I was reading an article today about LimeWire, and thought you might find the topic interesting, especially if you’ve ever downloaded music without permission.
A federal judge recently ruled that LimeWire, the popular peer-to-peer file sharing program, is responsible for its prior knowledge of the use of P2P technology, which allow its users to illegally download copyrighted music(http://tinyurl.com/33lt78h).
Contrary to opposition, the U.S. District court ruled that LimeWire is liable when Internet users utilize the file sharing software to illegally download music that is protected under the copyright laws.  The 60-page decision upheld the claims from thirteen record companies that filed suit against the file sharing company LimeWire LLC for copyright infringement and unfair competition.
Federal judge Kimba Wood indicated that LimeWire knew that the peer-to-peer file sharing program was being used for the purpose of downloading copyright protected music and did not take any necessary measures to prevent copyright infringement.  The company also intentionally promoted its file sharing software to users who were inclined to commit copyright infringement and also assisted the software users in the process (http://tinyurl.com/33lt78h).
LimeWire released a statement that the company is strongly opposed to the recent ruling but did not comment any further regarding an appeal.  The company also commented that they have remained committed to working with the music industry to create new and innovative products and plan to continue with this mission.
Meanwhile the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) applauded the federal court for achieving a major milestone in the ongoing conflict with copyright infringement on the Internet.  The RIAA felt that this would discourage others who think they can profit online from copyright infringement and not be held accountable for their actions.
The lawsuit which was initiated in 2006 was filed by major recording labels such as Arista, Atlantic, Capitol, Motown, Sony, Warner Brothers, Interscope, BMG Music, UMG, Virgin, LaFace, Elektra, and Priority with damages to be announced at the beginning of June 2010(http://tinyurl.com/33lt78h).
This ruling follows a 2005 lawsuit by MGM Studios in which the Supreme Court ruled that Grokster should be held liable for copyright infringement for encouraging file sharing users to engage in online piracy.  The file sharing company Napster was previously shut down in regard to the same offense for copyright infringement.
With the increased use of the Internet as a communications tool and the explosion of ecommerce, copyright infringement has been running rampant online.  In recent years federal courts and organizations such as the FTC and USPTO have had to crack down on the violation of intellectual property copyright law as the result of information being made freely available online.
Until next time, think Asset Protection and staying out of court!

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