Feeds

LimeWire knackered by US courts

Yes it's your fault what your users do

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Peer to peer (P2P) software company LimeWire induced its users to infringe copyright by the unauthorised sharing of music and film files and shares responsibility for that infringement, a US court has ruled.

The ruling follows the precedent set by a case involving file-sharing network Grokster, which was found in 2005 to share responsibility for members' activities because it had intended the service to be used for copyright infringement.

That Supreme Court ruling was relied on by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York when judge Kimba Wood said a full trial was not necessary to find that LimeWire shared responsibility for its users' infringement.

The case was brought against LimeWire by 13 record labels including Motown, Sony BMG, Atlantic and Warner Bros. The case dates back to the aftermath of the Grokster ruling, when the labels said they would pursue other P2P networks through the courts.

Judge Wood quoted the Grokster ruling as determining that "secondary liability for copyright infringement may be imposed on a party that has not directly infringed a copyright, but has played a significant role in direct infringement committed by others, for example by providing direct infringers with a product that enables infringement".

The Court found that LimeWire's users had infringed the copyrights of the record labels behind the suit. An expert used by the labels found that 93 per cent of the files on the network were unauthorised copyright works and that 99 per cent of the traffic on the network was to do with copyright material.

It then found that LimeWire had 'induced' its users to break copyright law. "The evidence establishes that [LimeWire], by distributing and maintaining LimeWire, intentionally encouraged direct infringement by LimeWire users," said the ruling. "[The labels], therefore, are entitled to summary judgment on their claim against LimeWire of inducement of copyright infringement."

The judge said that the Grokster case had established that inducement took place because that company had distributed a device with the "object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by a clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement".

Infringement would be induced by a company if it "engaged in purposeful conduct that encouraged copyright infringement with the intent to encourage such infringement," the LimeWire ruling said.

The Court found that LimeWire was aware of users' infringement and that it encouraged it. It said that the company's internal communications demonstrated its awareness of the infringements, and that it advertised itself as a replacement service to Napster when that was shut down by the courts in 2001.

The ruling also said that LimeWire's search functions "are designed to facilitate searches for copyrighted digital recordings", and that this supported a conclusion that the company "intended and encouraged" infringement.

The judge said that LimeWire failed to use filtering technology to at least attempt to stop its service being used for copyright infringement. It said the only filtering in operation was used to stop the sharing of tracks bought through the LimeWire service itself.

"This selective filtering further demonstrates [LimeWire]'s knowledge of infringement-mitigating technologies and the company's intentional decision not to employ any such technologies in a way that meaningfully deters LimeWire users' infringing activities," it said.

The Court concluded that LimeWire did induce users to infringe copyright. It said, though, that on the limited evidence before it in a summary hearing it could not find the company guilty of contributory copyright infringement.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

[Us Vultures noted this a while back, but everyone else has caught up now. So we ran this just for anyone who missed it the first time. - Ed]

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.