (P2P) file swapping service.

In today's countersuit, Limewire denies the charges, noting that it is merely the developer of an open source software. Limewire notes that it is a true P2P service - there are no central servers to facilitate file exchange. As such, people who download LimeWire swap files entirely of their "own volition", it claims. Hmm. We can’t see a US court buying this argument.

A much more interesting line of defence is LimeWire's attack against the music industry. It says the case is “part of a much larger conspiracy to destroy all innovation that content owners cannot control and that disrupts their historical business models”. The RIAA and its members are using the law for anti-competitive means, not to control piracy, LimeWire charges.

Online music distribution, is it notes, a disruptive business model for the music majors, which are "using the exclusivity rights inherent in their copyrights - that they deployed with a vengeance, by unlawfully extending and pooling those] to cartelize the network for the online distribution of music... They also pooled their huge monetary resources to combat and eventually defeat many of their online competitors."

LimeWire’s counter-claim is here. ®

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